What Storygirl and Jenn said.
You can send a letter in this week to your local school system requesting evaluations. You might be able to get those evaluations by fall. They usually won't be very detailed. As Storygirl mentioned, really a school eval is usually just to determine if a child is functioning so below grade level they need help to survive in the classroom, but school evals CAN give you needed info that might help until a private evaluation becomes possible.
And they are free.
I also agree, what program are you using, if any, to teach reading? Not just practice reading through site words and exposure to print. Are you using any sort of phonics based program?
I would not force additional reading on a child that is struggling, especially if you are not using a phonics based program to work on reading skills. You don't know for certain what the disconnect is so forcing more reading on a child with a learning difference may actually be ingraining poor reading habits without remediating the underlying issues. It might give them a way to limp through reading with inefficient coping skills without helping them to actually master reading. This is what happened to my DD. Then you have to go back, start from scratch, and help the student unlearn the bad reading practices while teaching them the ones that actually work for how their brain processes language.
What you might look at is doing a few things, for now, since money is an issue and evaluations are not possible at this time.
1. Write the school and officially request evaluations. That starts the clock ticking. It can take a while to get the school going on these but legally they have to start the ball rolling once you send in an official request.
2. Get on the Barton Reading and Spelling website and give yourself the tutor screening. Then give your child the student screening. This is free, not super long, and might help you to know if there are certain issues that need to be addressed before a reading program might work. I am linking it below. This does not obligate you to buy Barton and it is not a test for dyslexia but it helps determine if certain issues may exist that would make a reading program problematic without additional interventions first. This would at least give you a something free to help with a preliminary analysis.
Please note: Before giving either of these screenings make sure that you will not be interrupted, the area is relatively quiet and free of distractions since hearing the sounds is critical, you and your student are well rested, not hungry or cranky, and you don't have to rush out the door soon.
3. Look into ElizabethB's free reading program designed for kids who struggle with reading. It might help and it is free. She posts on these boards and could answer your questions. If that doesn't seem to work for you, seek out a reading program that is phonics based and preferrably Orton-Gillingham based specifically.
4. If you and your child pass the Barton screening, consider seeking out ways to possibly save up money for at least the first two levels of Barton or see if there is someone in your area you could borrow them from. They usually resell at nearly the purchase price so save up to buy the first level ($250), implement the first level, sell it while you continue practicing what was learned, use that money to help purchase the second level, practice what was learned while you sell the second, and see if there has been any improvement. Levels are not grade levels but skill levels, by the way. Schools usually don't teach level 1. Most kids pick up level one skills intuitively. Many dyslexics do not. Level two material is similar to what is normally taught in a standard phonics based reading program but normal reading programs usually go at a much faster pace and most programs skip a lot of steps that dyslexic students actually need taught to them explicitly and slowly. It frequently is covered way too fast and with too little explicit instruction for the skills to be mastered and internalized for a dyslexic. Barton, and other programs like it, break it all down into smaller pieces and teach things far more explicitly. They also include a lot more review.
5. Read up on dyslexia and learning challenges. You might read books like Overcoming Dyslexia by Sally Shaywitz, The Dyslexic Advantage and The Mislabeled Child both by Brock and Fernette Eide, Homeschooling Your Struggling Learner by Kathy Kuhl, etc.
Edited by OneStepAtATime, 15 May 2017 - 08:10 PM.