Tips for Helping your Student or Child with Dyslexia and Learning Disabilities

dyslexia help

In our last blog post, we looked at what is Dyslexia. Now, having many decades dealing with this and getting through school, even college, graduate, and postgraduate school, as well as teaching students with learning disabilities, I picked up a few things that really work.

Some of the key symptoms of dyslexia are learning very slowly to read, even in the first grade or more. Sometimes there is a speech impediment, as they often go together. You may get a note from a frustrated teacher, as many are not always trained to deal with it.  Many students find it very difficult to spell and write, a problem called ‘dysgraphia.’ But, this is not the sad end!

If you try to teach us to read, you need a lot of patience and we need to learn how to read. We will make the same mistakes over and over and not realize it. We may hate reading. And, spell things very creatively; so, what we write is nothing like what is meant.

Parents and teachers, be Patient! This a neurological issue and they can’t help it. They are not seeking to ruin your day or screw up at school. Allow them more time to get something when they are struggling. Sit with your student or child at times during homework or homeschool. Answer their questions and offer help with a good attitude. If you are the one struggling with this, it is OK, you will get it, just allow your brain the time to process. A brain with dyslexia is like a super-fast computer with too little RAM, or a high-performance engine with a clogged air filter. You can do this.

Keep this in mind, most people with dyslexia are not lazy and are very intelligent and can even see beyond what others can. Thus, when they get a handle on it, they will be able to excel in just about anything, including being published authors, teachers, lawyers, doctors, movie makers, and scientists. We usually do not make good editors though.

After Reading Efficiency assessments like (TOWRE-2) or (WIAT-III), you may be referred to Psychologists, Special Ed Teachers, Reading and Learning Specialists, and or a speech-language pathologist. But, beware of any visual therapy. These have not been proven and may even be harmful and are very expensive. Take advantage of whatever you can get. However, from my research and experience, the best help is below.

The Most Helpful Tips for Helping Students with Dyslexia and Learning Disabilities

  • First off, think Positivebelieve in and affirm your student. A negative attitude will get you just that, negative grades while a positive attitude will be the grease that helps the engine move.
  • It is OK to go slow. A good school should modify the curriculum or provide an IEP or 504, but what is really needed is some extra one on one help. Budget the time, set some attainable benchmarks and goals. This will be hard work, but you all can do it!
  •  For younger kids, read to them every day! Use Phonics! As you read, sound out the words and tell them what they mean. Tell a story for bigger words. Break bigger words into chunks.Connect letters with sounds, break up words into syllables and sounds, and blend them into words. Ask them to take a picture of the word in their mind, so they visualize and connect a story with the words. Read a lot of rhyming books and make Dr. Seuss your best friend. Then as they learn how to read, have them read those same books first, and do so out loud. When they get older get a whiteboard or blackboard and have them practice big, the bigger the word the easier to comprehend.
  • Focus on vocabulary! Learn words and then it is easier to recognize them. Make and use flashcards, practice a few times and then go over them again a week later. You can also read them into a voice recorder and play them back as you read them. Do this on a treadmill or walking and you will pick them up faster than you think.

Key tip: For all students with books, the best, simplest solution that worked for me and just about everyone I ever taught is this: Have them use their index finger under the words and go at a reasonable pace. Or cut a slit in the middle of a 3*5 index card to follow the words like a “viewfinder” or use a ruler under the sentence. And cover up the rest that you are not reading with colored construction paper.

  • For a computer screen or worksheet with a lot of words and curriculum, even math, use colored construction paper as a placeholder with some kind of clip or reusable tape for a screen, especially to underscore the line of the sentence. It is very important to cover any text and images that you have not read yet and have already read, so the brain does not get overwhelmed. Like a racehorse with side blinders or “blinkers.” This helps focus the eyes and not be distracted or overwhelmed.
  • Work slow, careful and smart, not fast and sloppy. Allow time to think and process, and this will wear them out. Thus, when they are frustrated or tired, take a break.
  • Classical music or “Wholetones” playing softly in the background or any music that is not distracting can be a help too.

Key tip: For older students, Junior High and above, have them read their material as above out loud into a voice recorder. Then, play it back. And for studying, record notes and the things that need to be learned and playback while driving, or at the mall, or anywhere, with a “smartphone.” This works great, especially in High School and College. As they can do this with any notes, study material, information, even terms and words for science or a foreign language, or math formulas. Write what needs to be memorized on index cards like vocabulary, terms and do as above while taking a walk. This is one of the best ways to study! You are using all four main learning parameters, auditory, visual, read/write, and kinesthetic (movement).

  • You can also you an app like “Prizmo Go Instant Text Capture” or “Darwin Reader,” or Scanpen,” or any app that is an “OCR” that takes a picture of the text and then reads it audibly for you. Then follow the voice from the app as you read.
  • There are some other great tech helps out too. The “Livescribe SmartPen” will remember what you write and will place text into the computer or smartphone. Voice recognition software can be your best friend, as well as apps like “Eye Tracker,” “Natural Reading,” “Advanced Reading Therapy” and “Comprehension Therapy.” For writing, there is “Ginger” and “Snaptype” helps students to fill out on workbooks and worksheets. In practice, there are “Eggy Phonics,” “Dyslexia Quest,” and “Biteboard.”
  • Audiobooks are awesome for us! Check your local libraries and reading services. Listen to the audiobook and read the text using the above methods. You may have to stop and start a lot until you pick up speed.

For teachers,

  • Have them sit toward the front of the class. It helps with attention and concentration, especially in large classes and lecture forums. It is too hard and overwhelming to copy what is written on a blackboard or whiteboard or listen to a lecture and copy text. Please give out a handout instead.
  • Allow extra time to take tests and answering questions. If they can’t take the regular test, do it orally with them instead. Students with dyslexia take longer to process and can’t be held to the same standards as normal functioning students.
  • If this will not embarrass the student, you can provide noise-canceling headphones to block out audio distractions. Or provide a quiet space, like a cubical.
  • Remember, good posture, if the concentration slips, have them crouch forward andit will increase your concentration. And, stretch often!
  • Play the games “hangman,” “Password,” “Crossword Puzzles,” “UpWords,” “Scrabble,” and sound matching games, like what starts with R? And use “phonics” curriculums for below grade three. As they learn to write, place your hand over theirs and guide them with gentleness.
  • Go Large with Praise! Any child needs approval and to feel safe and loved. Give them praise for work when it is done, and when they accomplished something. Have celebrations and rewards too. When you provide a stable, happy home and class, they have a safe place and will be better at learning.

 

When you help a person with a learning disability, they will have the tools needed to succeed, not only in school, also socially, and into adulthood and their professional life too.  In fact, in my opinion, who is dyslexic and a published author with a Ph.D., this is not a disability at all; rather, an opportunity. Our minds just work differently.

LEARN MORE ABOUT METHOD HOME

For a school that has a curriculum that is intuitive with great trained and considerate teachers, and has helped my son and can help you and your child’s success, look here: http://www.methodschools.org/

Part one is here: https://www.methodschools.org/blog/what-is-dyslexia

Dr. Richard Krejcir is an Author, Researcher and the Director of a nonprofit that does educational training in third-world countries. He is also a Homeschool Coordinator at Method Schools and an instructor in a STEM program and a father of a son with autism. He holds a BA from SJSU, an MA; MDiv, from Fuller and a PH.D., from London. He has over 30 years of experience working with students with learning disabilities. Including, overcoming severe Dyslexia himself. He has the tool to help your student succeed!

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What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia

According to science and my experiences having dyslexia, reading is hard and complex. Our eyes perceive images that connect to the brain to decipher these images. Then, they are computed and compared to recognized learned patterns of letters and languages positioned into the right order. Then, we have to place the words in an organized direction as we read and then comprehend it all. Now comes dyslexia, where a neurological disorder causes us to have trouble corresponding those images. A mismatch occurs almost like an optical illusion, when letters or numbers are present. As the normal process is short-circuited, as we read letters and the infinite variations and try to place a reason behind them. Then, this flurry of words needs to be sorted into words and then into sentences. Since, what we perceive becomes jumbled up. Basically, it is just harder for us to do this, and takes longer frustrating parents, teachers and ourselves.

Dyslexia according to research, affects up to 20% of students and covers over 80% of learning disabilities. The cause is unknown, perhaps genetic. This is a neurological disorder, it has nothing to do with the desire to or not to learn how to read nor is it a bearing on your parenting or the teacher’s abilities. And to put away any scams out there, it can’t be cured; however, it can be managed and even turned into an asset.

What to look for

If you suspect your child either can’t learn to read or is having trouble writing words correctly or consistently, or is a “slow learner,” or becoming very behind, then this is the time to have them assessed. Talk to your pediatrician and get referrals. There are many programs, many are free. In California, we have the “Regional Centers.” Be proactive and see what eligible services your school or district or state can do. In Method Schools, our customizable curriculum and tutoring will automatically help your child in school and a few helps I will list in the next blog post will make their home and educational journey a winner.

Dyslexic children and adults will struggle to read effortlessly, will not be able to spell simple words and struggle or learn a second language, but it is possible. Ironically, people with dyslexia manage to become some of the best authors as they see more in words even when we can’t see the words well. As we are visual and creative thinkers with above average reasonability, and images are our friends. And we can learn to explain the image to tell a better story like Agatha Christie who had dyslexia as does Dav Pilkey, Stephen J. Cannell, Rick Riordan and Steven Spielberg. We are not alone, so has John Lennon, Ludwig van Beethoven, Steve Jobs, Jay Leno, Whoopi Goldberg, Keanu Reeves, Richard Branson, Pablo Picasso, Magic Johnson, Mohammed Ali, Henry Winkler, Lewis Carroll, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Graham Bell, John F. Kennedy, Thomas Edison, Walt Disney, Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, and George Washington to name a few who struggled with dyslexia. So, if your child has it, they are in good company.

What is Dyslexia Like?

I had a student tell me once, “when I read something, it is like looking through a kaleidoscope.” As we read, we see letters as backward, inside out and or upside down and or bunched together. So, instead of cat, we get tac, or atc or tca or x%z. They can even appear completely backward. Sometimes, we can’t describe what we see, it looks like, well just a mess. And, the text will seem to appear to jump around on us. It is annoying.

As we read we can get sick, and we are not faking it. This will have tired us out, cause headaches, stomachaches, and nervousness.  We have a hard time distinguishing letters that look alike, like, b and d or p and q, or w and v, or an o and c and e, or an S and a 5 and so forth. We also have a hard time to connect the sound of the letter to the letter, like saying L or W. Sometimes we can’t even understand them.

We Can Do It! 

Dyslexia is a disability and it is not! It is a learning difference! Your child is much brighter than average, perhaps a genius. But wait, there is more. This is not the end, but a bright beginning. They will succeed with your help, and can be a university professor or a doctor or, well, there is no limit, when they get a handle on it.  Well, you can skip the spelling bee. The key is your nurture and willingness to work at it and get them the help they need. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

For a school that has a curriculum that is intuitive with great considerate teachers, and has helped my son and can help you and your child’s success, look here:

 

LEARN MORE ABOUT METHOD HOME

 

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10 Productive Activities to Keep Your Child Busy During Winter and Summer Break

happy_family_front_house_small

It is just two weeks away! The dreaded, for us parents that is, winter break. The happiest time of the year, for kids (besides summer, that is). Two weeks of empty air time, scrambling to find sitters and finding something to keep them busy. So, what to do, what to do? Turn on Sponge Chris Round Pants, or whatever the annoying sea sponge is called, and go to work. Well, are there better ideas? Yes! Keep in mind your child’s mind, it needs to stay active. We can turn that dread into action and adventure for the whole family, ensuring their minds stay sharp in the process.

  1.  Read. Take them to the library on the first day of break and have them pick out a book or two. Make it a goal for them to finish them before break is over. Research shows, as well as, educators recommend, 20 to 30 minutes each day. To extend that time, have them pick up some fun books too. My son likes the Star Wars Encyclopedias.
  2. Learning Games. Educational games such as Brain Trainer, Rush Hour and Funbrain are a fun way for your child to learn something new. You can even download apps on your phone or tablet for them to enjoy. MathPlayground.comEducation.com, and learninggamesforkids.com are good places to go as well as your app store.
  3. Make Cards. It’s the holiday season, so make some festive cards! Get some arts and crafts supplies and spend some time decorating and writing notes to your friends and family. This is a creative way for your child to spread some holiday cheer!
  4. Day at the Museum. Take them on an adventure to the Zoo, Arboretum, aquarium or a museum. Most of these attractions offer fun and interactive displays for your child to participate in. Just do a Google search of museums in your city, many have discount and free days too.
  5. Learn a Musical Instrument. From Guitar Hero to instructional YouTube videos on how to play the piano, it is easier than ever to learn. You do not need expensive lessons, unless they want to progress. Music does wonders on the brain!
  6. Cook it Up! Try to bake some cookies and move up to a cake. But do not use a mix, do it from scratch. It is more fun and the measuring process of baking is beneficial for mathematical skills. Explore some recipes and decide what to create, shop for the ingredients and bake away!
  7. Park It. Get out, and enjoy the Southern California weather, even go to the beach, while the rest of the country is frozen over.
  8. Be Active. Try to get out and try new things, like bowling, hikes, dancing and biking. Get active!
  9. Be a Creator. There are always LEGO’s and Crayons, and you can go to an art store and get ideas. Check out these three websites and be creative, makerspaces.com/makerspace-ideas/learningliftoff.com and teachkidsengineering.com.
  10. Explore your City! Your city, like Pasadena, may have lots of activities to be involved in, which many are of low cost and fun, https://apm.activecommunities.com/cityofpasadena/Activity_Search, if not check out the YMCA, ymcala.org.

The holidays do not have to be a time of dread and stress, they can be family fun and a learning adventure if you are willing to invest some time and go for it. Remember to keep positive and be a nurturer and inspirer to your child. And some parenting advice, keep some structure going, like bedtimes, meal times and such, Kids may say they do not want it, but they greatly need structure. Just ease it a bit during breaks

 

For a school that can help you and your child’s success and help you create a supportive learning environment, look here: methodschools.org

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12 Tips for Helping Your Child Succeed in a Homeschool

Mixed race grandfather helping grandson do homework

As a parent, you have embarked on perhaps your most important role ever, nurturing your child to become a great adult. With a goal that they have character, are an impact on society. You also what them to be happy and make you feel proud. Yet, there are so many obstacles we face to derail this. Such as an irrelevant immoral society, feelings of hopelessness in the teen years, schools who do not care or help and pressures from the family who do not understand.

At Method Schools, we are here to help, by providing caring, quality teachers who work with you and a curriculum that is intuitive and is personally geared to each student’s learning level.

So,  you have a school that works and really cares for its student to be the best that they can be. But what are we to do as parents? Here are 12 tips based on my own experience, and in working with other homeschool families:

1. Be their Encourager! Help them feel comfortable and in a positive environment. Do not be negative, judgmental, or overreact or put them down when they fall behind or make mistakes. Rather, be optimistic and motivated for them to succeed.

2. Work Together! Let your child know “we” are a team. With your their input, brainstorm ways to do better when things are not going well. Let your child be a part of this, so they take ownership. Give them constructive statements such as, “I see that things did not go so well, let’s brainstorm some ways we can do differently next time.

3. Stay Positive and Believe in your child. Make a positive note and put in on their laptop or a book, think about and say what is helpful, and unique about your child. Inspire your child to learn, change, mature, and succeed.

4. Help your Child Eat Right. Whole grains, lean meats, fresh vegetables, no soda; rather, lots of water or green tea with honey. Stay away from sugar and processed foods as much as possible.

5. Encourage Sleep. Bedtime is 9 pm or when you make it and wake-up time is 7 am or when you make it. Young minds need 10 hours of sleep!

6. Establish a Structure. When will they start their work or log on, how much will be done for that day? When is dinner or homework and when is it lunch for homeschool, when is it break time, extracurricular activities and such? Let them earn game, phone, and TV time.

7. Set, Clear Expectations. Ones that are reasonable for your child’s learning process. Work with your teacher on this. School is needed for a great life and for them to be a healthy vibrant adult. As early bad habits and bad school experiences can lead to poor life choices that can lead to an unhappy and dysfunctional life.

8. Communicate with their teacher. Some schools have one overwhelmed teacher and thirty-five students per class, no aids or help. While Method Schools have an 8 to 1 student to teacher ratio. So, with most schools, you must be very proactive and encourage their teacher not be their antagonist.

9. Take Breaks. For homework or homeschool, have them exercise like jumping jacks, jump squats, jump rope,run in the park or backyard.

10. Set Goals. You do this amount of work this week then we will go to…. (Movie, TV time, game time…)

11. Have them in Extracurricular Activities like sports, music, church, community service, Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts; 4H, and so forth. My son does Music, Karate and Boy Scouts.

And the last tip (Bonus #12), do not sweat the small stuff, kids are kids. Remember, you were one too. So, remember what it was like and be willing to make some concessions. If they did not get what they were supposed to do, then it falls on the next day. If a chore is left undone no big deal, they will do it the next day. Do not be a perfectionist or create an argumentative home, you will only be disappointed and frustrate your child.

LEARN MORE ABOUT METHOD HOME

https://www.methodschools.org

 

 

 

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Tips For Helping Your Child With ADHD

Helping Child With ADHD

First off, although officially categorized as a “disability,” having ADD or ADHD or other learning disability, is not a time to panic and think doom and gloom. In fact, in my opinion, who has ADHD and Dyslexia and a Ph.D., this is not a disability at all; rather, an opportunity. Our minds just work differently.

Basically, ADHD (Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) is a “developmental disorder,” that the Americans With Disabilities Act has classified as a disability. This is about getting the needed accommodation and services in a school or state program. And if there is no help or intervention, yes, this will turn into a lifelong disability. It can even be used as an excuse to do nothing with one’s life, even to venture into bad realms like drugs. However, with good intervention, will turn your child into a fully engaged successful person in school, home and in life. Then any career they have an interest in.

If you suspect your child does not get basic school work, is becoming very behind, or a note from a frustrated teacher, then this is the time to have them assessed. Talk to your pediatrician and get referrals. There are many programs, many free. In California, we have the “Regional Centers.” Be proactive and see what eligible services your school or district or state can do. In Method Schools, our customizable curriculum and tutoring will automatically help your child in school and a few helps I list below will make their home and educational journey a winner.

Be positive and committed to a supportive learning environment

Your child will frustrate you and most teachers. However, when you exercise patience, and more caring involvement you will create a better environment. In those times, try different ways to know a subject, one of those ways will work. The ADHD mind is hyperactive, like a V8 engine firing 12 cylinders in a small car, or an overclocked computer. As you explain something, or a teacher is lecturing, their mind is all over the place, unless they are interested. Why they can spend hours on gaming and 15 minutes on homework. Try to put yourself in their shoes, like to think of a time when you were overwhelmed or did not understand something, that is your child all of the time. So, compassion will go a long way.

Seek medical intervention

Talk to your pediatrician and get referrals to any specialists, such as, my son sees a Neurologist and a Behaviorist. I fought two years not to have my son medicated, trying to protect him. When he was out of control, we finally complied to a low dose medication and this turned our child around for the better.

Be patient

Many times, this a neurological issue and they can’t help it. They are not seeking to ruin your day or screw up at school. Allow them more time for your child to get something when they are struggling. Sit with your child at times during homework or homeschool. Answer their questions and offer help with a good attitude.

A focusing tip…

A simple help ADHD is to have them use their index finger to track words as they read. Use a primary colored construction paper as a placeholder to see just one section of a worksheet or a computer screen at a time so they do not get overwhelmed. Show videos, learning apps, try different ways to explain something without being frustrated. When you are frustrated, take a break.

Be generous with praise

A child needs approval and to feel safe and loved. Give them praise for work when it is done, and when they accomplished something. Have celebrations and rewards too. When you provide a stable, happy home, they have a safe place and will be better at learning.

Structure is Very Important

Most children need a routine, bedtimes, mealtimes, getting ready in the morning, and this is especially true for ADHD. Set clear expectations and be consistent. Simplify as much as possible, like to have clothes laid out the night before, bath or showers at night before bed, which also helps relax them. Time things out and get them a watch to help them keep track of their time.

Build on your child’s strengths

Find out what they are interested in and use that as an outlet, something to look forward to, like gaming, LEGO’s, art, sports, collecting bugs or whatever rocks their world. And, more time in their passion zone, as earned time when they do well or finish a section of work. So, time in this as an extracurricular activity and more time is earned for a visit to a museum of bugs as a reward. You can make an easy chart, and mark their success on it and have an agreement, then there is a bonus. My son is earning a trip to a local LEGO convention.

Keep your child busy

But not too busy. As their minds are all over the place, so are their bodies. They need exercise outlets like sports, martial arts, as well as music and art lessons to stretch the mind and so forth.

Timeout

Not for discipline; rather, a place they can go when overwhelmed that is quite and they can decompress. We use a large beanbag chair designed for kids with autism.

Don’t forget to get help, even if they are doing well

When you get them the help they need will have the tools needed to succeed, not only in school, also socially, and into adulthood and their professional life too.

ADHD is a disability and it is not! Your child is much brighter than average, perhaps a genius. Yet, they will be easily distracted, have a very short attention span, are unable to focus, will be hyperactive, fearful to try new things, impulsive, not very coordinated, not good at making friends, and will embarrass you as well as drive you crazy. But wait – there is more…

They will succeed with your help, and can be a university professor or a doctor or a lawyer or, well, there is no limit, when they get a handle on it.  The key is your nurture and willingness to work at it and get them the help they need. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Hang on, you can do this! My single mother in an era when there was no help did so with me and my brother. We both are ADHD, me with learning disabilities and my brother with Asperger’s. Now, I am working with and homeschooling my son with Asperger’s.

More resources for help:

http://www.dds.ca.gov/RC/RCList.cfm

http://www.chadd.org/

https://www.helpguide.org/home-pages/add-adhd.htm

https://www.additudemag.com/

 

For a school that can help you and your child’s success look here: http://www.methodschools.org/

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Why Won’t our Public School Help my Child?

schoolboy crying on the street

Have you had a child get behind in school and tried to get them help? And you were just shot down? Have you ever dealt with a bullying problem, and the school refused to help? Your child is not understanding the work, but they will not intervene until they are two years behind? Maybe, it is the two to three hours of homework each night while class time is spent dealing with behavior issues. Possibly they are teaching to the standardized test and not the curriculum and special projects. Perhaps, you have a special needs child and they are lost in the wind there. Maybe you are dealing with an insufficient teacher that the administration loves but not anyone else?

There seems to be a systemic problem in some schools, even at the district levels refusing to help our children. Why is that?

Maybe, you are lucky and see none of this where you are, fantastic. But, I am sure you have friends dealing with this. Why? Sometimes, it is a lack of funding and other times it is a lack of purpose. Mostly, it is a lack of effective implementation.

As a parent with a special needs child, I have been doing all-out battle with our school district, and for a couple years at a private school too. They do have some great teachers, but shockingly, there is no plan or even a mindset to offer any help to mine or any other child who is not in the mainstream. I am not in a small-town school, in fact, we live in one of the biggest districts there is. It is massive. It is like a factory where the management occupies over half of the positions and the workers, as in teachers, occupy less than half. Management and various bosses are seemingly doing nothing but micromanaging, while the workers are overwhelmed and do not have the resources, training and effective oversight to do their job well.

Yet, the primary and only point people who are geared to do the actual work of teaching are the teachers. And in the state I am in, the ratio is 32-1, about one teacher for every thirty-two plus kids. My son’s previous class was one to thirty-five. The two schools he was previously enrolled with have no aids, available IEP’s, a 504 plan, or Special Ed programs. Their “tutoring” was done by the older kids and proved to be totally ineffective. What is offered is called centralizing services, which is mainstreaming all students into the same classes for budgeting reasons, while research shows that does not work. The teachers are overwhelmed and can’t possibly help our children, no matter how good they are. They just can’t do it all.

And it gets worse. The vast majority of the funding is massively mismanaged going to way too many overpriced administers and pointless projects that do nothing or offer any real educational value to help our students.

They just push reports to one another, as I found out. When there is a bullying issue that affects their numbers and reputation, they bury it. So, there is seemingly no problem. When there is a special needs student they see a money pit. There are no resources for if a child gets behind, thus, they ignore the problem. They may even let you know, you are not welcome there. They may claim that they do not have the facilities or funding to accommodate your child and that you may be better off elsewhere. The principle of the school my son previously attended, who I considered a friend and even coached her son in soccer, told me they can’t accommodate him. This was coming from a public school! Now, my son just needed some extra help, not expensive services. This administrator, like so many, was determined to get rid as many students that would lower the school test scores as possible. That principle’s reward for the effort? A good school rating. It is not a good school! Five years later, the local newspaper reported that this school was closing.

Why such a reaction? From their perspective, there are some good reasons why they will not help students.

It can cost $20,000 to over $60,000 a year in educational expenses. This covers specialists, assessments and speech therapy, and even covers medical expenses for any specialized services. They can accommodate some, but not all in the budgets the districts allocate to each school.  The costs of these services in California on average is $10,467 per student. However, the schools still must provide the services when needed. So, they will drag their feet, take months to assess, lose paperwork, will not call you back or monitor the situation. Hoping you will just go away. Sometimes, this has been going on for years, like in our case. It reached the point to where I had to get an attorney to fight them, which was ridiculous. In the process of my fight, I got a look under the murky hood of dysfunction and a total disregard of what education is all about.

Here is what you as a parent can do:

  • Leave, find the exit and walk as fast as you can out of the school and district. I wish I did this a lot sooner.
  • Consider a Charter School. Look for a good alternative school. Private is not affordable and many are not as good as a Charter School. The private school, we were in and so many others will not put any effort to help a student with special needs. Their teachers were not even credentialed or qualified. Consider this, a Charter School gets less funding, as it comes from the district they are “chartered to,” and they have more expenses like building rents, and still manage to have an average of a 15 to 1 student to teacher ratio. Method Schools has an 8 to 1. They are more teacher-focused not administer driven. They have qualified credentialed teachers who are not overwhelmed and frustrated or in burned out by oversized classes. They have a more of a commitment to handle student needs better. And a better handle on what education is supposed to be.
  • Move. Find a school district that is good and better equipped to help your child in their educational journey.
  • Homeschool. You can’t? There are many that have their credentialed teachers and curriculum do the teaching and the parent coaches, like Method Schools.
  • You like to fight? Then, hire a lawyer. There are ones who specialize in this field and will cut the time of months to years dealing with it this to a few days. However, the school may still refuse to comply and site no funding, which happened in our case.
  • Want to stay no matter what? Make it better yourself. Join the PTA, get to know the teacher, volunteer and be their advocate and help them out.

What can a school do?

  • What it is supposed to do, teach students first, help them, inspire them, awaken the joy and wonder and prepare them for life. Give them the help they need!
  • What not to do? Playing political games and use our children as pawns and conduct meaningless social science experiments.
  • Do not warehouse them and squash the potential just to collect a paycheck.

I do not want to sound overly harsh, but that is the reality of many school districts and the experiences of many parents and teachers I have talked to. Not all schools are like this and not most public charter schools, which are a great alternative. In fact, there would be no need for charter or private schools or even homeschooling if the public schools are doing their jobs right. But, since they seem to refuse to, then the American spirit will come up with a plan with alternatives.

For a school that has a curriculum that is intuitive with great trained and considerate teachers, and has helped my son and can help you and your child’s success, look here: methodschools.org

Stats from: http://www.governing.com/gov-data/education-data/state-education-spending-per-pupil-data.html   and http://www.ccsa.org/understanding/faqs/  (*$10,467 per student in 2015)

 

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