An assessment of special needs individual is the process used to determine a child’s specific strengths & needs and to determine what support services he/ she requires. Assessment is a process that involves collecting information about the child for the purpose of making decisions. Assessment, also known as evaluation, can be seen as a problem-solving process that involves many ways of collecting information about the child.

Importance of Assessment

The importance of assessment should never be underestimated. In special needs, you and your child will work with many professionals from different fields. You need to be a part of the team, often referred to as a multidisciplinary team that tries to determine what, if any, disability is present in a child. The team’s role is crucial because it helps determine the extent and direction of a child’s personal journey through the special need requirements such as requirement of occupational therapy, speech therapy, special education patterns, physical health requirements including nutrition etc.

Consequently, professionals together will guide a child through the most global, accurate and practical evaluation. Following are the components of the assessment process in order to determine the presence of a suspected disability:

Purpose of Assessment- Assessment in educational settings serves five primary purposes:

  • Collection: The process of tracing and gathering information from the many sources of background information on a child such as school records, observation, parent intakes, and teacher reports
  • Analysis: The processing and understanding of patterns in a child’s educational, social, developmental, environmental, medical, and emotional history
  • Evaluation: The evaluation of a child’s academic, intellectual, psychological, emotional, perceptual, language, cognitive, and medical development in order to determine areas of strength and weakness
  • Determination: The determination of the presence of a suspected disability and the knowledge of the criteria that constitute each category
  • Recommendation: The recommendations concerning educational placement and program that need to be made to the school, teachers, and parents
  • screening and identification: To screen children and identify those who may be experiencing delays or learning problems
  • eligibility and diagnosis: To determine whether a child has a disability and is eligible for special education services, and to diagnose the specific nature of the student's problems or disability
  • IEP development and placement: To provide detailed information so that an Individualized Education Program (IEP) may be developed and appropriate decisions may be made about the child's educational placement
  • Instructional planning: To develop and plan instruction appropriate to the child's special needs
  • Evaluation: To evaluate student progress.