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LD 4th grader - what to do until he's tested?

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I've got a 4th grader who was in PS for two years, then HS for two years, and now will be returning to PS next year.  He is almost certainly dyslexic (has lots of dyslexia symptoms beyond just reversals, and his dad has dyslexia symptoms, and his 1st grade teacher recommended dyslexia testing which was denied because he was "too young") and may have other LD's as well.  We're looking into a private eval, but that won't happen for at least another 4 months.  In the meantime, the PS doesn't want to schedule an eval until AT LEAST six weeks into next school year -- they say this is because they want to observe him in class, etc. 


I attended a meeting for parents of incoming 4th graders last week, and what I saw there was that my dyslexic/LD kid will NOT be able to do what is required of him.  The teachers were very adamant that "if your kid can't do xyz, they are going to be REALLY struggling."  They were saying this in hopes of lighting fires under the parents and getting them to keep plugging away at their kids' learning during the summer.  Well, my kid can't do ANY of their XYZ's, and is unlikely to be able to do so by the beginning of  next year.  And he won't be evaluated for LD's until AT LEAST six weeks have gone by.  (He needs to be able to read and comprehend his texts and to learn material by reading it, and he can barely read.)


His previous experience in PS was K and 1st grade, where he was already so embarrassed by his lack of ability to read/spell that he would take his spelling tests (which were graded by other students and then turned in, and on which he got grades like 20 and 30) and shove them into his desk instead of turning them in.  :(  So . . . I'm trying to figure out what in the world I'm supposed to do for him.  Just send him anyway and let him be totally lost and failing?  He has three "gifted" sisters and already feels "stupid" in comparison (He compares himself; I don't compare them.) He also has bully neighbors calling him "stupid" all the time. I can't imagine sending him to school knowing he's going to be totally lost and failing for six weeks before testing is even considered . . . and then probably for weeks/months after it that. 


What would you do?

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I responded on your other thread but since you are posting here, too, I decided I would just suggest a few options since you said you are in San Antonio on the other thread.


1.  There are two schools in S.A. that are specifically for kids with learning challenges, including dyslexia.  Both are pricey but both offer scholarships and one is half the price of the other.  (I can PM you if you need contact info). The cheaper one is Christian based, the more expensive one is secular.  The Christian based school is Kinder through 12th.  The secular school is 4th through 12th.  If you could swing putting him at one of those for at least this next year he could get the accommodations/remediation he needs right in the school, right from the start, without having to wait weeks for evals through the public school system and the help would be daily and incorporated into all of his classes.  They also both have summer school programs but the programs only last a month and there is no one on one tutoring, just small groups.  For the summer I think your child would be better with one on one OG instruction if at all possible.


2.  Although it would NOT be as thorough as a neuropsychology evaluation you might look at getting an evaluation through Learning Foundations.  You could almost certainly get in much sooner there than with a neuropsych.  They also have specialized tutoring that could help him through the summer in preparing to go back to school.  (Let me know if you need contact info).


3.  Contact Scottish Rite there in San Antonio and get on their waiting list for help.  Low cost to no cost (I believe Heathermomster sent you a link on the other thread).


4.  While you seek evaluations you could start tutoring him with the Barton Reading and Spelling system and continue that at home as an after schooling thing once he starts school.  It is scripted, there are videos to teach the parent how to teach the child, and if he passed the student screening you might be able to get him through Level 1 and 2 and possibly most of three before school started if you began right away and did it daily.  You could sell one level to cover most of the cost of the next level so it wouldn't be so expensive (it is expensive but MUCH cheaper than professional tutoring).


TBH, if I were in your shoes, while seeking evaluations I would be working to get him into an OG based program immediately, either doing it yourself at home or through Learning Foundations or Scottish Rite.

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Thank you!  That helps a lot.  I was wondering both about Learning Foundations and about Scottish Rite -- I wasn't sure if they were OG based, or what.  Don't have much time to be online ATM, but wanted to say thanks, because your info helps a LOT.  And if you have the names of the schools, that will help, too.  I tried to Google "Dyslexia Schools San Antonio and didn't come up with much.  Okay, wait . . . I was using another search engine -- I'll actually GOOGLE it --LOL.  We don't have a lot of $ (the whole reason the kids are going back to school is so I can go back to work), so I don't know which of these is a viable option for us, but this is a lot of useful info. Thank you!


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Actually, I used to work at Learning Foundations in San Antonio, and the OG program they use IS Barton.

Yes but not just Barton. They use other programs, too. Which is why they were finally able to help me help DD over a bump we hit. They knew Barton and knew why she was tripping up and were able to incorporate other program to help her over that bump.

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It's common for the PS to want to observe the child in their classes before agreeing to evaluations, when the student is newly enrolled and was previously homeschooled. That happened to us. However, the school still has to follow federal law. If you submit a request for evaluations in writing, they MUST respond in writing within 30 days, either to agree to evaluate, or to deny that there is enough evidence of disability to evaluate.


In our case, the school gave us the denial, even though we had private diagnoses, and scheduled another meeting to reassess the possibility after the first grading period (nine weeks). We were very frustrated.


If you just called and asked them if they would evaluate, it does not trigger any official and legal response from the school. They can tell you whatever they desire over the phone about their preferred wait time, but legally they have to respond properly to a written request.


I think you have some valid concerns about the possibility that he would flounder during those first few weeks of school. DD10 (dyslexic) had a very difficult time this past year, during her nine week watch period, and she actually could read on grade level.


Here is what I would do. Write up a request for evaluations, in which you lay out your concerns. Explain that you suspect a reading disability, and that despite the instruction that he has received, that he is reading way below grade level. I would mention that at that meeting parents were cautioned that students who are not reading well will struggle, and say that you have very serious concerns. Provide some samples of his writing. Request to have a meeting within 30 days, as prescribed by law. Hand deliver this letter to the special education department of your public school.


Here is the truth .... The squeaky wheel gets the grease. If they tell you to wait until fall and you just agree and comply, they have no reason to step up and follow the law. Be persistent and advocate for your child.


Now, they still may tell you that you have to wait through that six weeks in the fall, but they must do that in writing, by giving you a Prior Written Notice (this is what they call their official form), saying that they are refusing to do any evaluations now. f you really have to endure those first few weeks without evaluations, I would schedule a parent-teacher conference for the beginning of the second week of school or the end of the first week and lay out all of your concerns with his classroom teacher. Ask them what they can do to help. Perhaps they can offer some afterschool tutoring (you would need to pay for this), where they can help with his homework.


Also, you should ask the school if they have an OG trained teacher on staff to work with students with reading disabilities. Not all schools do. My MIL was a reading specialist in a public school for 30 years, and she had no specific training and zero knowledge about dyslexia or what to do for it. She considered her job cushy, because she didn't have to manage a classroom, and the other teachers were lining up to take her job when she retired, because it was considered a plum position. It makes me angry just to type that out, because I think of all of the kids that didn't get the proper help they needed (not MIL's fault -- she did the job the school told her to). Believe it or not, this is not uncommon.


Your son is going to need the OG help. If the public school can't offer it, you will either need to find a private tutor to do it after school (which will be challenging, given that he will also have homework, which will be hard for him), or consider one of the private schools that OneStep mentioned. It sounds like there is some great potential help from private schools or providers near where you live.


:grouphug:  I know you are in a hard place.



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