Navigating the World of Educational Testing

It is challenging navigating the world of special education as a parent. You may be thinking, “Why is it this hard to get my child some extra help?” Not knowing where to start can be intimidating! Rest assured, Maryland has policies and procedures to ensure that all children with disabilities residing in the state, are located, identified, and evaluated. This includes students attending private schools, and children who are suspected of having a disability even though they are advancing from grade to grade.

Where do I begin?

If you are concerned that your child is behind his/her peers socially, developmentally, or behaviorally, or your child is struggling with reading, writing, or math, the first step is putting your concerns in writing. Send a brief letter or email to your child’s school administrator explaining your concerns, any efforts that have been made to address the concerns, and that you are requesting special education testing. Parents/guardians can request an evaluation of a child at any time and a written request documents the referral and initiates the time line. 

Next steps

The next step is attending the Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting. During this meeting, the IEP team will discuss whether or not there is enough data to warrant testing. They may recommend the Child Study Team or the Section 504 Committee instead of an IEP. Depending on your child’s needs, those may be good places to start! Parents or caregivers should feel comfortable asking questions and voicing opinions because working collaboratively with the school is the key to crafting a plan that will work for your unique child.

Waypoint can help you navigate

If you have questions about this process and/or would like to discuss your child’s concerns further, we can help! Waypoint Wellness Center has TWO qualified school psychologists on staff who provide IEP coaching and advocacy services. We also provide screenings, psychoeducational evaluations and school neuropsychological evaluations. You don’t have to do this alone!

Visit our website ( or call the office (410-684-3806) for more information about these services!

About the Author

Molly is a MD Psychology Associate working under the supervision of Dr. Tana Clarke. She has been a School Psychologist since 2007 and a School Neuropsychologist Diplomate since 2016. In addition to educational disabilities - including dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia - she also helps identify and diagnose neurodevelopmental disorders, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, adjustment disorders, and behavioral disorders.

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