Understanding Your IEP Assessments [Online Version]
Understanding Your IEP PART 3: ASSESSMENTS Pictures and Content Copyright Matthew A. T. Lehman, BCBA
Why Do We Assess• Required by law – ADA/504 and IDEA• To Understand What Our Kids NEED – Guides Services• Track Progress – Is the program working?
Difference Scores• Personal Strength / Weakness – Significant discrepancy between areas of our child’s performance and abilities• Normative Strength / Weakness »Significantly discrepancy between our child’s ability and that of the general population
Taking To The Next Level• The meat of any report is the Subtests and Scaled Scores – don’t fall for the bottom line trap of an IQ score• D-KEFS : 10 ± 3 – What does this mean? • Scores of 8-12 are IDENTICAL • Differences MUST be 3 points or greater or they are NOT significant• Hypothetical – Ability Score: 14 THIS is what – Performance: 11 to look for! • Answer: Testing shows a significant discrepancy between ability and performance
Practice (with Scaled Scores)• Ability Score: 3 *Normative weakness *NO discrepancy *needs support, probably beyond• Performance: 1 current biological capacity *Average Ability• Ability Score: 10 *Discrepancy *needs support, look to why• Performance: 7 unable to perform at capacity- what is interfering?? *Normative strength• Ability Score: 16 *Discrepancy *needs support, look to why• Performance: 10 unable to perform at capacity- what is interfering??
What if they don’t have Scaled Scores?• ASK for them!• If they can’t provide / look them up, this may be sufficient to ask for an IEE as they are not demonstrating competency in assessment. – Remember doing this math in your head isn’t easy, give them a chance to actually do it on a computer
So Wait What Does That Score Mean?• ASK! – They have to explain it till you get itSide Note• IQ = Ability to get needs met at the time of the test in the language and communication mode of the test – STOP & THINK • what does this mean • Have the expert explain this to parents, they probably need to hear it at least once to understand and accept their child’s needs – look for parents saying “but my child can do…” “but he does understand, even if he can’t tell me”
So Which Assessments To Use?• Direct • Report Based Assessment Assessment – ADOS – ABAS-2 – D-KEFS – BASC-2 – K-ABC – BRiEF – WISC-IV – Conners3 – WJ – SSIS Which Column Should We Use?
Choosing Assessments (continued)• Direct Assessments • Report Based Assessments – Concern about adults – “Fast” and easy ability to respond – Doesn’t require extensive – Wide discrepancies training between adult reports – Bypasses child compliance – Difficult to assess by observation or no one – Less disruptive qualified to make such observations – Often just as reliable but subject to adults opinions – Time Consuming (usually controlled for) – Requires child compliance
General or Specific? – and WHY• Global Batteries • Specific to child’s needs – WISC / WAIS – ADOS-2 – K-ABC – D-KEFS – ABAS-2 – PDDBI – WJ Global: Tests a wide array of ability and performance scales, generally not diagnosis specific Specific: Tests a specific type of need or for a specific area of need often diagnosis or need specific including for the purpose of making a diagnosis
Knowledge: How To Use It• Ask the school psychologist WHY a specific test vs another? – Be specific on tests – Have Your OWN Expert Ask probing questions • Before & AT the meeting – If past reports have been invalid or inconclusive, try direct assessments • Non-compliance with tests IS important information
Examples• Disclaimer: Consult an expert in clinical assessments before doing more then asking why one or the other.• Attention problems – K-ABC results are less impacted then the WISC or WAIS by attention difficulties because the tools are more colorful and engaging.• Adaptive Skills – PDD-BI and ABAS-2 have a lot of overlap, but the PDD-BI is specific for kids suspected of an autism spectrum diagnosis• Test Weaknesses – ADOS doesn’t assess peer interpersonal deficits• Adding A Test to Broaden Application to IEP planning – D-KEFS highlights performance vs ability differences – Conners, BASC, SRS look more at current levels
Understanding the Graphs Graph from NAC 2012 Report
A-B-A-B Graphs: Proof of Causality Pre-IEP supports in place winter/spring/ supports back summer break in place-Stronger then a double blind randomized trial. Graph from NAC 2012 Report
Knowledge: How To Use It• Graphing is proof of efficacy and if it isn’t working – Ask for it if parents are concerned about efficacy• A-B-A-B graphing APPLIED – Use this to show that removing a support didn’t work or that its too soon to fade back that support• For non emergency/ non safety issues – Let them know we are willing to try what they suggest but we have concerns – I may give the school 30 or 60 days to show if it works – I setup the request for the follow up meeting right at the current IEP
Putting it All Together• Formulate and write notes about what you want to say and ask• Remember the school might be right – reality test!• Know your comfort zone and bring support• Take Your Time!