When my child entered special education, he was in the 2nd grade. His reading grade level was 1.3. He is now in the 5th grade. After 30 months of special education, his reading grade level is 2.3.
Since he entered special education, he has fallen further behind.
Our special education supervisor attended the last IEP meeting because I refused to sign the IEP. She said our school district recently purchased the Wilson Reading System to use in resource classes in our district. Wilson is a great system – it’s based on the Orton-Gillingham principles of remediating dyslexic children.
I was encouraged
by this - until I discovered that Paul's teacher has not had any training in how to use the Wilson program.
I requested additional time to review the IEP and did not sign it. We agreed to meet again in two weeks. Should I sign the IEP and be grateful for two days of Wilson? I am tired of fighting with them. I feel like giving up but my son is too important.
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culture often prevents school staff from realizing that sometimes,
parents really do know what their children need. Teachers who need training in research based programs often do not get support from their administrators so they do not get the training they need.
Your Game Plan
Get a Private Sector Evaluation
To get your son the help he needs, you need to have an independent expert evaluate your child. The evaluator should attend the IEP meeting to explain that your child needs a reading program that is “structured, systematic, sequential, repetitive and phonologically based,” and needs to be taught be a teacher who is trained in this method. Most IEP teams give outside experts credit for knowing what children need.
Your independent expert should be a child psychologist or educational diagnostician who specializes in reading disorders. To find an expert who understands the educational needs of children with dyslexia and other language learning disabilities, go to our Reading Library and scroll down to the Database of Service Providers.
Strategy: Use No Child Left Behind
You can use the No Child Left Behind Act to support your position. The law requires school districts and schools to use "effective research based reading remediation programs so all children are reading at grade level by the end of third grade." (emphasis added)
Strategy: Dealing with Resistance
Unfortunately, your experience with the resistant teacher is not unusual.
The teacher may not know how to implement any other reading program or method. If this is the problem, you need to know this.
Straight Talk About Reading: How Parents Can Make a Difference During the Early Years by Susan Hall, Louisa Moats, and Reid Lyon
Parenting a Struggling Reader by Susan Hall and Louisa Moats
Dyslexia: A New and Complete Science-Based Program for Overcoming Reading
Problems at Any Level by M.D. Sally Shaywitz (Author)
Dyslexia: Theory & Practice of Remedial Instruction by Diana Brewster Clark and Johanna Kellogg Uhry
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Update from Kate
Thanks for your advice. I contacted organizations that could recommend evaluators who understand the needs of dyslexic children. Paul was screened at a school in Seattle that uses the Slingerland Method of Instruction. Slingerland is one of the organizations I called about recommendations for an independent evaluation.
I also called every resource teacher in our district to find out what methods they use to teach dyslexic children. It is up to the teacher to decide what method to use so most of them use different methods or an "eclectic" method which seems to be "a little of this and a little of that."
I had some success. One school uses Slingerland for their resource students. Another school uses the Wilson Reading System. I will try to move my son to another school if I cannot resolve the IEP issue.
I have done a great deal of reading on your web site.
am trying writing letters and notes to maintain a good paper trail.
I hope we will be able to resolve these issues, but I want to be prepared if we cannot.