I am currently struggling to have the school assess my struggling child. They say it is not needed. Where do I go to have my child independently assessed? -- Worried


You should listen carefully to the reasons why the school does not currently want to assess your child. Today, most schools have RTI (Response to Intervention) in place, which is a tiered system of different levels of instruction designed to help all children succeed in school. Chances are that your child is now receiving the help that the school feels is needed. Do find out what level of help your child is receiving. The higher the tier, the more intense the intervention is. Students are not even suggested for testing until they reach the third tier.

Look carefully at any standardized tests that your child has taken, and make sure that you understand what each test is saying about your child. Academic strengths and weaknesses are identified, and under each subject are sub-scores that tell you more about the subject. If you have questions, call the school and go over it with the teacher or school psychometrist.

Individual assessment is very expensive, usually more than $1,000. You can call your doctor's office or a local university to get the names of testers. Some universities do have students who give the tests during their school years at a lower rate.

If you still want your child tested because you disagree with the school, you can ask the district again and state your reasons. The district will do more observations of your child and then again give you their decision. Don't give up. It often takes several requests. Keep documents to submit with the request like report cards, test scores and teachers' notes.