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Frequently Asked Questions

We find the following questions to be our most commonly asked!

Can I use insurance to pay for services?

The Schafer Center does not accept insurance. However, there are many benefits to our private pay, flat-fee model, including: greater confidentiality, flexibility in services, and more time and attention devoted to your family. Some clients do submit documentation to their insurance company to recoup some cost via out-of-network benefits.

Others use their Health Savings Account, as many HSAs consider services for learning disabilities a qualified expense. Once we receive payment, we issue a receipt that includes medical billing codes.

Can I use the Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship to pay for services?

The Schafer Center does not accept the Jon Peterson Special Needs Scholarship. However, Lawrence School is an approved provider and more than 90% of the student body uses state scholarships to help cover tuition. Click here to learn more.

Can my child’s school pay for testing and other services?

In order to maintain our high standards of confidentiality and quality, we do not make payment arrangements with schools/districts for our individual services. If a school/district agrees to reimburse the family for the cost of our services, we are happy to provide families with the necessary receipts and documentation.

Does the Schafer Center complete Independent Educational Evaluations (IEEs)?

Although we offer private evaluations, we do not complete Independent Educational Evaluations (IEE). These assessments are outside-of-school testing, paid for by a public school district, to determine if a student qualifies for services. When parents request an IEE, they can choose any provider that meets the requirements set by the district. Because the Schafer Center is a training site for doctoral students, we do not meet these requirements.

Will my child’s school/district accept the results of a private evaluation?

While the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) says schools “must consider” the results of outside evaluations—it does not say they have to accept them. We suggest you talk with your child’s school about your intentions so that all parties involved are on the same page.

Will my child have an IEP after completing a private evaluation?

Our evaluations always include individualized recommendations to best serve the student in a variety of settings. However, receiving an IEP after completing a private evaluation is never guaranteed, even with a diagnosis.

The school’s special education team needs to go over the report and their own data to determine if: the student has a recognized disability under IDEA guidelines, the disability is having a negative educational impact, and the student requires specialized instruction.

Keep in mind that an IEP is shaped by the school’s concerns and resources, whereas our reports take into account concerns across all settings and make recommendations for evidence-based interventions and best practices.

Will my child be evaluated by a licensed psychologist at the Schafer Center?

We are a training clinic in partnership with clinical psychology programs at Case Western Reserve University and Kent State University. Doctoral students on our team have already completed a minimum one year of training in the administration of assessments. The licensed psychologists assigned to your case supervise all work.

Both the supervisor and trainee work together to interpret the test data, write the report, make recommendations, and provide feedback to families. The psychologist and supervised trainee meet frequently to ensure all services are provided safely and accurately.

What are the advantages and disadvantages to having a doctoral student evaluate my child?

The nature of our training clinic requires a team approach to discussing psychological assessment and case formulation. This means, rather than having a single person evaluate and interpret the data, there is a team of highly qualified psychologists and talented graduate level trainees working together to understand your student’s results and develop a comprehensive plan for what recommendations will serve them best. Our training clinic also limits the number of cases a trainee has at one time. Because of this, you’ll receive a lot of undivided attention.

One possible disadvantage is the timeline for assessment. Due to the supervision requirements of our program, there are frequent meetings that occur between the trainee and psychologist before the report is finalized and ready to share. We find our timeline is on par with that of larger, hospital-based institutions. The psychologist that you speak with during your initial phone consultation is happy to address any specific concerns you have about a trainee evaluating your child. If you prefer to have a psychologist perform the testing, we are happy to make a referral.

Will my child be adequately prepared for the “real world” if he has/uses accommodations at school?

Accommodations are meant to help level the playing field for a student who has a documented disability that puts them at a significant disadvantage in a standard classroom or test environment due to a learning difference. In life, we are surrounded by accommodations that many use in order to function at their best.

For example, eyeglasses or contacts provide an individual with poor vision the opportunity to see the world as accurately as someone with 20/20 vision. Students are successful in school and in life when they understand why accommodations are necessary for their learning difference and utilize them at the point of performance.

How does tutoring through the Schafer Center differ from other options?

Unlike many available tutoring options, our services are so much more than homework help. Our tutoring is specifically designed to identify and remediate academic needs using evidence-based programs and multisensory techniques. We help students close the achievement gap and gain confidence in their skills! Click here to learn more.

Do you offer advocacy services?

An advocate is a professional that helps parents navigate the complex world of special education. We do not offer advocacy services or attend school meetings—but we are happy to provide information, guidance, and support. If parents in Northeast Ohio are seeking the presence of a professional throughout the IEP process, we know a number of respected advocates and are happy to make a referral.

My child is really struggling with the alphabet - should I be concerned?

Ideally, when entering kindergarten children have developed some letter identification with uppercase letters. It is recommended that children know letter names before sound-symbol associations are introduced. Much confusion among kindergarten and first grade students can be avoided if letter names are secure.

Some children will only develop these skills with intense, explicit, supportive instruction. Repetition, reteaching of letters, letter names, and sounds is necessary for some children to become proficient with the alphabet. Click here to learn more about Alphabet Adventures, our early childhood pre-literacy classes.

Should I be worried if my child reverses letters?

Reversing letters or mirror writing isn’t necessarily a sign of dyslexia. Some kids with dyslexia struggle with it, but many don’t. As a student’s fine motor skills strengthen through late second and third grades, reversals are likely to decrease.

Often, cursive writing can be a solution for students struggling with working memory aspects of writing or with letter formation and directionality. If your child is still reversing letters a lot by the end of second grade, though, you may want to reach out to your child’s teacher to get their take on what’s going on. Click here to review some common signs of dyslexia.

My child has an IEP with reading goals. Does that mean they are dyslexic?

Disability, disorder, and dyslexia are terms used interchangeably by the public, but they are specific to different providers:

Learning disability is wording used in public school settings to describe the struggles of students on IEPs. In order to qualify for services, the district must determine a student meets the regulatory definition of a disability. These students are then protected under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

In a clinical setting, psychologists diagnose specific learning disorders, not disabilities. The DSM-5 defines these as unexpected underachievement. This means the student is bright, but their reading skills are not where they ought to be compared to same-aged peers, their intelligence, or to the amount of reading intervention they've received.

A psychologist can confirm if a student with a learning disorder is in fact dyslexic. While there is not a test for dyslexia, after conducting a learning evaluation, psychologists look for a specific pattern of deficits in the results. This includes: problems with accurate or fluent word recognition, poor decoding, and poor spelling abilities. The basis of these skill deficits lie in the student’s phonological awareness, or their ability to pull apart sticky sounds within words. Dyslexia makes up 80–90% of diagnosed learning disorders.

Dyslexia can be identified through our assessment process. However, If your child has an IEP, the school district has likely already completed testing and there may be enough information to identify dyslexia. Our consultation service can provide parents with that diagnostic clarity.

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