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Links to Helpful SitesInternational Dyslexia Association: Guidence and support. Great message board.
The Special Ed Advocate: Learn your rights! Great site! A must!
LD Online: An interactive guide to LDs for parents, teachers and children
Council of Educators for Students w/Disabilities (504 Information): Commonly asked questions and answers about a 504
The Riggs Institute: A nonprofit organization helping chldren learn phonemic and graphemic awareness.
Overview of IDEA: Quick and to the point! Requirements and regulatory.
Overview of 504: Quick and to the point! Requirements and regulatory.
Research Grants: Looking for grants? This site has the books for purchase.
LD Teen: This site is for Ralph. You are not alone.
Some of my views have changed. I was very frustrated with teachers, I now believe that the problems in our school go higher up the ladder. We get notes, asking parents to donate crayons, glue sticks, and pencils. Fund raisers begging us to buy stuff we don't really need. They talk about teacher accountability, but look what the teachers are up against. Our kids need pencils. They also need books. The paper says they want 6 new school buildings. Not sure where computers are on this list. Well, you know what? They just signed a new football coach for $100,000.00. Is it me? Or do we need to get our priorities straight?
Where do we stand today? It's time to have our son tested again and we hear that the school pyschologist is very good. You have to summit your request in writing, so make sure you do that. In the last 3 years of trying to get our doctors orders carried out, our son has received approximately 6 weeks in Orton-Gillingham tutoring. Six weeks in 3 years. We will be rewriting his 504, we didn't know that they only last a year. Hopefully, this time around will be much more productive. 11/11/98 Talked to a parent that homeschools and have been checking into that. I found a website called The Greenwood Institute. This organization prepares lesson plans for dyslexic children. They tailor the plans to each individual child. Kinda scared about homeschooling. I need more information. 11/18/98 Report cards came out! 3 F's and 1 C. Can't say that I'm shocked. He got a 48 in reading. I keep telling them the the whole word method isn't working. How much proof do they need? He's in the 5th grade, they've had 5 years to prove me wrong. I spoke with the principal about a study done by the California Board of Education. They monitored children in kindergarten for phonemic awareness. The children having difficulty grasping it, were given 20 minutes a day of intense phonemic instruction. The results were a amazing. They were able to reduce the Special Ed classes by 25%. Do you know what his response was? "With less special ed children, the school would recieve less money, meaning less teachers." Am I missing something here? I would think having less children in sped would be a goal. Maybe he wasn't thinking clearly. I'm contacting an advocate from the Parent Information Center tomorrow. 11/20/98 Talked with a Parent Consultant at P.I.C. She says I should have received a letter in writing confirming the testing within 10 days (I sent it a month ago, next week). She also informed me that they had 60 days to fulfill my request for testing. She suggested writing a follow up letter requesting a written summation of the services performed so far, and to also ask that they reply with 5 working days. She also instructed me to ask for an IEP meeting, and request that I be notified (in writing) of the meeting, so I could attend. Also in the letter, I should ask if the IEP would be set up at that time, and if it is going to be, request that I'd be given ample (10 days) notice. The 10 days would give me time to gather all the information I could on Dyslexia/ADD, and the proven methods of teaching a dyslexic child. Looks like I have my work cut out for me.
I've been leaving posts on the IDA & LD Online Message Boards, today my mailbox was full of responses from parents expressing the same problems with schools. Seems to be pretty common. I even had one post from a teacher/parent of 2 dyslexic children stating that the bottom line is money. Schools don't want to pay for something that doesn't benefit the majority of students. (How come they get the extra money for sped students then?) I have to agree.
11/24/98 I had my letter ready to send when I got a call from the principal. He stated that the school is so busy that they will not be able to test till the end of January! I called the Parent Consultant and she said, that they were jerking me around. She suggested I rewrite my letter stating that I want an IEP meeting scheduled using the existing data, such as the outside evaluation (that no one wants to read) that states that Hunter is Dyslexic. By law, a Dyslexic child qualifies for IDEA services. She also told me to send her a copy of the letter, and to put Copy-PIC/DE on the envelope of the letter I send to the school.
The principal called today, he said that they will begin testing on Hunter today! Didn't mention a date for the IEP meeting. He said that I misunderstood him about the end of January bit. I've been spending a lot of time in Judy Bonnell's site. If you are gearing up for an IEP meeting, YOU MUST VISIT IT. It is a goldmine of information! I've been learning so much. She has a great page on learning tests and measurements. I don't know the address offhand, just do a search on her name.
Hunter had a pre-spelling test on Monday. He got 26 words out of 30 wrong. His homework assignment was to write each missed word 5 times. I watched him. He was mindlessly writing. This method isn't working, and think of how long it's going to take! Not to mention, he has other homework.
I decided to do something. I went to LD Online (great site, check out the message boards and LD in depth) and looked up spelling methods. We tried Reverse Chaining by Letter. The results were amazing! It isn't that hard either! He "got" it!. I asked him to spell the words this morning and he remembered how! I'm so excited!
HE GOT A 104 ON HIS SPELLING TEST!
Well here we go again! For Monday night's homework, he was supposed to write his words five times apiece. I told him that instead of the 5 times routine, we would do the Reverse Chaining and I would write his teacher a note explaining what we were doing. Today, I asked him what his teacher said. I thought, she would be happy that we found a method that works. The 104 was the proof. He said that she was mad. She said, we "Can't be doing that!". She suggested I have it written into his IEP. I could understand if I was requesting he do special class work, but this was homework. Does it really matter whether he writes the words 5 times? It's a waste of time and time is precious! I'm considering homeschooling. This is crazy!
I posted to the teachers on LD Online. They said, that the teacher felt as though, I had stepped on her toes. Jeez, she made it very clear at one of our meeting that she didn't know anything about Dyslexia. Seems that they aren't required to. I just thought that I was helping. I get all these things from the school saying "Read a Book", why aren't they? I asked her if she had read his learning report from the specialist, she said, she hadn't gotten around it. The parents are made to feel accountable for their children's progress, why aren't the teachers made accountable? What about the other undiagnosed dyslexic kids? They will fall farther and farther behind. Most drop out of school. Most end up on some form of government support, whether it be encarceration, welfare, or unemployment. Wouldn't it be cheaper to stop it at the source? I sent her an email appologizing for stepping on her toes.
12/9/98 Got an email from his teacher. She said that the new spelling method is working. His teachers are going to get together and start sending home his assignments on Mondays so I can work with him at home! YAHOOOOO! He's been sick the last 2 days and we went over his homework. We made a game out of learning the state capitols. His self-esteem has seemed to have taken a jump.
12/14/98 I haven't gotten any of the schoolwork, that I had been promised. I'm so tired of this. I contacted the Greenwood Institute about a pilot homeschooling program.
12/17/98 The Greenwood Institute CALLED. They want to know if we would like to be participants in their homeschooling program! They will go over his testing and plan a curriculum for him based on his learning style and achievement level. I think I'm going to do it. I'VE HAD ENOUGH!
12/20/98 We talked to Hunter about homeschooling to see how he feels about it. HE IS THRILLED!
1/15/99 Rescinded my request for an IEP. Sent a Letter of Intent, telling the school we will be homeschooling. I feel like a ton has been lifted of my shoulders! People have been questioning my decision. They say it will be hard on me. What could be worse than the last 3 years of fighting the school? I now wish that all the time and energy I had spent in educating myself about LDs and the law, had been spent on educating HIM!
1/20/99 Today would have been the IEP meeting, but we ended up going over Hunter's tests. They confirmed the tests done 3 years ago. He is very intelligent and he is dyslexic. I signed the papers. It's offical. We are now homeschooling.
2/20/99 It's been a month. Hunter is a much happier child now. I didn't relize the pressure he was under. I don't think you could wipe the smile off of this kid's face!
Delaware is a great state, visit the "Lighter Side" of our life here!