Miranda Schehr
Expert Name: Miranda Schehr
Expert Title: Miranda Schehr
Company Name:  Step By Step Academy
Company URL: www.stepbystepacademy.org
Short Bio: Miranda Schehr, BCaBA, is the Clinic Transition Director of Step by Step Academy (SBSA), a non-profit treatment center for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). As a clinic transition director she directs the treatment plans of multiple clients through management, training and supervision of clinical staff. Before her involvement with SBSA she worked as an Intervention Specialist in Applied Behavioral Services, where she was responsible in the implementation of treatment of multiple clients and their families through teaching and training in the classroom and home environments. Her extensive experience in the field of Behavior Analysis allowed her to successfully conduct presentations, workshops and conferences on topics: PECS for Parents: learning and using the first 3 phases of PECS with your child in the home; Implementing Direct Instruction Curricula with Learners with Autism Spectrum Disorders; Differentiated Instruction; and Introduction to Applied Behavior Analysis. Miranda is from Columbus, Ohio. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Mild-Moderate Special Education at Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH, completed a graduate coursework in Behavior Analysis in the University of North Texas, Denton TX; and she is anticipating the completion of her Masters of Education in Cognitive and Behavioral Disabilities at the Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL, in August 2012. Miranda is affiliated with the Association for Applied Behavior Analysis International; Ohio Association of Behavior Analysts; Council for Exceptional Children; and Association for Direct Instruction.

What is an MFE or ETR? Why is this important?

Welcome to the world of alphabet soup!  MFE stands for multi-factored evaluation, it’s the ‘new’ term for an ETR or Evaluation Team Report.  In the educational system, an ETR is conducted at least every 3 years, and between preschool and school-aged services to determine a student’s eligibility for special education services.  

Evaluations are completed:
•    To get a complete picture of your child’s abilities as they relate to educational performance
•    Make recommendations about ways to meet your child’s educational needs
•    Determine whether your child is eligible for special education and/or related services (i.e. Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy)

An ETR can be initiated by either the parents or the school.  If as a parent, you are concerned about your child’s performance at school and feel it’s more than being ‘just a little behind’ you may ask the district to evaluate your child.  The school has 30 days to respond to the request by either getting consent or sending a letter saying they don’t suspect a disability.

If the school initially suspects a disability, they will first contact parents in writing, to obtain permission to conduct an evaluation.  

The ETR is typically a series of at least 2 meetings that is most often led by the school district’s psychologist.  The first meeting is the initial planning meeting and the second is the actual Evaluation Team Report.

During the planning meeting, the school will determine what information is already available or needs an evaluation in the areas related to your child’s suspected disabilities including the following, as appropriate:
•    Health/background
•    Vision
•    Hearing
•    Social and emotional development
•    General intelligence
•    Academic Performance
•    Communication
•    Motor abilities (gross and fine)
•    Aptitude/achievement
•    Academic skills/progress toward the general curriculum

Other areas that could be tested based on student needs include audiological needs, braille needs, assistive technology needs, vocational/transitional needs, behavioral assessment, adaptive behavior

If there is already information available from prior testing or private testing, the school may choose to use it if the testing was completed in the last year or they can choose to do their own assessments.  These assessments will be completed by individuals within their area of specialty. A psychologist may do psychological/aptitude, adaptive behavior assessment while an Occupational Therapist is the one who will conduct motor assessments.  General Education Teachers would complete evaluations related to how the student is making progress toward the general education curriculum.

Everyone should leave the ETR planning meeting with a firm idea of what testing is going to be done, by whom and whether they will be observing the child, doing assessment during school hours or asking the child to be available outside the regular school day or at another location than their home school.  

Once everyone completes their assessments/observations, the team will re-group for the ETR meeting.  During the meeting, the professional will explain to the parents and the rest of the team what tests were done, how the student performed on the test and if there is an educational need.

At the end of the meeting, the team will determine if the student meets the eligibility criteria for special education or related services or not.  If a student is eligible, the next step is for the team members, in the area the child qualifies for services, to write an Individual Education Plan (IEP) for the student.

The ETR is important because it specifies which services a student needs to make progress towards the general education curriculum.  If, during an ETR, the team determines that the student doesn’t have deficits in fine/gross motor skills then the student wouldn’t be eligible to receive Occupational Therapy Services in the IEP.