Can anyone tell me their experiences in dealing with a charter school and the process of evaluating testing for specific learning disabilities? We've been through this process with my older son who has a specific learning disability in written expression and adhd but we were at a regular public school. My younger son is in 3rd grade and we're becoming more and more concerned that he has almost the exact same difficulties as my older son. He goes to a charter school. I am requesting an evaluation but feeling they are not as proactive as my older son's school was. Any personal experiences that might help us would be much appreciated.
From what I've seen that's typical. They aren't as proactive because they aren't set up with the same kinds of resources that public schools have for coping with students with disabilities, so they usually don't want to deal with it. It's not going to be easy...
What interventions/accommodations work with your older child? Would things like this help the younger one? Would the charter school be able to do similar things? Could you just ask to put similar supports in place, without a formal diagnosis? I have no idea what supports you would have in mind. But my thoughts are that a small, individualized program might be able to help your child without the formal process. Especially if the accommodations are simple and cheap. Some kids just need no-cost plans, like being allowed to go outside and run off some energy occasionally during the day. Or extra time to do assignments. or maybe you (the family) could provide a bouncy chair or whatever works.
If the supports are more complex, it may be that the charter school is not the best place for your younger child. I don't know how the law reads for charter schools accommodating disabilities. If they are considered public or private schools. Private schools are not required to accept or meet the needs of special needs kids. If your child needs specialized reading programs, or a para-aide, or specific occupational therapy, it might be that a small school just can't do it. They likely just wouldn't have the trained staff.
Charter schools are public schools and are required by law to provide services under IDEA. That being said they sometimes do lack the resources of district schools and I think SageOwl is correct that we may encounter some more difficulties than we did with my older son who was at a public school that was particularly strong. We no longer live in that school district so that particular school isn't available to us.
We're going to request an evaluation and also see a development ped on our own that we've worked with before. My older son and younger son appear to have similar issues but I don't think they have all the same ones so I want to make sure my younger son gets a good diagnosis and we can make sure he gets the help he needs early on which I think eill help him in the long run. You're right Mamarhu. This might not be the right school for him. We really the school. It is very challenging but the smaller size and emphasis on academics and building kind well rounded individuals has been great. They know they are academically rigorous but believe every child can learn at his or her own pace. We'll see if they're willing to work with us. I hope so. Otherwise we will definately look at other options.
Thanks for your replies. I feel a little more ready to be a strong advocate for my son now.