Questions to Ask Specialists Who Evaluate For Learning Disabilities

In order to get the most benefit from your initial conversation with an assessment specialist, you’ll want to have a good basic understanding about why and how assessments for learning disabilities are conducted – and how to understand the results.


We highly recommend that you review any documents from your School District regarding Special Education Evaluation, policies, and criteria before you start your search for an appropriate professional. At the same time, review who is qualified in your province/territory to conduct assessments of learning disabilities. It varies in many provinces and territories.


Psychological assessments are the way that learning disabilities are diagnosed. Assessments can also provide a lot of useful information about your child’s profile of abilities (strengths as well as weak areas) and about ways of helping (strategies and accommodations).


Before: Questions to Ask Yourself

  • Check your coverage under the Extended Medical Coverage from your Employment Health Insurance Plan before starting the assessment to find out how much of the assessment is covered.
  • In what areas do I suspect that my child may have a learning disability?
    • What behaviors have I observed that I have questions or concerns about?
  • What information about my child do I have that might be helpful to the professional?
    • What observations can I offer about his strengths, weaknesses, personality or temperament, academic likes and dislikes, or other traits.
  • What do I want to learn from the assessment?
    • What are the specific academic skill areas in which his school performance is
      low relative to his peers?
    • What underlying processing problems—such as short-term memory problems or persistent anxiety—do I suspect may be affecting his performance? • How do I hope to use this information?


During: Questions to Ask a Prospective Evaluation Specialist

  • What is the complete cost of the assessment and report?
  • Is there a sliding scale fee?
  • What are your credentials/training in educational testing?
  • What experience have you had with testing students my child’s age?
  • How long have you been doing assessments? Are you familiar with evaluation practices/personnel at local public schools?
  • What information will you want me to provide?
  • Will you contact my child’s school for information and records? Will you interview school staff?
  • Will you observe my child in the classroom?
  • Will you interview me? How will you interview my child?
  • Will the assessment include any of the tests generally given in the public schools? (This may help you avoid paying for private testing that the school can do or has already done.)
  • Will a translator or an interpreter be available if my child needs one? Testing must be done in a child’s native language or sign language if needed.
  • What types of tests will you use? Will you evaluate his social, emotional, and/or psychological status? How will the information be used to plan my child’s education?
  • Is the person responsible for conducting the test familiar with my child’s culture?
  • Will test scores be based on my child’s grade or age? If my child was retained, how will that be considered in evaluating the test results?
  • How should I prepare my child for the assessment process?
  • What will be done to help my child feel comfortable during the testing session?
  • Will your final report integrate all of the individual tests done so that I have an overall picture of my child’s strengths and needs?
  • How soon can I expect to receive the assessment results? When will you review the results with me?


After: Review and Follow-Up Questions about the Evaluation Report

  • Was the report on the assessment results clear? If not, was the evaluator able to answer all of my questions? If not, write down any unanswered questions so that you can follow up by telephone or in-person to get information that you can understand.
  • Do I understand what the professional is recommending for my child based on the test results?
  • What action should I now take? What’s my plan for getting several recommended actions completed?