Who should do the testing – the school district or a private practitioner?
The question of whether to have a formal assessment done and who to have do it can be complicated. It really depends on what you want to do with the assessment, why are you having it done, and the actual person to do it. The school district will do an assessment free of charge, they are required to do so if requested. How skilled they are and how they interpret those results is as uncertain as how qualified a private person is and how they will interpret the findings. A private psychologist will often spend more time with your child and will give you more individualized attention and suggestions. Depending upon the psychologist, they might advocate for you with the school as well. Of course you pay for these services and frequently you end up with a lengthy report, possibly suggestions for treatment, and you are often back to where you are right now – what do I do to help my child learn and relate to others more easily?
I use an alternative approach you might be interested in exploring as well. I work with kids with learning disabilities as well as Aspergers using an approach called HANDLE. Rather than assessing for a diagnosis, I am assessing the child’s neurodevelopment to see what sensory systems are functioning efficiently and which ones are not. Once this is discerned, then I create a program of simple activities you do with your child at home – 15 min. or so a day with regular follow ups with me. These activities gently integrate the weaker systems and allow them to function with great ease. This in turn often shifts the “disabilities” to abilities or at least less of a “disability” and can alleviate many of the characteristics associated with Aspergers. The idea is to address the functionality at its root causes.