A hologram is a description of a child within an evaluation that illustrates the child’s strengths and weaknesses for the reader. The hologram should include examples that show the child’s ability to learn and highest level of functioning, as well as a description of when his or her skills break down. Whoever reads the evaluation should be able to “see” the child based on what is written about the child. It should be clearly demonstrated and explained why the child has a delay or age appropriate skills and whether any delay noted is due to second language acquisition, other factors, or a disorder. The hologram should not include standard scores, percentile ranks or simply a list of test items that the child could and could not perform such as: “Jessica missed 64% of the items involving the temporal concepts of ‘before/after’; ‘at the same time’;’while’; and ‘then.’ She understood locative items ‘top/bottom’; ‘between’; ‘next to’; ‘furthest/closest’ but had difficulty with ‘right/left’. She achieved 100% accuracy with directions using exclusion concepts of ‘all…except’;’all..but’; ‘all but one’; ‘neither/nor’ and ‘and’.” Holograms should include specific descriptions of the child’s actions or utterances such as: Emily demonstrated use of compound sentences in her speech, such as “This is his soup and this is his” and “I’ll use the little one and you use the big one.” Emily also exhibited some use of complex sentences such as “Let’s pretend that this is the real one,” “I ride the bus to go to the trip,” and “I learned how to ride a bicycle.” She also displayed use of prepositional phrases such as “I saw the mouse by my house” and “I saw a mouse at the pet store.” Examples used in the hologram can be drawn from the evaluator’s time spent with the child during the evalution or from a parent/teacher during the parent/teacher interview. Critical question 10, which asks the caregiver to bring in 10 examples of the students best communications and where it breaks down, is a great way to collect concrete data to include in the evaluation.
Along with a description and examples of the child’s abilities, the evaluator should interpret the child’s abilities within context for the reader. The evaluator should consider the child’s prior expriences including cultural background and socioeconomic status, language background and use (e.g., sequential or simultaneous bilingual), recent changes to family situation (e.g., birth, divorce, recent immigrants), etc. what that tells us about whether or not the child’s development is typical or delayed. Holograms are an essential part of a competent evaluation because it allows the administrator making a disability determination to truly see a child’s abilities in context. It also allows whoever may be providing services, if the child is determined to be eligible, to get an accurate picture of the child before meeting him/her and have a practical and realistic idea of where to begin with therapy.