I remember back when I began teaching and I thought that being an LDT-C might be a really cool job. After all, you get to work with many different students individually, you get to figure out how they learn best and you work collaboratively with colleagues. I quickly learned that while that is all true it has many other facets to the job- some good- some not so good.
In order to become a Learning Disabilities Teacher Consultant in the state of New jersey one must have taught for at least three years, have a masters degree in education and then complete specific training for the identification, diagnosis and remediation of learning disabilities.
Once completed one is eligible to work on a child study team. The child study team consists of a social worker( no classroom experience required), a school psychologist( no classroom experience required) and an LDT-C. The social worker meets with the parent and conducts an interview which leads to the social history. The school psychologist does various forms of cognitive assessment which typically leads to an analysis of cognitive strengths, weaknesses and an IQ score. The school psychologist may also administer a checklist/assessment which deals with adaptive skills or life functioning, or other assessments including the Conner’s checklist for attentional deficits.
The Social Worker and the School Psychologist may also do some counseling, though in my experience that is rare. The Learning Disabilities Teacher – Consultant completes the achievement portion of the team evaluation. This typically consists of at least 13 subtests, an observation, teacher interview and student interview. Should specific areas of concern become present other testing is required. Then the testing is compared and analyzed. Typically the LDT-C compares the date and makes the connection to the actual classroom functioning. Then the program is created along with goals and objectives( typically done by the LDT-C due to the classroom experience). That being said…. There is not typical day.
As long as no emergency issues have occurred the first stop is the calendar to check meetings and appointments. Next is reading emails and addressing any issues which have arisen. This may mean doing some research and reaching out to teachers or administrators. By this time you usually have to prepare for at least one meeting. In order to prepare for a meeting the file must be perused and all the appropriate forms completed using whichever IEP program the district uses. Some of the more common programs include IEP Direct, Tracker and Tienet. Next the meeting takes place. Typical meetings last roughly one hour. The role of the LDT-C will depend upon which type of meeting and whether they are the case manager. If they are the case manager they conduct the meeting and make sure all the appropriate paperwork has been discussed, questions answered and signatures collected. Sometimes reports are discussed in depth, other times evaluation plans are made. Once finished other paperwork must be completed.
At this point it is at least noon. During a more typical week some testing is done. In elementary schools the LDT-C will go pick up the student and being them to the testing site. Testing will begin . Most testing sessions last only an hour at a time. The student is then returned to the classroom for a break before testing is completed. At some point throughout each day the LDT-C conducts classroom observations of students and consults with teachers about classified students, students in the classification process and students experiencing difficulties.
Though it is probably past the time school has ended the scoring of the assessment given that day needs to be done—along with the writing of the report. Many LDT-Cs choose to take this part of the work home so they are better able to spend their school day meeting with teachers, parents and students.