Special Education/Therapy consult


My 9 year old is ADHD Ocd coromorbid
Both interfere with functioning at school.
The school said it can't provide therapy because these are medical problems.
They want to consult with an outside psychologist but I spoke to the psychologist and he was very stern and not someone I have a sense would be good with my son.
We all need to work together.  There are many psychologists and they jumped on the first person they contacted.
If we didn't all need to be in sync it wouldn't matter but if someone is going to help bridge the gap between home and school I want to feel comfortable with them. Any advice?
They insist they need an outside consult to do an fba but I feel they're stalling.

Dear Jane, Thank you for writing to me and for a great question about functional behavior assessment. The school district has agreed to do a functional behavior assessment and wants to bring on a consultative psychologist. This tells me that the school district may believe it needs someone with special expertise regarding your son's ODD and ADHD.  

As you may know, the functional behavior assessment is a problem solving process involving parents. It should be a team problem solving process, not something done by one person. While it is the case that trust and rapport are important in this process, the bottom line is that the school district can select who it believes can accomplish the job. I would suggest either:

1--Despite your concerns about the phone call you had with the psychologist, attend a full multidisciplinary team meeting with the psychologist present, hear and discuss the plan for the FBA, and then decide if you want to ask for a different psychologist.


2--Find a different psychologist yourself and ask the school district, in writing, to use the person you select.

Please also consider whether your child needs any other evaluations or team members to be a part of the functional behavior assessment. For example, sometimes a child may have sensory needs which can involve an occupational therapist. Or, if the child is on medication, a nurse or medical professional can be part of the team to consider whether side effects or other aspects of medication can be affecting your child's behaviors.

Please also note that, while the team is engaging in the FBA, it should be putting into place interventions to address the behaviors that are affecting your son. The team should collect data about whether the interventions are working, or whether the interventions need to be adjusted.  Part of those interventions can include psychological services, social work services, counseling, parent counseling and training, or social skills instruction. It is not appropriate for the school district to 'deny' these services, if these services are in fact needed for your son to make progress and receive a free appropriate public education.

The good news is that the school agreed to hire a private consultant. Like I mentioned, you can find someone who has expertise in this area and ask the district to contract with that person.

Please let me know if you have other questions based on this answer. I again thank you for using this service and for reaching out to me.  I wish you all the best as you advocate for your exceptional child's education.  

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Michelle R. Davis, M. Ed.


I can answer questions about disability definitions and criteria for services, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004, No Child Left Behind, 504 plans, how to craft an IEP that drives the appropriate services, school placement, dispute options, and least restrictive environment. I worked in the public school system as a special educator and am now in private consulting practice where we assist parents as they navigate the special education process. I have expertise in all educational disabilities except blind/visual impairments and deaf/hard of hearing. This includes ADHD and other health impairments, medical conditions, dyslexia and learning disabilities, Autism, emotional disabilities, language processing problems, and interfering behaviors.


10 years as special educator and administrator in public school system; Director of ABCs for Life Success since 1998; Expert services such as analysis and testimony; Author: Special Needs Advocacy Resource Book: What you can do now to advocate for your exceptional child's education; Special Needs Advocacy Training Institute; internet radio show Teach Your Children Well: Hot Topics in Education; author School Success for Kids with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders released March 2010 (Prufrock Press).

Masters in Special Education with Emphasis on Inclusive Education (Johns Hopkins University); B.S.in Special Education (James Madison University); Conduct training for Universities, public and private schools, parent groups. Adjunct professor current George Washington University and prior George Mason University.

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