Support for Students with Disabilities

At ASB, we welcome students who have suspected or documented disabilities. We have a long tradition of serving diversified learners, who come to us with a variety of academic, communication, social, emotional, medical, or executive functioning needs. We believe that diversified learners are individuals who can improve the teaching process, positively impact the classroom community, and enrich our school climate.

To most effectively educate a broad range of student skills and abilities, we implement a Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) that allows each student to get what they need out of their educational experience. Our classroom teachers, specialist teachers, and instructional aides work to provide an exceptional Tier 1 classroom experience for all of our students, including our diversified learners. Our highly-qualified staff believes in the inclusive education of diversified learners as a cornerstone of our Catholic faith, and routinely improves upon their experience and expertise in the classroom with ongoing professional development in special education best practices, effective instructional strategies, brain-based research for educators, social/emotional development, and executive functioning coaching.

System of Support

To further support diversified learners the Student Success Team, consisting of the Principal, Vice Principal of Academics and Math Coach, Director of Student Success, Learning Specialist, and School Counselor, actively manage Tier 1 programming, provide Tier 2 interventions, and collaborate regarding Tier 3 supports for students.

Support for Students with Suspected Disability

Teachers and staff do not take lightly the recommendation to secure an evaluation for a student. This decision is made after much data-gathering, trials of intervention, collaboration, and consultation, and with the genuine belief that your child’s education will be vastly improved with additional diagnostic information in the hands of his or her educational team. A student may be recommended for an evaluation if school data indicates:

  1. The student has demonstrated deficiencies in comparison with age and grade-level developmental norms, in one or more areas for an extended period of time;
  2. Parents have noted concerns with the same developmental areas in their work with their child;
  3. The student has received quality, Tier 1 instruction and support, and continues to show limited progress;
  4. The student has received quality, Tier 2 intervention and support, and continues to show limited progress; and
  5. Staff believe that educational decisions would be best informed by receipt of additional diagnostic information about the student.

To support parents and students in securing appropriate, meaningful, and comprehensive evaluations across a broad range of areas, our staff are available to provide work samples, MAP scores or copies of report cards, progress monitoring and intervention information, behavior ratings, social/emotional assessments, student observation summaries, health/vision screening information, and narratives or letters of concern. In addition, with parental consent, staff are available for further direct communication with the professional evaluator of the student.

If you have any additional questions about your student’s progress, school- or community-based interventions, or securing an evaluation, please contact Director of Student Success, or Principal.

If you are concerned that your student has a potential disability, start by contacting your student’s homeroom teacher. He or she can provide you with their perspective on your student’s progress and educational plan. Another exceptional resource is your child’s pediatrician. He or she will have long-term, comprehensive medical data regarding your child’s achievement of developmental milestones and physical characteristics that can inform you on the appropriateness of an evaluation. If your student’s teacher or doctor has recommended an evaluation, you can contact a member of our Student Success Team for a list of options that other families have used to secure evaluations for students across a range of developmental areas.

There are a few different ways that you can go about getting an evaluation for your child. One is through a private diagnostic evaluation, and the other is through a special education evaluation with Seattle Public Schools.

There are many differences between a private evaluation and a Seattle Public Schools’ evaluation. In general, a private evaluation is diagnostic in nature, meaning that your child will undergo a comprehensive evaluation that results in a specific diagnosis (as appropriate). Your family and child will also have the results of the evaluation interpreted for you in follow-up feedback sessions, and will receive a comprehensive report on the results, including recommendations for home, school, and additional services to address that diagnosis.

Pros of a Private Evaluation Cons of a Private Evaluation
  • Parent selects the evaluator
  • Comprehensive in nature
  • Tailored directly to the concerns of parents, students, and staff
  • Results in a diagnosis (as appropriate)
  • Provides specific recommendations to support your child
  • Typically expensive
  • Can take anywhere from 2-6 months to start the evaluation
  • Involves hours of testing for the child
  • At times, parents do not agree with the results

Another option is to apply for an evaluation through Seattle Public Schools. By law, Seattle Public Schools must serve parentally-placed private school students by evaluating students who are suspected of having a disability. In this case, the parent starts by applying to Seattle Public Schools, asking for a referral for their child. The parent manages the referral application, with support from the Assumption-St. Bridget School Student Success Team. Seattle Public Schools may or may not choose to conduct an evaluation of the student, based on the application and data provided.

Pros of a Seattle Public Schools Evaluation Cons of a Seattle Public Schools Evaluation
  • Evaluation is specific to areas of concern
  • Tied directly to available services through Seattle Public Schools
  • Free!
  • Typically not as much testing as a private evaluation
  • School district selects the evaluation team
  • Not comprehensive in nature
  • Results are categorical, not diagnostic
  • Does not provide specific recommendations for home or community services
  • Can take anywhere from 2-4 months to complete the evaluation
  • At times, parents may not agree with the results

When it comes to trying to make a decision about the evaluation of your student, it is best to contact a member of the Assumption-St. Bridget Student Success Team, who can guide you based on the specific context of your child’s situation.

When a student receive a diagnosis through evaluation, our staff can become even better prepared to assist that student and his or her parents in ensuring their child receives a meaningful and appropriate educational experience. Diagnostic information allows us to understand the unique and complex learning profile of your child, including how their brain or body works, what types of experiences and instructional approaches will work best, and accommodations or modifications that will enrich their educational experience.

Although diagnostic information will improve your child’s educational experience, it does not mean that your child will have a completely individualized or unique education. We want to support students in understanding their diagnoses, learning compensatory strategies, and becoming well-versed in self-advocacy in the hopes that all of our students, including our diversified learners, come to function with independence and achievement in the general education classroom. A documented disability, therefore, does not result in a sacrificing of rigor or a lowering of expectations: all students, even those with disabilities, are capable of achieving great feats and making a positive difference in our community and world.

Support for Student with a Documented Disability

When a student receives a medical, neurodevelopmental, language, learning, or psychological diagnosis, the Student Success Team uses that diagnostic information, in collaboration with the student and his or her parent, to determine an educational plan that is tailored to the strengths and educational needs of the student. This plan, however, is not a 504 Plan or an IEP (Individualized Education Plan). Both of these plans of support are provided by and federally required in public schools in the United States. These plans are not written by or put in place by any private school, including ASB.


Working as a team, the Student Success Team will create an internal support document, called a Student Support Plan, that highlights the student’s diagnosis and the professional recommendations made to support the student in making adequate progress. This internal document is reviewed by the student’s support team, including parent, teachers, and Student Success Team members, at least three times per academic year to ensure that the plan continues to provide relevant and meaningful suggestions and guidelines. We encourage all students to participate in discussion about their Student Support Plan, and strongly recommend students in grades 3-8 actively participate in Student Support Plan Meetings.  If you have any additional questions please contact the Director of Student Success.

Although we attempt to meet the needs of all students, at times, diagnostic recommendations include the enlistment of support from private providers, such as Speech and Language Pathologists, Learning Specialists, Tutors, Executive Functioning Coaches, Primary Care Physicians, Therapists, and Behavioral Specialists. When a student requires outside and additional support, the ASB staff are committed to ongoing communication and collaboration that best supports the student’s progress. Members of our Student Success Team can provide you with lists of private providers that have worked successfully with other ASB families. Some providers serve students outside of the school day and off campus, while other providers arrange to provide services to students on the ASB campus and during the school day.

Families also have the option of receiving free services through Seattle Public Schools. Students are required to qualify for services as a result of a Seattle Public Schools evaluation in the areas of suspected disability. If a student qualifies for services, families can select from two options to receive services that support the child’s ongoing education at ASB:

  1. Dual-enrollment: In this case, the student would become dually-enrolled in both Seattle Public Schools and ASB. With this option, the student would receive an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) that would legally require Seattle Public Schools to provide agreed-upon services in the areas of disability. The student would participate in general education classes at ASB, and travel to a Seattle Public School to receive services in special education for a portion of time each week during the vast majority of the academic year, transportation provided. Special education services are provided in either a small group setting, or one-on-one depending on the student and need. The student would likely still spend the vast majority of their time in their classroom at ASB.
  2. Seattle Public Schools Service Plan: In this case, the student and family would decline to receive services through an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), and would instead opt to receive on-site services in one area of disability at ASB. In example, if the student qualified to receive support in both math and reading, the family would have to select math or reading as the one area in which to receive support. In this situation, the student would be assigned a contracted tutor who would travel to ASB, and provide one-on-one services to the student. These sessions typically occur once or twice per week, most of the academic year.

For additional information on the rights of private school students in special education, please click here.

During your child’s enrollment at ASB– for some children from age 4 to 14! – your child will change a great deal. Although an evaluation provides invaluable information about your child, that information often proves as completely relevant and appropriate for any a period of time during these years of rapid development. Best practice recommendations suggest that an evaluation can be considered appropriate for three years from the time of evaluation. After three years of time has elapsed, a new evaluation may indicate that your child still qualifies for his or her diagnoses, may qualify for additional diagnoses, or no longer qualifies for any diagnoses. This information, again, supports us in creating the most meaningful and appropriate education we can for your child. If your evaluation was through Seattle Public Schools, the school district team is required to evaluate your child again within that three year window of time. If your evaluation was through a private provider, it will be your family’s decision if and when you would like to undergo a reevaluation.

Prospective high schools require that an evaluation is “current” (conducted within the last three years) at the time of application, fall of the 8th grade year. We highly recommend getting any reevaluations completed during your child’s 7th grade year to ensure that you have the updated diagnostic information and recommendations prior to the start of the 8th grade year.