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Making The 2009 - 2010 School Year The Best It Can Be

With schools under incredible cost pressures and accountability becoming greater each day, students with Dyslexia, a Learning Disability, ADHD or just a learning problem will be under greater pressure than ever.

This article is designed to offer suggestions in three areas:
  1. What to do if you are switching schools
  2. What to do if you are working with your child's school to either try and get accommodations, change them or retain them
  3. How to build rapport with school personnel
We are aware of many cases where parents are transferring their child from a private to either a public or charter school.  Both public and charter schools are under IDEA -- the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.  This law requires schools to assess children within a certain time frame.  Federal law requires it to be done in 60 calendar days, but allows states to set their own standards -- in Florida, it is 60 school days -- which may be much longer given the summer break, weekends and school holidays.

Whatever the law, you want to put a request for testing in writing, and if you suspect a Learning Disability and ADHD -- Attention Deficit Disorder -- request the school to form a child study team to assess your child ASAP for a learning disability and ADHD.  Do not use Dyslexia -- because they do not test for Dyslexia, and even if you brought in a Dyslexia diagnosis they would not use it. Only Texas accepts Dyslexia as a qualifying condition for Dyslexia.  Make this request ASAP - because there may be fewer testers and there may be more people than ever requesting testing.

The reason to include ADHD is that a Learning Disability is very subjective -- but a child can qualify for an IEP if the ADHD is signficantly impacting their academic performance -- and they would benefit from Special Education Services. They do not have to be failing. Read the following article -- students can qualify for an IEP with ADHD even if they are passing.   

We have seen recent cases where the school recommends reducing services, because they are under real cost pressures.  The IEP has not changed, the student's performance has not changed, but the school makes the request.  The financial situation with Special Education is now far different than with General Education.  With the stimulus bill, Special Education has 50% more money than ever before, and should not be reducing services with cost as an excuse. 

If you do not accept the school's request to reduce services-- they cannot legally change services -- assuming an IEP is already in place.  This is the time to get an advocate or other professional to help.

If your child has been in the same school and you are first trying to get them assessed, it will be more important than ever to get the request in ASAP -- since schools will be faced with more requests than ever and fewer resources.

Whether your child is in a public, private or charter school, the teachers and administrators are likely to be under more financial pressure than ever with accountability the same or increased.  We recommend a few things:

  1. Put your requests in writing, date them and follow-up.
  2. When you agree on an action plan -- consider what you can do to do your fair share and beyond.  In many cases, we have seen an IEP written to have the teacher provide a copy of the assignments, and then this was ignored.  In a case last year, the mom told the teacher she would make sure the child did the homework, the parent would sign the planner when the homework was done, and then make sure the homework was put in a place where her child could find it.
The teacher started off the first week doing her share, the mom did exactly what she had promised, and the process continued to work beautifully.  The Law of Reciprocation works as well in education as it does in business.  Do more than your fair share and it will come back in spades.

We suspect many of you have suggestions that other parents may benefit from, and would encourage you to e-mail them to We will share your name or keep it anonymous -- your choice.

We are sure that other parents will appreciate learning from your experiences.