Monday, March 30, 2009

Comprehensive Diagnostic Centers

Finding someone qualified to do an AAC assessment for our non-verbal, severely apraxic child was a huge hurdle, and the thing that slowed her services down most. In the three years of attempting to get an AAC assessment, no one on my child's IEP team or in the Alternative Dispute Resolution group told us that the California Department of Education has special diagnostic centers.

The centers provide technical assistance, support, case planning and ASSESSMENTS. Referrals must come from the district, SELPA or LEA-- but you can ask request that the district make the referral. (In writing, formal request for assessment, etc.)  There are three centers: Fremont, Fresno and LA, so for most people this referral will involve some travel. But might be worth it. I know a child who received a very good AAC assessment from the Fremont center. From the Diagnostic Center website: 

Services include:
  • Comprehensive, state-of-the-art assessment and educational planning services to assist local school districts (LEAs) in addressing the needs of their most complex special education students
  • Technical assistance and consultation in program and instructional design and delivery
  • Professional development opportunities for teachers, administrators, special education staff, families and service agency personnel
Eligible students are those students who:
  • are enrolled in special education,
  • are not progressing despite LEA efforts,
  • present a complex learning or behavioral profile, and
  • for whom the LEA requires additional diagnostic information to assist in defining appropriate educational goals and teaching strategies.
Although it would feel so good to go on a rant about WHY no one in my district volunteered this information or suggested this referral, I am not going to and instead just pass along the lesson learned. Hope it is useful.