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Sharing Cognitive Results When They Are Below Average

by | Jun 4, 2024 | Explaining Results | 0 comments

When we are sharing the results of our cognitive processing evaluations in many IEPs, the team cannot wait to hear what we found.  But, when we are completing a re-evaluation for a student with cognitive impairments, some school psychs wonder what they should focus on.  Everyone on the team already knows their cognitive level.  Do you just continue to say, “well below average?”  

Communicating Evaluation Results In A Different Manner

In graduate school, we are typically encouraged to share cognitive results with families before the meeting when the results are likely in the Intellectual Disability range. But what about re-evaluations?

Explaining evaluation results to parents, particularly those familiar with their child’s challenges, requires sensitivity and clarity. Instead of emphasizing deficits, focus on the student’s progress since the last evaluation.

For instance, start with a broad statement about the student’s performance compared to peers, then highlight how their skills have grown.  “While the scores continue to be below expectancy when compared to same-age peers, I did notice growth in this area, which will help the student in this way.” When sharing information about adaptive skills, you can use the same approach and focus on what skills the student is able to do more independently when you compare findings from three years ago.  Then, you can focus on what the team will be working on as the next steps.  This approach shifts the conversation from reporting deficits to celebrating progress and planning future objectives, making the discussion more positive and actionable for parents.

Are You Tired Of:

  • Ineffective Communication: Finding it hard to communicate evaluation results in a constructive and sensitive manner?
  • Overwhelming IEP Meetings: Struggling to keep your IEP meetings organized and productive?
  • Stagnant IEP Goals: Feeling frustrated with crafting the same counseling goals for every IEP?

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