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When Choosing a Professional
What to Consider When Choosing a Professional

Robert M. Tudisco, Esq.

Whether choosing a therapist, educational consultant and/or attorney, look for a delicate balance between experience, affiliations and chemistry. Here are some things you should consider.

What to Ask

  1. How long has this person been practicing in this field?

  2. What experience does this person have both professionally and personally?

    • Do they suffer from a disability?

    • Are they also a parent of a child with a disability?

  3. Does this professional belong to mental health or advocacy organizations that offer additional support and affiliations?

  4. Can this person relate to me, my child and the situation?

  5. Is this professional's style too aggressive or not aggressive enough? Based upon:

    • My personality

    • My child's personality

    • My school district and other attorneys

  6. Will this professional testify in court or at an impartial hearing? This is a very big concern because your case will ultimately come down to a battle of the experts. If you can't bring yours in to testify, you are starting out with two strikes against you.

Go to or contact your local or national support group to seek professionals in your area. Many will keep resource directories and have personal experience with these professionals.

© Copyright Robert M. Tudisco and

Robert M. Tudisco, is a practicing attorney in New York and a freelance writer. He is also an adult diagnosed with AD/HD. Robert is a partner in the law firm of Marino & Tudisco, LLP, and dedicates a growing portion of his practice to advocating for special needs children and adults with AD/HD. Robert welcomes questions and/or comments at his website

When Choosing an Evaluator
Questions to Ask When Selecting a Professional To Assess a Learning Disability

Suzanne Brooks, Psy.D.

What to Ask

  1. Which types of tests or measurements do you use?

  2. How long will an assessment take?

  3. How do you diagnose a learning disability? (The psychologist should utilize more than one method.)

  4. What does an assessment include (i.e., feedback session, consultation with professionals who work with my child)?

  5. Do you take insurance?

  6. If you confirm a diagnosis of a learning disability or another disability, would you be willing to write a letter to the school or speak to a school official?

  7. What age range do you assess?

  8. Are you familiar with the types of services provided at public schools for children with learning or behavioral difficulties?

  9. What other professionals if any will be involved in the assessment?

Suzanne Brooks, Psy.D. has a private practice in Brookline, Massachusetts. Outside her private practice, Dr. Brooks is a Pediatric Psychologist at Children’s Hospital Boston in the Infant Follow Up Program. She also holds a faculty appointment at Harvard Medical School.

When Choosing a Therapist
Questions to Ask When Choosing a Therapist

Compiled by LDW®

Sometimes individuals with learning disabilities have emotional or behavioral issues that require treatment by a therapist. Therapy may be provided by a psychiatrist, a clinical psychologist, a licensed independent clinical social worker, or a licensed mental health counselor. Only a psychiatrist or a clinical specialist in psychiatric and mental health nursing is licensed to prescribe and monitor psychiatric medications.


What to Ask

  1. What are your credentials? Are you licensed or certified?

  2. What age ranges do you specialize in?

  3. What are your areas of expertise?

  4. Do you have experience dealing with the type of issues that my child or I have?

  5. What do your services cost?

  6. Do you accept my insurance?

  7. What information do you expect me to provide?

  8. Will you contact my child's school for information?

  9. If necessary, would you attend a meeting at my child's school?

  10. How much do you charge for an out-office-visit?

  11. How soon can you see me or my child?

  12. How do I prepare my child for his or her appointment with you?

When Choosing a Tutor
Considerations in Choosing a Tutor

Shadi Tayarani, M. Ed.

A tutor can be an invaluable resource in helping your child gain new skills or maintain old ones. However, with the many tutoring options available, ranging from private tutors to tutoring centers, the process of choosing one can be daunting. The idea that a tutor should help your student become more independent, self-confident, and successful in school is obvious, but how can you tell whether a tutor can deliver? In order to help you narrow down the field and determine the answer to this critical question, you should ask the following questions.

What are the tutor's credentials?
In the field of medicine, a doctor without certification is unacceptable (and, in fact, not a doctor). The same should hold true for education - there is no reason to accept a tutor without certification. Someone who has studied education has knowledge of assessment, varied methods of teaching a skill, and, most importantly, experience.

How will the tutor know "where to start"?
The best teaching is diagnostic and prescriptive. In other words, it gauges what a student's areas of need are and develops lessons around those. The tutor should use a diagnostic test, existing testing, anecdotal information from you and your child, and his own observations to determine what type of support your child needs.

What methods or programs will the tutor use?
An effective tutor is trained in a variety of programs that correlate with existing research on best teaching practices. These programs are proven successful with students.

Is the tutoring one-to-one or in a small group?
Obviously, in a one-to-one setting, your child receives the most attention and the tutor gears all of his instruction toward him. However, small group (two to three children) tutoring may be effective if the children are working on the same objectives and are experiencing similar difficulties.

How will the tutor report progress?
Given the expectation of diagnostic and prescriptive teaching, your child should make noticeable progress after a month or less of tutoring. In order for you to maintain records and serve as an effective liaison between school and tutor, the tutor should give a written progress report monthly.

Can I observe?
You should be welcome to observe a tutoring session at any time. During the session, you should see the student engaged in relevant work. A lesson cycle generally includes time for the tutor to instruct, time for the student and tutor to practice together, and an opportunity for the student to practice skills independently.

Keeping the above questions in mind, begin your search by asking other parents for referrals. Set up interviews and have your child meet the prospective tutor for a few minutes at the interview. A strong personality match is a crucial element in the success of the tutoring experience.

Shadi Tayarani, M. Ed. is the director of the Commonwealth Learning Center in Danvers, Massachusetts.

When Choosing a School
Questions to Ask When Choosing a School

Compiled by LDW®

What to Ask

  1. What does your school specialize in?

  2. Are you accredited?

  3. What grades do you serve?

  4. Is your school residential, day or both?

  5. What is the teacher to student ratio?

  6. Does your school provide services that will address my child's needs and issues?

  7. Do you offer individual support?

  8. Do you offer auxiliary services, such as therapy, occupational or physical therapy, or language/speech therapy?

  9. Do you provide tutoring or a learning lab/resource room for extra academic help?

  10. Do you provide assistive or adaptive technology as needed?

  11. Do you offer sports and/or other extracurricular activities, such as clubs?

  12. Are foreign languages required? If so, what happens if my child is unable to learn a foreign language?

  13. How many of your students go on to higher education?

  14. Do you offer a post-graduate year or a transitional program?

  15. Do you have students who pursue other post-secondary options besides college?

  16. How do you help students and their families with the transition of leaving your school to pursue college, job, or other options?

  17. Is your school coed?

  18. If your school is all male or all female, are there opportunities for your students to socialize in a coed environment?

  19. Are parents allowed to visit at any time or only on designated days and times?

  20. How frequently do you communicate with parents? Do you encourage teacher/parent communication?

  21. Does your school have a religious affiliation?

  22. If so, do you accept students who are not of that faith?

  23. Do you provide transportation to churches or synagogues in your community for your students?

  24. Do you offer summer programs?

  25. Do you offer off-campus programs, such as trips overseas?

When Choosing a Camp
Questions to Ask When Choosing a Camp

Compiled by LDW®


What to Ask

  1. What does your camp specialize in?

  2. Is your camp overnight, day, or both?

  3. Is your camp coed?

  4. What ages do you serve?

  5. Is your camp accredited?

  6. Does your camp provide services that will address my child's needs and issues?

  7. Do you offer auxiliary services, such as tutoring or counseling?

  8. How does your camp handle medical issues and emergencies?

  9. Is there a medical person on the premises at all times?

  10. How do you handle homesickness?

  11. What activities are offered and are the counselors and instructors certified to supervise and teach them?

  12. If you offer swimming and/or boating activities are the counselors, instructors and life guards certified in life saving techniques?

  13. If you hire high school and/or college students, are they supervised by certified camp staff?

  14. What are your communication policies between your campers and their family members or friends? When can parents contact them? How often can they contact home? Are they allowed to call home, and if so how often? Do you allow email communication between campers and their family members or friends?

  15. Do you allow campers to bring any electronics, such as a cell phone, MP3 player, or digital camera?

  16. Do you have excursions away from the camp?

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