DR was upset over difficulties getting accommodations on testing for her daughter. She asks:
Can you tell me how to deal with the school system about testing and accommodations?
My daughter is a junior with dyslexia and will soon be taking her 1st SAT.
I have continually asked about scheduling her re-exams for the last 2 years. The answer is always the same, “Don’t worry, we have plenty of time.” There’s always a big back log and kids who do poorly will probably be tested first! It doesn’t matter that my kid busts her butt & stays up all hours to make a 3.35 GPA and takes Advanced & Honors classes because she wants a good education!
Sorry, I didn’t mean to vent.
To be considered for accommodations for college placement exams, students should be tested for disabilities and fall within a 4 year grace period prior to taking college boards.
My daughter will not have her needs met for her PSAT in 3 weeks and by the looks of things she won’t have them later for SATs either!
We all need to vent sometimes. But take a step back, calm down, don’t do it with the school.
Dealing with Schools
Have you been writing short polite letters that document what the school people are telling you, to express your concerns, to ask when XYZ will happen, to make requests for services and/or evaluations?
(If you have our Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy book, you will find sample letters in the two chapters about letter writing).
Writing letters to document these issues is extremely important for several reasons.
- First, writing letters that document what the school agreed to do makes it far more likely that they will do it. Your request / concern won’t fall off the radar screen. Many parents find that when they begin to put their concerns and requests in writing, things begin to move in a more positive direction and obstacles disappear. School people are dealing with scores of kids and their families every day – they often forget what they agreed to do unless it is in writing.
- Second, when you put your concerns and requests in writing, you are creating a paper trail in the event that you have to go up the administrative chain of command, file a complaint, etc. Your letters should be polite and succinct. (again, see the sample letters in the book)
- Third, you can use letters to make friends and thank people for their help. This makes it far more likely that they will help your daughter later, when she needs their help again.
Taking the right steps is more important than acting quickly because you are feeling a sense of urgency.
Help! Crisis Management
Sounds like from your tone you are getting close to a crisis point.
Before you do anything else, read Crisis Management – Step by step. https://www.wrightslaw.com/advoc/articles/Crisis.html
When I was in your shoes when my daughter was in high school, I got a comprehensive psycho-educational evaluation of her from an expert in adolescent psychology in the private sector.
Look for an evaluator who has expertise in language learning disabilities like dyslexia. It is unlikely that you will find an evaluator with this expertise working in the public school system.
Your daughter needs a good comprehensive evaluation for several reasons (and it may need to be more recent than 4 years old). The evaluation will be a roadmap as she makes decisions about her future (in addition to getting accommodations on testing now).
To find an evaluators with this expertise, look at your State Yellow Pages for Kids www.yellowpagesforkids.com
Also, contact the International Dyslexia Association or your state branch of IDA for their recommended evaluators in your area. www.eida.org
Most dyslexics are extremely bright and hard working.
They internalize their feelings about learning differently. This can cause big problems but that’s another issue.