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Looking for help :)

My son is 9 and getting ready to enter 4th grade. I've spent the summer getting him evaluated for ADHD and dyslexia and the final results were actually ADHD, dyslexia and dysgraphia. We homeschooled for K and 1st, did virtual school and public school for 2nd and he spent all of 3rd in public school. I am not happy with our school. I pushed for testing, asked for evaluations, met with the teacher, etc. They denied all of my requests for testing and the principal wouldn't respond to my emails. Instead, the school suggested he be retained in 3rd grade. He is excellent in math and meets expectations in all areas except spelling, writing and some parts of language arts. He has no issues with making friends and being social. For all intents and purposes, he is a happy-go-lucky, energetic kid who struggles with reading. I declined the retention. Several times. He's been working with us nightly and has had a tutor since the beginning of the year - all arranged by us. The school had him in a reading pull-out with other poor readers but nothing individualized.

Now, with the official labels in my hand, I need to talk to the school about a plan for next year. They give nothing willingly but I'm prepared to fight. Problem is...I'm not sure what to ask for. I know I'd like a copy of the classroom textbooks for us to use at home. I'd like accommodations for testing but I'm not sure what. I've heard that 4th grade is the year when writing becomes more intense and the workload increases. I'm worried and I feel too new to this to make the best decisions. We have a Scottish Rite (Masonic) in our area and they offer Orton-Gillingham tutoring and support for free and I'm going to see if we can get him in their program.

Any advice? Would love to hear from anyone that has BTDT!
 

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Hi there, I don't have much advice to offer but just wanted to say we are going through the same thing at the moment with our ds who is 7 and going into gr. 3. He will be tested in September by our pediatrician. Same thing - reading, writing problems and math is strong. We also have been having him tutored, and work with him at home a lot although that can be a struggle. I will be watching this thread. Just wanted to add that we also have a 5 year old with type 1.
 

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Do you have any other schooling options? In my district there are probably a dozen elementary schools and it is possible to go to another school other than my home school if they have room. We moved ds to a charter after an "unproductive" year dealing with his school, though there wasn't any "fighting" going on because we had no idea what to do at the time. Ds' current school has done everything they're supposed to and we haven't had to fight.

If you have no choice but to go back to this school, I'd go in prepared; I'd look for a special education advocate in your city, and I'd do a consultation with a special education attorney (or a few, and find one you can theoretically afford if it comes to that--though I wouldn't mention lawyers unless it does come to that because that is adversarial, which isn't necessarily what you want at this point). I'd draw up a sample IEP or 504 (whichever you think is appropriate, though I think the school makes the final determination).

Wrightslaw.com has a lot of free and useful information. Though I'd consider getting this book Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, if only to have the option of doing this, "Mr. Principle, I feel like our communication regarding ds last year was unproductive, so I did some reading this summer (gently plop 450 page book that says "Special Education Law" in big letters on his desk) and I've found some practical ways that we can work together to help ds." Though that may be considered adversarial which isn't necessarily a good idea--on the other hand it may show that you now know the law and may cause a bigger headache for him if they don't just follow the law.

If you can find all those e-mails, phone records, ANY communication with the school regarding your ds from this past year, I'd make make copies and put them in a binder. I'd also log those communications in a calendar (also in the binder) so you and anyone you need to show it two can see how much communication their was, if they responded, and how they responded. Just in case. I'd also collect any receipts/records/dates regarding your ds' tutoring; that may be useful later.

Also, since your school is putting up such a fight...

  • Make all "big" requests by certified mail (504/IEP meetings, requests for special education testing, any time-critical request).
  • Make every request by e-mail even if you also call. Print copies and save the originals in a folder in your e-mail.
  • After every call/meeting send a follow-up e-mail summarizing what you discussed/solutions agreed to, when and where you discussed it (in the hall, in the principle's office, rm 102, etc.) --like writing the "minutes" of a meeting; print copies save the originals.
  • Keep a calendar (maybe even an executive diary that has all the hours of the day listed) of all contact with the school.
  • Show it--innocently, "it's just such a help to me to have this all organized
    shy.gif
    ." We've built a few houses and the salesmen have said they love the clients that show up with binders because those turn out to be the serious buyers who have good credit scores
    winky.gif
    -- it won't make an uncooperative school love you, but they may quit dragging their heals if they think it'll bite'em later.

http://www.wrightslaw.com/

http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/guide/adhd-causes

Under the IDEA/IEP, if your child has a disability that adversely affects educational performance, your child is entitled to an education that is designed to meet the child's unique needs and from which your child receives educational benefit.

A 504 is helping your child get the same education that everyone else is getting--more for a student that needs accommodations to help them learn (like sitting next to the teacher) or for behavior, and that they are not punished for things that they cannot control due to the ADHD (like needing to work standing up or not sit inside a group).

Parents as Experts

Special Education Law and Advocacy

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A lot of my links are ADHD related but wrightslaw.com

has information about special education law in general.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Key Differences Between Section 504, the ADA, and the IDEA. (http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/sec504.summ.rights.htm)

Key Differences Between Section 504 and IDEA. (http://www.wrightslaw.com/howey/504.idea.htm)

Is a Child with ADD/ADHD Eligible for Special Education? - Wrightslaw

Helping Parents Secure ADHD School Accommodations: IEP & 504 Plans for ADD Children | ADDitude - ADHD & LD Adults and Children

Wrightslaw - IEP FAQ

Section 504 Online Introductory Tutorial

Sample 504 Plans - 504 Plan Templates and Suggested Accommodations

Sample 504 plans | Child & Adolescent Bipolar Foundation



Write Your Own Behavior Plan


Section 504 - Civil Rights Law, Protection from Discrimination ...Wrightslaw

Handling a Manifestation Determination Review

http://www.adhdnews.com/testforum/test886.htm

Crisis Management, Step-by-Step - Wrightslaw

Autism Speaks, Community, Family Services, Texas: Advocates

s504discipline.pdf (application/pdf Object)

CHADD Live | Home Page

CDC - ADHD, Symptoms and Diagnosis - NCBDDD

Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, 2nd Edition (book)

Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, 2nd Edition (book)

ADHD- Middle and High School, search
http://www.google.com/search?q=ADHD+middle+school&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:eek:fficial&client=firefox-a


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

About ADHD: Hyperfocus | ADDitude - Attention Deficit Information ...

http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/1572-2.html

http://www.addinschool.com/elementary/socialskills.htm
 
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The previous post was awesome. You have to request the evaluation in writing, in a real letter with a date and signature.

My DD has fine motor issues (in addition to other issues) and some of her accommodations were:

1. assignments involving a lot of handwriting could be modified to ensure success. How this played out depended on the specific assignment -- from just writing the one word answer rather than a whole sentence to typing an assignment rather than doing it by hand.

2. extra time for homework. DD had the entire weekend to catch up on school work. All of her work was due by the following Monday with no penalty

(it seems like there was more, but I'm blanking right now)
 

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I think I've seen posts on students with dysgraphia using keying their assignments; some even using mini-desktop computers of some sort--I saved this the last time I saw this topic came up:


AlphaSmart Dana - Handheld - Palm OS 4.1 ( 560 x 160 )

You can do a search to get ideas on accommodations.

Dysgraphia

http://www.google.com/search?q=key+boards+for+dysgraphia&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:eek:fficial&client=firefox-a

Dyslexia
http://www.google.com/search?q=dyslexia+accomodations+504&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:eek:fficial&client=firefox-a
 

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Emmeline, as usual, you absolutely astound me with your resources!

OP, I just wanted to share that we started treating my ds for ADD, and a very interesting side effect was improvement in handwriting. We also saw some general improvement in ability to bring thoughts to paper.

My dd, with dyslexia, is completely on grade level for reading now. 3rd and 4th were tough years, but we used a method similar to OG, with great success.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
chkpea - we certainly have some similarities! How's your daughter doing? My DD was around her age when she first started to feel 'odd man out' as the only kid with diabetes. It was a hard time for her so I hope yours is doing well.

Emmeline II - wow! Thank you so, so, so much! I have been a lot of reading thanks to your links and I have 2 of the Wrightslaw books requested at the library now :) I feel like I have an idea of where to go next and it's helped me so much. The overwhelming-ness of it is fading. Thanks for the links - I have read through most of them, bookmarked a ton and will have my husband read through it, too. Thank you for taking the time to put all of that together!

Linda - good idea on the homework timeline. I like it. I was thinking about asking for spelling words earlier to advantage of weekends, too.

karne - I love positive results storied - thank you!
 

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I can't really top the great posts you have already received, but can share our personal experiences. My son (13) was diagnosed with a reading disorder (when I asked the psychologist who assessed him if it was the same as dyslexia she answered " that is an old term we don't use any more" ?). He also has problem writing do to a fine motor skill delay caused by SPD. After showing the Psychologist's report the school they worked out his own Individualised Education Plan based on the Psychologist's suggestions. He did not qualify as being "indentified" but is entitled to have modifications. For example he has access to the resource room. If a test involves a lot of writing he can do multiple choices instead. He can write out his assignments on a keyboard. Because we just had him re-tested this year they are currently working out a new program for him for next Fall.

As far as I know if you have a report from educational psychologist the school has to take it in to consideration and make adjustments.
 

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Unfortunately, your child has to be failing in the classroom to certain degree before most schools will take action. My understanding is that your requests for testing have to be made in writing (and mailed maybe registered or certified), and then if the do not take initiate testing with in a set time period you have cause for legal action. I think you should ask your psychologist that did the testing for local resources in your area. We found for ds, that he needed occupational therapy, which has been useful for both his writing issues and adhd strategies. The school does not offer it, so we do it through the local hospital and our insurance.

A second thing that we encounter here is that the school does not recognize academic dx. They have their own evaluation system for identifying deficiencies. So they do not in any way state on ds's iep that he has dyslexia or adhd, but they do however state his medical dx for epilepsy because have to help administer medication and have a plan for seizures. Our school district does not have a set method for dealing with dyslexia, and when I talked to his classroom teacher about it after going to an Orton-Gillingham talk, I found the school just expected that each classroom teacher would have some sort of special magic to resolve the problem. Ds did go to a special ed room for reading and writing, but the teacher was given specific goals from the iep to correct the deficiencies not the overall dx of dyslexia. He also was allowed certain accommodations, like help with long writing.

Currently, I am reading Sally Shaywitz's book Overcoming Dyslexia on our psychologist's recommendation. She also recommended the International Dyslexia website, but I have not made much progress with reading it. You are your child's best advocate, and you will have to fill in the gaps that the school misses. Meet often with the teachers and keep talking to the administration.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by melissa17s View Post

A second thing that we encounter here is that the school does not recognize academic dx. They have their own evaluation system for identifying deficiencies. So they do not in any way state on ds's iep that he has dyslexia or adhd, but they do however state his medical dx for epilepsy because have to help administer medication and have a plan for seizures. Our school district does not have a set method for dealing with dyslexia, and when I talked to his classroom teacher about it after going to an Orton-Gillingham talk, I found the school just expected that each classroom teacher would have some sort of special magic to resolve the problem. Ds did go to a special ed room for reading and writing, but the teacher was given specific goals from the iep to correct the deficiencies not the overall dx of dyslexia. He also was allowed certain accommodations, like help with long writing.

Currently, I am reading Sally Shaywitz's book Overcoming Dyslexia on our psychologist's recommendation. She also recommended the International Dyslexia website, but I have not made much progress with reading it. You are your child's best advocate, and you will have to fill in the gaps that the school misses. Meet often with the teachers and keep talking to the administration.
You're correct-dyslexia isn't a dx you will find used in schools, or in IEP's. You are more likely to find something along the lines of Specific Learning Disability. From a school's perspective, just based on my experience, they are not going to set about remediating "dyslexia". They are looking for specific places where a child requires intervention, and putting strategies or specific teaching in place to address the learning need. The IEP identifies specific learning goals, with measurable accomplishments, which is what the spec ed program or teacher will be working on.

This also changes a fair amount with age and maturation. I have seen the move from very specific instruction and skill building around learning to read, to reading for comprehension, test taking skills, organizational strategies, use of assistive technology, organization with regarding to writing papers, etc. Dyslexia is a lifelong dx,, and can impact more than reading ability.

I also really like sally Shaywitz's book.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by karne View Post

You're correct-dyslexia isn't a dx you will find used in schools, or in IEP's. You are more likely to find something along the lines of Specific Learning Disability. From a school's perspective, just based on my experience, they are not going to set about remediating "dyslexia". They are looking for specific places where a child requires intervention, and putting strategies or specific teaching in place to address the learning need. The IEP identifies specific learning goals, with measurable accomplishments, which is what the spec ed program or teacher will be working on.

This also changes a fair amount with age and maturation. I have seen the move from very specific instruction and skill building around learning to read, to reading for comprehension, test taking skills, organizational strategies, use of assistive technology, organization with regarding to writing papers, etc. Dyslexia is a lifelong dx,, and can impact more than reading ability.

I also really like sally Shaywitz's book.
This was our experience as well. Dyslexia is not recognized as a dx, nothing is done to assist the child other then interventions in the classroom such as extra time for writing, reading, etc... She had to be 2 grade levels behind before those would take place, which she was. DD1 would of been placed in a once a week group reading time with one teacher that had minimal training in OG. And that was it for the public schools and what they offer in my area for children like her.

We've spent the last 2+ years doing private tutoring 4 days a week an hour at a time and have never regretted a single second of it. She reads now even at grade level, she also is learning how to cope with her lifelong disability. Like Karne sad, it isn't always just reading dyslexics struggle with and that has been true for DD1. If you have free OG tutoring in your area then what an amazing chance!
 

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many public schools require a child to fail a 6 weeks prior to initiating accommodations. I would write the principal a letter, explaining the diagnoses you have been given over the summer and ask for an IEP meeting and any additional testing the school deems necessary. CC a copy to the Special Ed department for the district. This also might sound harsh, but you might need to let him fail classes the 1st 6 weeks of school. As for your IEP, here are some of my suggestions:

Extra time on any assignment requiring reading/writing;

Ability to type assignments

Early access to assignments that might be difficult (spelling words, research projects, etc)

Modifying tests to short answer, multiple choice, etc to avoid lots of writing

Paper handouts instead of copying from board or overhead projector

Calendar of all assignments (in class and homework) written out for you to check his assignments

Copy of textbooks or learning materials for home

Option of oral assignments/tests as opposed to written

Allow printing instead of cursive if it is easier for him

Make sure to communicate to the staff that you are willing to adjust the IEP if your son does well with the accommodations, but make sure they will do the same. I had an awful time copying anything from the board, a book, or an overhead. It took forever, and I would usually switch the numbers or letters (making it hard to tell what I meant to write). Having another copy of the assignment at home helped. I also still print or type everything.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by anj_rn View Post

many public schools require a child to fail a 6 weeks prior to initiating accommodations.
"Fail" has a very specif meaning in a school context. The public school my DD attended did not have a rule that children must "fail" for a certain period of time.

The didn't accommodate kids if they were doing OK without accommodation, and the goal was never to get a kid to straight As.
 
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