Center for Children with Special Needs

Information for Schools

Why choose the Center for Children with Special Needs?

Schools may partner with us as part of an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE), conducted on behalf of a specific student. We also offer consultative assistance when a school team is unsure of a student’s programming needs. The sections below will provide you with more information about consultative and professional development services you can obtain from CCSN professionals. This information may be useful to your in-district teams, and also to any families in your district who may need your assistance in accessing health care services.

What evaluation does this student need?

There are different types of evaluations that students in your district may need. In order to obtain an insurance-paid initial evaluation at the CCSN, parents need to complete the general intake packet. See the section entitled: “How to make an appointment” for details. When you complete this packet with the family, you are assisting them in accessing high quality care. In order to obtain a school-paid evaluation, contact Sandra Pelton at 617-636-8009. We can provide you with information about the Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) process, or custom-tailored school-paid evaluations and professional development services.

What is a Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrician?

Developmental-Behavioral Pediatricians  complete a three-year fellowship providing specialty training in developmental and behavioral disorders of childhood

How will the Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrician help the student?

Developmental-Behavioral pediatricians take a very broad view of children who may have a disability. The role of the Developmental-behavioral Pediatrician is to help to develop a comprehensive treatment plan for the child that addresses medical, developmental, and behavioral needs.

What is a Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics Evaluation?

The Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics evaluation includes most or all of the following components:

  • A review of all prior documentation. The developmental-behavioral pediatrician reviews all information from schools, including the child’s evaluation reports, the child’s IEP, the child’s report card, and intake questionnaires completed by the child’s teacher. Medical evaluations completed at other medical centers are also reviewed, with permission from the child’s family.
  • A careful interview with the parents. At times, parents do not remember all of the information that they should share with our providers. You can assure that the family shares information comprehensively by assuring that all needed information from school is included. Or, you can provide a separate document to the family that lists your concerns for the child.
  • A careful interview, physical examination, and/or assessment of the child.
  • A follow-up meeting with the family.

A Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics evaluation takes 2.5 to 3 hours of time and occurs over 2 or 3 visits. The visit culminates in a written report that the family can share with the school team. The evaluation report is designed to meet the needs of the family primarily. If the evaluation is paid for by the school district, the feedback session is custom-tailored to meet the needs of both the family and the school team.

What type of follow-up care does the Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrician provide?

  • Developmental-Behavioral pediatricians offer follow-up care to help assure that children with disabilities have  access to quality services from other health care professionals, from school professionals, and from professionals working in other agencies.
  • Developmental Behavioral Pediatricians can offer psychopharmacological services if needed.
  • Developmental Behavioral Pediatricians do not offer general pediatrics or well-child visits.

How do I pay for a Developmental Pediatrics Evaluation?

  • Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics services are considered to be medical services and are covered by almost all insurance plans.
  • Schools have the option of paying for a Developmental-Behavioral pediatrics evaluation. This option is not customary, but is available. It should only be selected if the school team has a prior conversation with the developmental-behavioral pediatrician.
  • On-site consultation. Many school districts in Massachusetts make use of Developmental-Behavioral pediatrics consultation. These consultations are paid for by the school district. They occur on-site and are custom-tailored to meet the needs of the school team.

What is an educational specialist?

The CCSN educational specialist has a master’s-level training in the assessment and treatment of children with diverse learning disorders/disabilities. The CCSN educational specialist is experienced in the assessment of children with very diverse disabilities. She is also experienced in seeing all of the most challenging children of the State (and beyond!).

How can the educational specialist help us with educational planning?

The educational specialist can assist a student’s school team following an evaluation. At times, this means comparing prior school-based testing with current testing, and with supplementary testing done at the CCSN.

What is an educational evaluation?

An educational evaluation consists of some or all of the following components:

  • Review of past testing done by the current school team
  • A review of child’s IEP
  • Testing/assessment of the student’s reading, writing, and math skills. For young children, only the evaluation emphasizes readiness skills in reading, writing, and math. For older children, more complex reading, writing, and math skills are assessed.
  • Additional services can include a classroom observation and school program evaluation.
  • The report integrates findings from multiple evaluators
  • The educational specialist will provide a written report that documents the student’s  reading, writing, and math skills. The report makes recommendations for the child’s school team to consider. The educational specialist can also provide on-site consultation for a fee
  • An educational evaluation takes approximately two hours of time and typically occurs over one visit

What follow-up care does the Educational specialist provide?

The CCSN educational specialist does not provide follow-up care. Repeat testing can be useful to monitor progress, and should occur every one to three years. Professional development services are also available.

How do I pay for an educational evaluation?

An educational evaluation is not covered by insurance plans because it is not considered to be a medical benefit. Many educational evaluations are paid for by schools through the Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) process. A school district can also opt to pay for an educational evaluation separate from the IEE process. 

What is a neuropsychologist?

A neuropsychologist is a psychologist with advanced fellowship training in the evaluation of children with complex developmental profiles. A neuropsychologist does not perform basic intelligence testing only. The neuropsychologist uses advanced testing instruments to evaluate higher brain functions not captured by standardized intelligence tests. The neuropsychologist also integrates information from many different sources, to assure the best possible description of a student’s strengths and needs.

How will the neuropsychologist help the student?

The neuropsychologist can provide an in-depth evaluation of a student’s strengths and needs. When paid for by the student’s health insurance plan, the neuropsychological assessment is focused on answering medical questions and determining the student’s health-related needs at home and in the community. When paid for by a student’s school district, the neuropsychologist’s report is focused on answering questions about educational and related services that the student may need at school. Often, the neuropsychologist can provide some information about both.

What is a Neuropsychological Evaluation?

A neuropsychological evaluation is a comprehensive psychological assessment to obtain a complete portrait of the child’s developmental strengths and weaknesses. A neuropsychological evaluation consists of some or all of the following components:

  • Review of information that you provide about your child: intake materials; past testing performed by health care professionals; past testing performed by your child’s school team; your child’s IEP
  • A parent interview
  • A comprehensive assessment of your child, including some or all of the following components:
  • Intelligence / IQ test
  • Thinking / reasoning
  • Memory / learning
  • Information / processing style
  • Attention / concentration + executive functions
  • Social / emotional functioning
  • Adaptive / self care / life skills
  • Projective Evaluation. Projective testing evaluates the child’s personality and social/emotional and behavioral functioning in depth. It is a separate evaluation.
  • Psycho-social/Emotional/Family Assessment. This is an evaluation by a clinical social worker or psychologist, which assesses the child’s emotional and social functioning, utilizing interviews of the child and parents/family. It is used to help diagnose mental health concerns and to formulate recommendations for the child to do his/her best emotionally and socially at home and school.
  • The written report will provide you with a description of your child’s learning and performance needs. The report will provide you with recommendations for services other health care professionals and for school professionals to consider. You can use the written report to communicate with other professionals about your child’s needs.

The neuropsychological assessment takes approximately 6 hours to complete and occurs either during a single visit or divided into two visits. Students who participate in testing should anticipate to stay at the CCSN for a full day. When a school district pays for a neuropsychological assessment through the Independent Educational Evaluation process (IEE), the testing will take place at the CCSN. When a school district makes a direct request for a neuropsychological evaluation, it can be custom-tailored to the address the needs of the school district.

What follow-up care does the neuropsychologist provide?

The neuropsychologist does not provide follow-up care. Re-testing with the neuropsychologist can be useful, to monitor progress and to update recommendations. Re-testing usually does not occur more often than every three years.

How do I pay for a neuropsychological evaluation?

A neuropsychological evaluation is covered by most health insurance plans, but only based on medical necessity. An intake interview with a physician or a neuropsychologist can determine medical necessity. The physician or neuropsychologist can then make a request to have payment authorized by the student’s insurance plan

A neuropsychological evaluation can also be paid for by school districts. Payment can occur through the Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) process, or can be requested by a school district directly. When paid for by the IEE process, testing is done at the CCSN only and includes the some or all of the components listed above. When requested by a school district, the neuropsychologist’s testing and reporting can be custom-tailored to the needs of the school district. 

What is a speech/language pathologist?

A speech/language pathologist is a specialist who evaluates and treats speech and language disorders.

How will the speech/language pathologist help the student?

The speech/language pathologist can identify whether or not a student’s language skills are at age-level. The speech pathologist can make recommendations for how to improve the student’s language skills when they are not at age-level.

What is a speech/language evaluation?

The speech/language evaluation consists of some or all of the following components:

  • A review of past evaluations completed at school and elsewhere; a review of the student’s IEP
  • An evaluation of the student’s understanding and ability to use language (vocabulary, grammar and social skills) compared to same-age peers. Evaluation may also include assessing the student’s speech production, voice or fluency skills.
  • Evaluations paid for by school teams can focus on the inter-relationships between language skills and reading, writing, math, and content areas.
  • A written report that describes the student’s language performance. The written report makes recommendations for how other health care professionals and school teams can help improve the student’s speech/language skills. The report can also include recommendations for how language impairment influences the educational approach in reading, writing, math, and content areas.

The speech/language evaluation takes approximately 3 hours to complete.

What type of follow-up care will the speech pathologist provide?

The CCSN speech pathologist is not able to provide therapy or follow-up care. Follow-up care may be provided by school-based professionals for educationally-related purposes. Follow-up in a clinic setting can be obtained by the family for health-related purposes. Re-testing on an annual basis can be arranged and is a useful way to monitor the student’s progress.

How is a speech/language evaluation paid for?

Most insurance plans cover the costs of a speech/language evaluation. A speech/language evaluation can also be paid for by a school district as part of the Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) process, or by making a direct request. When conducted as part of the IEE process, the speech/language evaluation will take place at the CCSN and will include some or all of the components listed above. When requested by the school district, the speech/language can be custom-tailored to the needs of the school district. 

What is an occupational therapist?

An occupational therapist is specialized in the evaluation of children with fine motor skills (hand skills) and visual motor skills (coordination of the hands and the eyes)

How will the occupational therapist help my child?

The goal of the occupational therapy evaluation is to identify performance deficits and needs. Fine motor (hand) skills are needed for self-care skills at home. Fine motor (hand) skills are also needed for handwriting and other tasks at school. The occupational therapist can help decide which types of fine motor skills the student needs to develop further.

What is an occupational therapy evaluation?

An occupational therapy evaluation consists of some or all of the following components:

  • Review of testing done by the student’s school district and elsewhere; a review of the student’s IEP
  • Direct assessment of the student, including:
    • Fine motor skills
    • Visual motor and visual perception skills
    • Handwriting skills
    • Evaluation activities of daily living
    • Sensory integration / sensory processing skills
  • The occupational therapist will provide a report that describes the student’s fine motor skills (hand skills) as well as sensory integration skills if applicable. The report includes recommendations that other professionals can use to help improve the student’s fine motor skills. You can use the report to communicate about your child’s needs with other professionals in the health care system and at your child’s school.

The occupational therapy evaluation takes approximately 2 hours and occurs over one visit

What type of follow-up care will the occupational therapist provide?

The occupational therapist does not provide follow-up care. Follow-up care can be obtained closer to home. Re-testing on an annual basis can be arranged and is a useful way to monitor your child’s progress.

How do I pay for an occupational therapy evaluation?

Most insurance plans cover the cost of an occupational therapy evaluation. The occupational therapy evaluation can also be paid for by school districts through the Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) process.

Visit Occupational Therapy at Floating Hospital for Children

What is a physical therapist?

A physical therapist is specializes in the evaluation of gross motor skills or large motor skills.

How will the physical therapist (physiotherapist) help my child?

The physical therapist will help the student by evaluating your child’s gross motor skills. Gross motor skills are needed for sitting, standing, walking, running, and coordination in sports and other activities. The goal of the PT evaluation includes identifying areas of concern, delay, or dysfunction in a child’s gross motor skills and physical abilities. The role of the physiotherapist is to help improve your child’s gross motor skills.

What is a physical therapy evaluation?

A physical therapy evaluation consists of some or all of the following components:

  • Review of testing conducted at your child’s school or elsewhere
  • Review of your child’s IEP
  • Review of caregiver questionnaires
  • Direct assessment of your child
  • The physical therapist will provide you with a written report that describes your child’s gross motor function. The report includes recommendations that other professionals can use to help improve your child’s gross motor skills. You can use the report to communicate about your child’s needs with other professionals in the health care system and at your child’s school.
    • Gross motor skills including range of motion and strength of larger muscle groups
    • Balance and coordination
    • Posture
    • Gait on all surfaces, including balance beam and stairs

The physical therapy evaluation takes approximately 2 hours and occurs over one visit

How do I pay for a physical therapy evaluation?

Most insurance plans cover the cost of a physical therapy evaluation. School districts can pay for a physical therapy evaluation through the Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) process.

What type of follow-up care does the physical therapist provide?

The physical therapist does not offer follow-up care. Families can seek out follow-up physical therapy services at a location closer to home. Re-testing on an annual basis can be arranged and is a useful way to monitor the student’s progress.


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