THE INDEPENDENT EDUCATIONAL EVALUATION (IEE)
An independent educational evaluation (IEE) is an evaluation of a student by a qualified professional who does not work for a school district responsible for the education of the child. The evaluation is typically initiated by a parent and/or a school district when additional information or a second opinion is needed for a child's education, placement, or services. A neuropsychological evaluation is an example of an IEE when there is an “issue” that directly impacts a student's education. An IEE is not limited to a child's educational or cognitive-based challenges. Other examples of IEE's involve evaluations of neurological functioning, assistive technology, adapted physical education, speech, and sensory needs.
Parents can pay for their own independent evaluations at any time. However, in certain circumstances the school district may be financially responsible. The school district has regulations outlining the conditions for obtaining an IEE at public expense. However, the school has the right to evaluate your child before considering the need for an IEE.
- How does it differ from a pediatric neurolopsychological assessment?
The pediatric neuropsychologist will answer the referral questions requested from the school district. Typically, the assessor will comment on whether the student has a disability and needs special education and other services within the school environment. Parents may ask the evaluator to discuss whether their child can be placed in a regular classroom with accommodations.
Regardless of who refers, the neuropsychological assessment will identify a student's strengths and weaknesses across broad ranges of functioning, identify the appropriate diagnosis if needed, and determine evidence-based interventions and accommodations (See “Frequently Asked Questions About The Pediatric Neuropsychological Assessment). Neuropsychological assessment looks at the “whole” child and exactly what is “fueling” their challenges at school as well as at home.
- What is the standard of training for the neuropsychologist?
The neuropsychologist will have a doctoral degree in psychology and a certificate of completion from an American Psychological Association (APA) accredited post-doctoral residency program in neuropsychology. A strong background in neuropathology (including familiarity with neuroanatomy and neurophysiological principles), cognitive psychology (including understanding of the complex, multifaceted, and interactive nature of cognitive functions), and in clinical psychology (including knowledge of psychiatric syndromes, test theory, and practice) is indicated as essential per standard guidelines (Division 40 Clinical Neuropsychology of the APA).
- How long will the assessment take?
Each assessment is tailored to the student since the reasons for the assessment will vary. The neuropsychologist will also have hypotheses that will need to be answered when assessing the child. A specific “core” of tests will be administered, with other measures added to the assessment depending on the compromises revealed during the assessment process. Generally, the testing process itself takes two sessions with the second session scheduled after the first day of testing. Assessment times will vary depending on the student's age and challenges. The neuropsychologist will “work” with the child to ensure that the referral question(s) are answered thoroughly. A packet of rating scales is given to the parent(s) in order to gather data on their observations of their child within the home environment. Rating scales are given to one or more teachers to gather information on the student's behavior within the classroom settings. A classroom observation may also be performed. The teacher rating scales are also important in assessing a younger student's behavior in unstructured contexts, i.e., recess.
- What do I need to bring to the first testing session?
Bring your child's glasses/hearing aids if needed. Make sure that your child gets a good night's sleep before the assessment. Remember to have your child eat breakfast prior to the time of the assessment and wear comfortable clothes. Keep your child on their medication regimen (when applicable) unless their physician requests otherwise. Your child will be provided with breaks and snacks. Please bring your own snacks if your child has individual dietary needs. Your child will also be given one hour and fifteen minutes for lunch. Please remember to pick your child up at noon for lunch.
Bring educational report cards, any previous Student Study Team (SST) meeting documentation, 504 plans, Individual Education Programs (IEPs), previous psychoeducational report(s), neuropsychological assessment reports, psychiatric/neurological consultation reports, imaging results, and remediation reports. These materials are important for background information purposes and are necessary per standard neuropsychological testing guidelines.
- What should I tell my child about the assessment?
Most children can be told that the neuropsychologist will find out how they learn. It is very important that you tell your child that they cannot pass or fail on the measures but that the most important thing is that they “do their best.” Students are not able to “study” for the examination. Older students can be told that the neuropsychologist is not a “teacher” and is only interested in helping them achieve at their optimal level. Please reassure the younger child that there are no “shots.” Tell your child that you are trying to understand how they learn and that all children learn differently. This process will help them understand how to make things better. Students find the process interesting as many of the measures are colorful and fun! You can also tell them that there will be snacks, breaks, and even a dog (if the child likes dogs) will be waiting for them. You are welcome to visit this office with your child before the date of the assessment so that they feel comfortable.
The neuropsychologist will be informed what the referral question(s) are from the school district before the evaluation begins. She will also interview the parents and any significant others that the parents would like concerning the presenting situation and for relevant background information purposes. Records can be mailed, faxed, or emailed to the office before the final analysis is completed. The parents will also be given their packets and the teacher packets at the time of the parent interview. The second session will be scheduled after the completion of the first session when the approximate needed remaining time will be known. After the assessment is complete, and all of the required documentation has arrived, the neuropsychologist will review the records, score, interpret the data, dictate the report, and provide feedback to the designated professionals given parental request. A feedback session will be scheduled with the parents and the school district within approximately 14 working days in order to discuss the test results. Parents are encouraged to call if there are any questions after their feedback session and after they review the report. The neuropsychological report will be given to the parents and any professional that they request. No report will be sent out from the office without the consent from the parents. A feedback session with older children is encouraged because it will provide closure for the child. The child feedback session is brief and gives an opportunity for the neuropsychologist to discuss a child's strengths with them and to answer any questions about the testing process. The timing of the child feedback session is deferred to the parent(s).
- What should I do if I have more questions?
Please feel free to contact Scott Mellor if you have any questions at (805) 379-4939 or (818) 518-1057.