Parenting Tips for Public and Charter School Parents, Especially if Your Child is a Right Brain Kinesthetic Learner

Right brain kinesthetic learners face huge risks this school year.  Many teachers will be new, schools may be understaffed, and special educators may be overwhelmed.  In this blog, we will discuss:

How to expedite a special education evaluation
Why and how to improve an IEP
Why more may be necessary to have your child reach his or her potential.

Note, many public and charter schools have invested in dyslexia treatments. This will help student’s reading fluency, but it often does not significantly improve reading comprehension.

We have had parents who asked their child’s school to evaluate their child for special education services.  We have heard many excuses, with the most common being, we need to complete the RTI or Response to Intervention Process first — some schools now refer to this as MTSS, or Multi-tiered System of Support.

This is not acceptable.  Back in 2011, Dr. Melody Musgrove, the Federal Director of the Office of Special Education Programs, developed a policy that “RTI Cannot Be Used to Delay or Deny an Evaluation”.  Click on this link and you will get a more in-depth discussion of this issue, a copy of Dr. Musgrove’s letter.  RTI Cannot Be Used to Delay or Deny an Evaluation “.  Here is a link to a sample letter you can tailor to your situation. We have used this hundreds of times and it works virtually every time.  Mary used this note and made sure to give her informed consent for an evaluation.  It was approved 1 week later, the evaluation was completed, and an IEP was developed within 60 days.  It is doable.

Most Individualized Education Plans or IEPs we read anger us.  There has been a trend to focus on reading fluency, how well a student reads out loud, and even when there are reading comprehension goals, they rarely close the gap.

Let’s take the case of Alex.  He was a 6th grader.  His IEP said he was reading at the 5th grade level.  His homework, which should have been taking an hour, was now taking 3 hours and sometimes more.

When we assessed his reading comprehension, we found his reading comprehension was at the 3rd grade level.  For comprehension, his goal was to answer who, what, where, why and how questions correctly 4 out of 5 times at his independent reading level.  

Mom asked for an interim IEP meeting and asked the school to evaluate his reading fluency and his reading comprehension.  The school assessment showed his reading fluency and reading comprehension were at the 5th and 3rd grade levels respectively.  Mom got an interim IEP and they adjusted his reading comprehension goal to make 1.5 grade level improvement in a year.  


For The Right Brain Kinesthetic Learner, Schools Rarely Address 5 Key Issues 

While reading fluency has gotten a great deal of attention with the focus on dyslexia, 3 issues that are often not addressed in a comprehensive way include:

  • Reading comprehension.  Note, if a student is 3 years below grade level and over the next year they improve their reading comprehension 1.5 grade levels, they will still be 2.5 years below grade level.
  • Vocabulary.  The right brain kinesthetic learner often does not master vocabulary the way schools teach.  Looking up the definition, writing the word and using flash cards to master the words rarely helps the right brain kinesthetic learner.
  • Executive function issues are often identified but not addressed.  We have seen students who have IEPs for years where.
    • Attention continues to be a major issue
    • They have an excellent visual memory, but have great difficulty remembering what they hear or read
    • They read very slowly
  • Visual processing issues often get worse as the words get smaller.  This may result in skipping words and lines when reading, making careless mistakes in math and having difficulty copying off the board.
  • Too often the right brain kinesthetic learners are both frustrated and anxious. 


At 3D Learner, our goals often include:

  • Targeted efforts to improve reading fluency, based on the specific needs of a student.
  • Improving reading comprehension by 2, 3 and even 4 grade levels within 4 to 6 months.
  • Significantly improving vocabulary, first with a focus on the small words that often confuse a right brain kinesthetic learner.
  • Identifying and addressing the relevant executive function and/or visual processing issues.
  • Lowering anxiety and frustration, while boosting self-confidence.

If we can help in any way, call us at 561-361-7495 or click here to
schedule a conversation.

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