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Evaluating Your Evaluation Options: Comparing Private Clinic and Public School Testing for Learning Differences

“You should have your child evaluated.” No parent wants to hear their child may have a learning difference or a disability, but every parent wants the best for their child. When a recommendation for a learning evaluation is made, it’s important to take that recommendation seriously and seek out professional help to ensure that your child is receiving the support they need to succeed in and out of school.

One of the most important decisions to make after being recommended to seek out an evaluation is what type of evaluation to receive. Although your child may be entitled to an evaluation through their school, there are benefits and limitations of public school evaluations and private practice evaluations. To help you evaluate your options, let’s compare private clinic evaluations and public school evaluations for learning differences. 

Public School Learning Evaluations 

Public school learning evaluations are focused on determining a child’s eligibility for accommodations, supports, and special education services in the school setting. 


Benefits of a Public School Learning Evaluation 

  • Paid for by the school
  • Easier to gather input from teachers
  • The evaluator may also work with your child 
  • You may get a second opinion through a private evaluation, which may be covered by the school in some instances 


Limitations of a Public School Learning Evaluation 

  • A diagnosis may not be made 
  • Test choices may be pre-determined and fixed
  • Due to backlogs for school psychologists, assessments may take a long time to complete 
  • The school selects the evaluator  
  • The report will become part of your child’s record automatically 
  • Your child will have to repeat the process if you decide to later pursue a private evaluation 

Private Clinic Learning Evaluations 

Similar to a public school learning evaluation, a private clinic learning evaluation can also help a child receive accommodations, supports, and special education services. However, there are several key differences. 

Benefits of a Private Clinic Learning Evaluation 

  • May take more factors into account (social, emotional, behavioral)
  • Receive an explanation of your child’s full learning profile
  • Provides a plan for growth 
  • Option to select a more experienced evaluator 
  • You have more options and can choose your clinician
  • You likely will have more input in the process 
  • Anyone can receive a private practice evaluation while not everyone qualifies for an evaluation or an IEP
  • The results do not have to be shared, giving you and your child privacy
  • While not covered by your school, the evaluation may be covered by your insurance provider


Limitations of a Private Clinic Learning Evaluation 

  • Lack of familiarity due to the school’s many interactions with your child
  • Cost 
  • Long wait times that can sometimes be up to a year or longer
  • Recommended accommodations are not guaranteed
  • Schools may challenge the results of a private evaluation and recommend conducting their own testing
  • Some insurance plans will not cover the full cost of testing

Parallel's Comprehensive Learning Evaluations 

Parallel is a private clinic with unique capabilities that solve many of the problems associated with traditional learning evaluations. Parallel’s comprehensive learning evaluations are conducted within a month, virtually, allowing your child to be comfortable in their own home, and at a fraction of the cost of a standard private practice evaluation. Parallel Learning assessments are also more efficient and provide additional support for families, answering questions they may have while making this process as smooth as possible. Parallel evaluations also provide deeper insight into a child’s strengths and weaknesses, and they provide a plan for in and out of school. 


Schedule your free consultation here! 


Have questions about comprehensive learning evaluations? Contact the Parallel Learning team today! 

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