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Tests and Measurements. One must understand these test scores to identify a child's strengths as usually only their weaknesses are the focus of school reports.

Note: The Wright's Law site has lots of information on legal actions against schools. I want to make it clear that everyone loses when education dollars go for legal actions. It is always best to work within the system if at all possible!

If possible, open the lines of communication with the teacher before school starts. The more the teacher knows about a student's strengths and weaknesses the better they will be able to teach a child. Never assume the teacher knows of your child's IEP or 504 plans. You should contact each and provide copies of any IEP or modifications under 504. A brief cover letter listing your child's strengths, learning style and weakness can make all the difference. Being brief and concise is critical as this is a very busy time for teachers, if it is too long to read, it will do no good. A follow-up face-to-face or phone conference to discuss how the teacher plans to implement modifications is always a good idea.

Teachers generally want students to succeed. They can never know your children as well as you do in a non-school setting, just as you can never know how your child reacts to the school setting as well as the teacher. Liking or disliking the teacher is irrelevant! You must collaborate with them for the sake of your child. You should always provide the teacher contact information and make it clear you want notification of the first sign of problems. Never go over a teacher's head, go to them first and always include them in any correspondence with school or special education administration.

Another good idea is to have your child write his own story about his/her school experiences for the new teacher. Here again it should be brief, but still include what they consider their successes and failures, with their best and worst memory from school. This can be a hard sell to a dyslexic child but can offer the teacher an insight into the child's world the teacher may never get otherwise. It may help to explain to your child that this writing is to help teach the teacher. The thought of teaching the teacher can be an inspiration to a child.

Even when things do not go well, never complain about the teacher in front of the child, tell them we just need to help the teacher understand. Understand yourself that regular teachers usually have little training in dealing with different learners. They also usually have too many students are generally over worked and under paid. Compassion for the teacher and school's problems can bring compassion in return for your child. Always be supportive as possible, even if you disagree, the teacher sometimes needs to learn what is best for your child.

For Teachers

In conclusion, I would like to add a few things just for teachers. It is very important to understand just how much effort it takes for these kids to even show up at school. The effort these kids put into an assignment is often many times that of other students, even when their results are disappointing. Always praise their effort! Also, please be aware of the delicate balance between high expectations and allowing the student to experience success. Nothing breeds success, like success however, these are vary capable individuals that need mental challenges. This is especially true in their areas of strengths. They may learn differently but if engaged they can learn better than most. The only trick is to spark their interest, and then learning will happen. I would like to share a quote from my favorite Internet discussion boards at www.dyslexiatalk.com.

If learning did not happen, then teaching did not happen!

I do not say this to put down teachers. Teachers are different just like kids. When there is a mismatch, there is no shame in asking for help, or even asking for a new placement with a teacher that is a better match!

Only when parents and educators fail, do these children fail. We should all do our best to see that no one fails as we prepare to start the new school year!

A Dyslexic Child in the Classroom.


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