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3 Tips When Evaluating Intellectual Disabilities

by | Jan 18, 2023 | Eligibility | 0 comments

Tip #1: Understanding Regulation Language

Assessing a student who may have an intellectual disability can be a complicated process. Did you know that states have different languages as it pertains to intellectual disabilities, particularly adaptive functioning? Some states require students to have a deficit in their adaptive functioning, whereas other states require significantly subaverage adaptive skills. Does this mean the standard score must be 70 or below? It is imperative that school psychologists understand their own states regulation language to ensure that eligibility can be determined. Let’s explore two more tips to help you feel prepared to complete a thorough intellectual disability evaluation! If you are interested in watching a replay of the live recording where I discuss these tips, please click here

Tip #2: Misalignment of Information

Have you ever received adaptive rating scales from multiple respondents and noticed a misalignment of information? The teacher’s scores indicate average adaptive functioning whereas the parent’s data suggests below-average adaptive ability. What could account for this? Is it possible the respondent did not understand the questions? Did the teacher read the directions? Were the parents in a hurry when they completed the lengthy form? Could there be confusion around what is typical and atypical based on the person’s perspective? With all of these variables, how can the school psychologist better understand misalignment of information? Conducting an interview, preferably in person or via telephone, will help the school psych understand the respondent’s perspective and clarify the information gathered. Be sure to question misalignment of data to best understand the child’s true adaptive functioning ability.   

Tip #3: Team Member Assessment Data

Many times, when an intellectual disability is suspected, other special education assessors are part of the assessment process. What did the speech and language assessment results suggest? While not every score between the speech and language pathologist and the school psych must match, they are typically similar. If there are motor concerns, what does the occupational therapist’s data suggest? Does it align with teacher and parent data? What about the academic standard scores? When there are multiple assessment team members, it is essential to consult with one another, share and compare data, and dive deeper into why information is misaligned.

The Prepared School Psychologist (PSP) community focuses on helping support school psychologists in their work with children, teachers, families, and colleagues.Right now is a fantastic time to join because we have a new RIOT document that focuses on the eligibility classification of Intellectual Disability. This document has sample parent and teacher interview questions, specific behaviors to look for during observations, and much more! And the best part is, we are releasing a new RIOT document each month during this school year! Join now to have immediate access to previously released RIOT documents which covers Specific Learning Disability, Other Health Impairment, Emotional Disturbance, and Autism!

By becoming a member, you will also gain access to hundreds of resources, test templates, hours of replays from conversations with school psychologists, opportunities to ask questions, the chance to be part of book clubs, and much more! So click on the link below, begin your journey as a prepared school psychologist, and make this your best school year yet!

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