Education Evaluation Center – Providing Services That Are Key To Oregon's Future
Posted on September 30, 20152 comments 2623 Views
Originally published November 4, 2014
Many people have expressed feeling “crazy” or “stupid” or “from Mars” when they reflect on not being able to do things that seem so easy for everyone around them. That feeling of “not being present the day the rules of life were handed out” can take a toll on a person’s self image whether they are 3 years old or 30, or 70. It can feel like they are missing pieces of a puzzle, condemning them to always fail.
These are the kinds of feelings and thoughts that have haunted many of the people who have come through the doors of TRI's Education Evaluation Center over the past 52 years, and are in direct contrast to the ah-ha moments that follow the discovery of a learning disability or other diagnosis that explains everything. Not “stupid” or “Martian,” just dyslexic or having ADD – conditions that, with proper accommodations in place, will no longer hold them back.
One past client writes, “Thank you! It was refreshing to finally have a reason versus just a problem in my head that no one believed. I get to graduate now!!!
Through a lens of decades of experience, and access to the most current and effective assessment tools, the team at the Education Evaluation Center (EEC) constructs a comprehensive, individualized, family-centered assessment for children and adults with cognitive and learning disabilities.
“We’ve served a wide variety of families - of judges, legislators, teachers, sales people, and timber families – from all corners of the state,” says Ken Kosko, who has been with EEC since 1974. “And now we’re on a second generation of some of these families, as the children we served are now bringing their children to see us.”
“In the beginning years the focus was pretty much only on learning disabilities with limited testing,” continues Ken Kosko. The Center now has a staff with expertise not only in learning disabilities, but also ADHD, and autism, and have expanded into the areas of multiculturalism, speech/language, and mental health issues “that allows for more extensive evaluations,” adds Kosko.In the1970s, the EEC began to expand into the adult population. “It was evident that the children diagnosed with a learning disability while in school were now becoming adults and there was little understanding or support from adult services,” says Kosko.
The Education Evaluation Center was at the forefront of that research and stands now as the "Cadillac model" for providing these services to people of all ages. The Center currently provides vocational/career evaluations for adolescents and adults who want to transition into post-secondary education or work and may not understand how their learning disability impacts the choices they are going to make. The Center has assisted thousands of adolescents and adults with successful career choices by diagnosing their strengths, weaknesses, and interests.
With the growing numbers of adults returning to college to explore second or third careers, especially veterans returning from war with PTSD or brain injury, the work of the EEC is more important now than ever. With the focus on all children in Oregon going beyond high school into college or careers, the services provided by EEC are essential to the success of our collective futures.
With early assessments and the subsequent early interventions that can be put in place, many of today’s youngest children will reach their dreams, and the students currently in the pipeline from Primary to Secondary to Post-Secondary, will have the supports they need to succeed.
“Once students accept they have a disability and begin advocating for themselves it is amazing how their lives change,” says Kosko. “It takes a lot to ask for help on the job or in school but once they self-disclose, doors open.”
It is the evaluation that initially gets them to that point. As one parent expressed, “Your evaluation encouraged my son to accept the services of a note taker in some classes and have additional time allotted for certain exams. The testing helped my son understand why he spent more time studying than some fellow students. He completed his B.S. from OSU."
The EEC staff is composed of Oregon licensed and nationally certified clinical and school psychologists, learning disability specialists, speech/language pathologist, a multicultural/cross cultural specialist, and vocational specialist. The team has the capacity of providing direct evaluation services and technical assistance to any student and parent in Oregon and any professional educator in any local education agency in the state. The EEC has a dedicated staff who are expert in the jobs they perform. You just have to ask anyone who one has been through the Center, as reported by this mother, “The assessment helped my child and his teachers understand his disability and how to work with him.” Or another parent, “From my first conversation to the final report, staff were helpful, responsive, thoughtful and professional”. And another, “I am recommending parents and IEP teams request evaluations at the EEC sooner."
In 2007, as a result of this extended scope of services and expertise, the EEC produced a multicultural manual titled, “Special Education Assessment Process for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD) Students," that is currently in
For more information about the EEC, visit triwou.org/centers/eec.
Parents, schools, agencies, or individuals with suspected learning
disabilities may request services by calling the EEC at
1-800-541-4711, or 503-838-8749 (for general information), and 503-838-8817 (to schedule an appointment).
Post Script: Please read my three-part journal of my own experience going through the assessment process. After writing this article, I was moved to finally (at 62 years old) find out why reading has been so hard for me my whole life. It was eye-opening!
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