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Doing Your Homework:
Mom Needs Help - Son Cannot Read
by Suzanne Whitney, Research Editor, Wrightslaw

My son was diagnosed with several learning disabilities and has other issues as well. He is in a third grade regular education classroom. He has an IEP and receives extra help for speech, reading and math. Because the school recommended that he receive extra help for language, I take him to a tutor twice a week. (I pay for this).

The real problem is that my son cannot read. The teachers and principal at his school are wonderful. They want my son to have an aide during the day. The school board will not approve this. As a single mother of three children and a college student myself, I feel like I am being ignored. I do not know what to do or where to turn.

I need help from an advocacy group that can help me help my son. He will be in fourth grade soon, and is running out of time. Any information you have is greatly appreciated.

Sue's Advice
You are right, your son needs to learn to read. I don't think that an aide is the solution to his problem. Your son needs to be taught by a teacher who has specialized training in how to teach children with reading problems. Most aides do not have this training.

An advocate can help you work with the system, but the system you are in is clearly broken.

I think you should contact an attorney, not to initiate legal proceedings, but to develop a strategy to educate your school district about what is required of them under IDEA and to develop a plan to get an appropriate education for your son.

Attorneys and advocates often work together with parents to recommend strategies that result in an appropriate education for a child. You may need to talk to many people before you decide what to do and who to work with. You will need to continue to be the "manager" of your son's education plan, but you need to find people who can help you put a good plan into place.

People involved in education know how hard it is to get effective and timely services for children. Many will take the time to talk with you, even if they are not exactly who you need. They may point you to other people and resources that can help.

Keep calling and emailing people. Ask questions until you find the help you need to develop and implement a plan for your son's education. If you are persistent, you will find the help you need.

Keep a log of who you talk to and your conversations. Later, you may decide to re-contact some people you discounted at first. A record of your calls will be a good resource for you later on.

For more ideas, read Special Education Advocacy - Getting Started.

Here are links that will take you to people in your area who can help. Start here -

Oklahoma Disability Law Center
2915 Classen Blvd., Suite 300
Oklahoma City, OK 73106
Phone: (405) 525-7755
Toll- Free: (800) 880-7755 outside the Oklahoma City dialing zone
Fax: (405) 525-7759

Oklahoma Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities

Learning Disabilities Association (LDA) of Oklahoma
P.O. Box 1134
Jenks, OK 74037
(918) 298-1600; (800) 532-6365 (in OK)
Evie Lindberg 

International Dyslexia Association (IDA)
IDA provider directory in your area
Branches of the International Dyslexia Association

Take care,

Sue Whitney
Research Editor, Wrightslaw

Meet Sue Whitney

Sue Whitney of Manchester, New Hampshire, works with families as a special education advocate and is the research editor for Wrightslaw.

Doing Your Homework, Suzanne Whitney gives savvy advice about reading, research based instruction, and creative strategies for using education standards to advocate for children and to improve public schools.

Her articles have been reprinted by,,, The Beacon: Journal of Special Education Law and Practice, the Schafer Autism Report, and have been used in CLE presentations to attorneys.

Sue is the co-author of Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind (ISBN: 978-1-892320-12-4) that was published by Harbor House Law Press, Inc.

She also served on New Hampshire's Special Education State Advisory Committee on the Education of Students/Children with Disabilities (SAC).

Sue Whitney's bio.

Copyright © 2002-2022 by Suzanne Whitney.

Read more articles by Sue:

Getting Help for Children with Reading Problems

Research-Based Reading Instruction

Exit Exams Can Be Optional If You Plan Ahead

A Parent's Guide to No Child Left Behind

What Teachers, Principals & School Administrators Need to Know About NCLB

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