My son has learning disabilities and an IQ of 56. He will be in the 6th grade and is reading at a 1.6 level. He should be reading at a 3rd grade level. I’ve requested help and all the school will say is that he is making progress. How can I get the school to teach him to read?
You are on the right track, but you do not have enough information and I am not the person the ask.
First: You need to be sure that the IQ test used was an appropriate one.
Some rely more on verbal abilities than others and sometimes that makes a big difference in the score achieved. You need to rule out that the 56 is not a measurement of the learning disability, rather than cognitive ability. A language disability or an auditory processing problem may need to be ruled out. Second…
Second: The full scale IQ score is not helpful in the case of a learning disability. You need to have the subtest scores, and thorough recommendations.
Third: It is extremely helpful to have a private sector evaluator state findings, and make recommendations for educational programming.
How to Find a Good Evaluator
Your state branch of the International Dyslexia Association may be able to give you the names of good evaluators in your area. Talk to someone on the board of the state branch.
There is a list of evaluators online, but all evaluators are NOT created equal.
Then call special education attorneys who represent parents, and advocates, in your state and ask them for the names of good evaluators. You will find lists here: http://www.yellowpagesforkids.com/ and here http://copaa.org/find/index.php.
Call the private special ed schools in your area that take students with learning disabilities and ask them for the names of good evaluators.
You will start to hear the same few names repeated. Choose from these. The best evaluator for the job may not be one that takes insurance.
Appropriate Reading Programs
The appropriate reading program for one student with a learning disabilities can be a poor choice for another student with learning disabilities. Ask the evaluator to name some appropriate programs. The evaluator is the best person to recommend programming and to comment on particular approaches that would not be appropriate for a particular child. The school is not required to use programs named by an evaluator, but if you hire a known expert, they would be foolish not to consider the expert’s recommendations for programming.
Understanding Your Child’s Test Scores
Also read this to be sure you understand the tests that have already been done http://wrightslaw.com/advoc/articles/tests_measurements.html .
The Legal Definition of Reading
Your son’s reading instruction so far may not have been complete. This is the legal definition of essential component of reading instruction:
The term ‘essential components of reading instruction’ means explicit and systematic instruction in-
(A) phonemic awareness;
(C) vocabulary development;
(D) reading fluency, including oral reading skills; and
(E) reading comprehension strategies.
It is also important to know if the IQ has dropped over time. This sometimes happens with inadequate instruction. The private sector evaluator should ask you for copies of all previous testing so that he/she can analyze and report on increases or decreases in skills over time.