Learning assessment (during COVID) for 9 year old

Hi parents, our 4th grader has always been a hard worker and a decent student, but it takes her a long time to grasp new concepts, something we've attributed in the past to her being one of the younger kids in her grade. This year, given the proximity distance learning has afforded us (one pro!), we've noticed that while it's subtle, she definitely struggles with some reading/math and works quite slowly compared to others, leading her to an increasing level of anxiety. We'd like to get her assessed for a learning difference. Does anyone have recommendations on private options (we'll pursue the public route--OUSD--as well, but want to understand the range of possibilities) for effective learning assessments during this pandemic? My daughter is quiet and sensitive so we know that a foundation of trust will be very important, but obviously COVID creates challenges here. Thanks in advance for your advice!

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We had a great experience, during Covid, with Hannah Acevedo, 510 683-5930.
She was very thorough. My kid is extremely sensitive. Hannah could not have done a better job making it a good experience for my daughter.
Good luck.

Hi there, 

First off, just want to acknowledge how difficult remote learning has been for many kiddos during this time! I am currently working as a clinical psychology trainee at a charter school in Oakland and the state has now lifted the hold on on IEP requests, meaning that when parents submit a request, we have 60 days to assess your child. That being said, many academic and cognitive assessments that we would typically use to evaluate for any learning differences can only be done in person, and some families at the school I am at have opted to wait until they return in person (delay past the 60 day mark), while some have come in under pretty strict protocols (e.g. COVID asymptomatic testing for the student and examiner--provided by the school, masks, gloves, face shields optional, plexiglass partitions, food and water provided by the school and eaten outside only). I can't speak for all schools in OUSD, but this is how it's been operating where I am at. 

The Wright Institute TAing for a Child Assessment class is led by licensed clinical psychologists who specialize in child & forensic assessment. As part of the training, students can assess a community participant free of charge and evaluate for learning differences or other social-emotional factors (i.e. anxiety, depression). All of the students are supervised so you will be able to get your results and feedback. While they can't necessarily provide IEP/504 accommodations, they have been able to help many families bring the evaluation to the school to seek accommodations. They use all of the same measures as a school psychologist would and many students are conducting in-person assessments as well as remotely. 


I am a special education teacher and have experience with infants to 12th. I currently have worked with 4th-6th mild to severe needs in OUSD. All humans have learning differences and develop at different rates, yet usually follow a progression of development. Usually by 2nd/3rd grade most students who have a significant learning delay, processing speed difference or disability are identified by their school and teachers and are usually in interventions which if not effective then will be assessed for special education. Considering her age difference and that by 4th they are now reading to learn not learning to read, her prior non failing grades, and that many students have some sort of change in learning due to the changes pandemic school environment, I would say she is low risk for having a disability that would qualify her for special education. I wanted to be honest about that, but think that therapy is a good option or paid programs like Orton Gillingham. You can always pay a child psychologist out of pocket to do the intelligence testing  (like Woodcock–Johnson) to get a detailed analysis of how she is. There are a lot of teachers and special education teachers that can do similar tests or tutoring to get the inventions that she may need. A lot of parents have requested assessments since the pandemic and they are all on hold due to some are only valid when given in person, but we have had to deny many assessment requests if the student has a history of decent grades and pro social behavior.

I hope that helps!