Sunday, March 6, 2011

Remember Theo? - Allie's gift part 2

This was the sort of reaction I had when Allie was diagnosed, too.  It may seem weird - but it helps knowing - Diagnoses is the first step in helping kids with dyslexia.

The second step is to stress to teachers - "Chill - it's going to take some patience."

That step can be done with an IEP (Individual Education Plan) or 504 (Health plan).  Not all kids with a specific learning disability qualify for an IEP - or Special Education.  Sound crazy?  Well, yeah life is crazy.  A 504 plan can be used to specifically tell teachers to chill.

Now, if you're not an educator - you might be confused.  Can't teachers just recommend to parents that kids need special ed?  Well - neither teachers nor parents can stick kids in special ed.  It takes a lot of paper work.

First of all, there's still a stigma in special ed.  A teacher can not be just sure how a parent will react to the suggestion of testing for special ed - and before a teacher or a principal can utter those words to a parent, there must be six weeks of documentation.  Without the six weeks of documentation, teachers can not utter a word to parents about testing for special ed according to Minnesota Law. What sort of documentation?

Hmmm - as a teacher, I'd observe avoidance of work, copying from other kids' homework, daydreaming, poor grammatical mechanics, and that sort of thing.

As a teacher, I know that this is a touchy thing.  So, I'd also make sure to put a bunch of positive things down - because guess what?  I know that special ed just means finding another way to make a brilliant child learn in spite of a learning disorder.  Not all teachers are able to communicate that idea well;  it's intimidating.

Friday, I called the school and requested that my daughter be tested to receive special services.  There was a sigh of relief on the other end of the phone because - well - maybe there was six weeks of documentation already - and now, they didn't have to worry about my reaction.

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