Community Partner Spotlight: eDiagnostic Learning

Q: Tell us a bit more about you. What is your background, what drew you to this field, what do you love about your job?

A: Laurie Peterson is the Founder and Executive Director of Diagnostic Learning Services and eDiagnostic Learning. Laurie attended the University of Arkansas and received her Bachelor’s degree in Special Education in 1993. After spending 7 years in the classroom, she returned to school and received a Master’s degree from Texas Woman’s University in Special Education with an emphasis in Assessment which began her career as an Educational Diagnostician. Laurie returned to school again in 2009 and obtained a second Master’s degree in Professional Counseling. Laurie spent another 6 years evaluating students in the public school systems before realizing the tremendous need for assessments that understand and identify all the needs of the student and not what is best for the school.

Laurie has always enjoyed the chances she has been afforded to speak publicly to professional groups and schools to share how they can better understand the needs of their students when it comes to learning disabilities such as Dyslexia and ADHD. Laurie serves on the Executive Board for the North Texas chapter of Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD). Laurie’s superpower is her diagnosed ADHD. That superpower fuels her love for helping others that always includes being a devoted wife and mother. Additional loves are a beautiful day on the golf course and planning her next travel destination getaway.

Dr. Abbey Weinstein is the Director of Assessment for Diagnostic Learning Services. She has over 22 years of experience in education, as an ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) home therapist for 2 years, a teacher for 7 years, and as an Educational Diagnostician for the last 16 years, testing for a variety of disabilities and developing Individualized Education Plans. She has experience in both the private and public education sectors. Abbey earned her Bachelor’s degree in Human Development with an emphasis in Developmental Disabilities from University of Kansas in 1998. Dr. Weinstein earned her Master’s degree in Special Education with an Educational Diagnostician certification from Texas Woman’s University (TWU) in 2006 and earned her Ph.D. in Special Education with a minor in Educational Leadership also from TWU. Dr. Weinstein is a member of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), Texas Educational Diagnostician Association (TEDA), and Council for Learning Disabilities (CLD). In her free time, Dr. Weinstein loves to read, take walks, and play with her dog, Lenny who is a Lab mix.

Laurie and Abbey are also the hosts of the widely successful podcast “Let’s Talk Learning Disabilities.” Through the years of helping and assessing students from elementary age to college and adulthood, Laurie and Abbey have become well-respected and sought-after voices on helping students and adults. Their peers praise their ability to always see the bigger picture when it comes to identifying learning/processing issues and ADHD.

Q: Tell us about the service you provide. What can a client expect from the online evaluation process? How long does it take? What materials are required? What types of assessments are used?

A: We offer a comprehensive online evaluation, also known as a Psycho-Educational Evaluation, that looks at all areas of processing and learning, as well as attention and concentration. This is the same exact assessment that we administer to clients in our office. The only difference is the client is virtual via our Zoom Room. We administer standardized, norm-referenced tests that are widely used across the country. Our assessment can diagnose various learning disabilities, processing disorders, ADHD, and even anxiety/depression. Once an online evaluation is scheduled, we will FedEx materials needed for the testing session to the client ahead of time. In addition, we will email a link to our client background form and the information to our Zoom Room. The testing session usually takes about 3-4 hours depending on the pace that the student works and how many breaks are needed. Once completed, the client will just put all the materials back into the FedEx envelope and use the return label provided to send everything back. Once we receive the materials back, we will score and interpret the results and put everything into an easy to read written report. We also schedule a follow up meeting 10 days or so from the day of the assessment to review the results and discuss recommendations. We want to make sure the parent fully understands the testing results, the diagnosis (if there is one), and have a plan for success moving forward. The formal report will include diagnostic codes (when applicable) as well as targeted recommendations for school and home, as well as any additional resources that we feel may be helpful to the student’s success.

We recommend that high school students participate in the follow up meeting so that they have a solid understanding of how they learn, their strengths and weaknesses, and how best to advocate for their needs.

Q: Why should I consider an educational evaluation?

A Psycho-Educational Evaluation can help identify both academic and intellectual processing strengths and weaknesses as well as determine if an individual may have a specific learning disability, processing issue, or even ADHD. The report that the client receives can be used to secure accommodations through a public school, private school, college/university, standardized testing like SAT, ACT, LSAT, or MCAT, and for ADA workplace accommodations.

Q: Are your online evaluation services appropriate for all ages?

A: We have found that for the really young students, online evaluations can be somewhat challenging. Therefore, we offer this type of evaluation for students age 8 and up.

Q: How does the virtual (online) evaluation process differ from one that would be facilitated face to face?

A: The ONLY difference in the virtual assessment is that the student is meeting with us via the Zoom Room.

Q: Are there any benefits to online evaluations?

The biggest benefit is convenience. We have been able to reach students across the country (and even some outside the country) where these types of evaluations are harder to find or much more expensive.

Q: What are some qualifications that would make my child a good candidate for an online evaluation?

A: If you have a student, age 8 or older, that is struggling in school either academically or with attention and focus, then they are a great candidate for an evaluation.

Q: What are the qualifications of the evaluators?

A: All of our evaluators are certified Educational Diagnosticians with specific training and extensive experience in administering standardized assessments to students of all ages. All of our evaluators have also had experience teaching in the classroom setting which gives us a unique perspective as we know what these struggles look like in school and how to differentiate instruction based on a student’s individual needs. Laurie and Abbey will analyze the results and write the formal evaluation report as well as conduct the follow up meetings with the parent.

Q: What is the cost? Does insurance cover anything?

A: The total fee for the online evaluation process is $1,450. This includes the evaluation, written report, and follow up meeting. Insurance does not typically cover any part of the evaluation since they view our services as “educational” rather than medical. However, we do provide each client with a detailed receipt that includes the appropriate insurance codes if they choose to file an out of network claim. In addition, due to our credentials, parents can use HSA or FSA funds towards the evaluation fee if they participate in either program.

Q:How do I contact and sign up for an evaluation?

A: You can call our office at 833-383-7882 or contact us through our website where we have a “contact us now” form.