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maryal
 
 
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maryal
 
 
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Qualifications for Diagnosing
Old 03-03-2006, 07:21 AM
 
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I am a 1st-year teacher working in a small school in Eastern Europe. I'm the only teacher with a special-ed. degree, and some colleagues have indicated interest in having me help diagnose a few students.

I studied many various forms of assessment (e.g. Vineland) in college, but I'm a bit confused as to how many of those tests I am actually qualified to give (vs. simply understanding them to interpret the scores for IEP purposes).

For disabilities such as MR, is a special-educator able to administer all the tests, or are the services of a psychologist and/or special-educator with extra training required?

Thank you for your help!


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Old 03-04-2006, 12:49 PM
 
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Hi. You really should just be understanding the tests for IEP purposes, as you said. In every school that I'm aware of, a professional that has attended graduate classes to learn to administer tests is the person that does so- in my area, they're the school psychologist or learning consultant or similar title. Special ed. teachers may administer screening tests, both to identify kids that might need more formal testing to qualify for an IEP, or to document the progress that kids with IEPs are making towards their short-term and long-term goals. We don't, though, administer the 'big' tests. Even the people that can administer those tests aren't necessarily allowed to 'diagnose' some disorders (Asperger's, OCD, NLD, bipolar, autism, CAPD, etc.); these must be officially diagnosed by a neurologist, psychologist, or other similar professional.

They may not have qualified people on staff where you teach, which would explain why the other teachers are coming to you. If you can get your hands on some screening tests, you should be able to provide the teachers with some strategies for individual kids, but you need to stress to them that you aren't qualified to make any diagnoses. You could probably come up with some suggestions even without screening tests, just based on what the other teachers observe and your knowledge of strategies that can be used to help special ed. kids in the classroom. That's knowledge that you have, that they may not.
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Old 03-11-2006, 06:21 AM
 
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It's been a long time since grad school and I haven't had much coffee yet this morning, but here is what I remember-- There was a set of reference books at the college library called (I think) MMY (Mental Measurements Yearly) that explained 1. the purpose of each test available on the market, 2. the "official" qualifications required by the test developer to administer the test (by degree or by specialized training), 3. where to order the tests from, 4. validity of the test for various purposes.

You might also be able to find the information at the website for the test publisher. Most require that you send proof of your requirements before they will send you the test materials, so that mught be the quickest way to find out.

My degree is in Psychology, and I am now working on professional teaching certification. I am currently teaching a self contained K-2 EH class. However, in the past I have done lots of other things. They all had different ideas/interpretations on acceptable practice. From what I remember, most tests required at least a Masters and specialized training (I had 3 graduate hours in test administration). A lot required a PhD or "direct supervision" of a PhD.

When I worked for Vocational Rehabilitation, the "psychologist" was only required to have a Masters and was able to give major tests and diagnose under the supervision of a PhD (although the supervision was ONE PhD for the entire state).

When I worked as a therapist, the necessary qualifications for diagnosing patients were established by the insurance companies. For the most part, licensure was required (LCSW, or similar). Medicaid only required a Masters degree.

At my current school, our psychologist has a PhD and will state "behaviors," but will not officially diagnose anyone with anything.

I definitely agree with Maj that even if you do sceening tests, you should caution the teachers that you are not giving a diagnosis, just "strategies based upon specific behaviors." I think sometimes people get really hung up on having an official diagnosis. Having a diagnosis can assist you in identifying strategies, but the child has the same behaviors the day before the diagnosis is written on a form as the day after this occurs. On the other hand, some teachers may not have the information to know how to appropriately deal with some specific behaviors. This is where you could help or point them in the right direction.

Sorry I became so long winded! I don't always have this much to say. I do hope this helps though!
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