As parents, we all want our kids to thrive in all aspects of life. As we watch our children pave their paths to success - whichever path that may be - it’s our job to note any serious bumps in the road that they encounter. For 15-20% of the population, this road bump is a reading disability. From trying to get an IEP for dyslexia to ensuring that you child receives the proper accommodations, we at Jett Publishing are here to help you navigate the seemingly complicated road for getting your child an IEP for dyslexia. We’ll start with early warning signs for dyslexia, followed by diving in to what your options are as a parent for helping your child get the help they need.
Common Signs of Dyslexia
Think Your Child is Dyslexic? Know the Warning Signs
Some estimates say that about one in every five students have dyslexia. With a disability this prevalent, many would suspect that dyslexia is easy to spot and define. However, despite a great amount of research, dyslexia is often difficult to diagnosis because However, despite a great amount of research, dyslexia is often difficult to diagnosis because many individuals including teachers are not aware of dyslexia or how to identify it. Dyslexia can also range in degrees of severity. Because of the natural lack of individualized attention in many school settings, it’s your job as a parent to do your due diligence at home to see if your child may have a learning disability. If you suspect dyslexia may be a problem your child is facing, look for these common warning signs:
Difficulty pronouncing words
Difficulty with rhyming
Difficulty remembering and recalling alphabet, phone number, etc.
Reading and spelling errors
Difficulty connecting letters and sounds
Problems identifying sequences
If you notice any of these warning signs in your students, they may have dyslexia. The next step involved contacting your child’s school with your concerns. Before we get to that, however, we’re going to break down the laws that give you and your child the right to getting an IEP for dyslexia.
Legal Protections for Children with Reading Disabilities
IDEA Outlines the Conditions in which a Student is Eligible for Special Education
Passed in 1975, IDEA - or the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act - is a federal law mandating that schools serve the needs of eligible students with disabilities. There are 13 total conditions in which students are eligible for special education, including a SLD, or specific learning disability, which dyslexia falls under. Though every state has a different course of action for serving individuals with disabilities, it is consistent across the US that it is in a parent’s rights to request an evaluation for a reading disability.
Schools also do their part in defining whether or not a student may have a reading disability. In school, students receive some degree of screening tests for reading disabilities; depending on the school, the tests may be Predictive Assessment of Reading (PAR), Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS), Texas Primary Reading Inventory (TPRI), or AIMSweb screening assessments. From here, teachers may suggest that your student is evaluated for a reading disability, but the school is not allowed to evaluate your student without your permission.
If the evaluation finds that your student may have a reading disability, and that the reading disability is negatively affecting learning in the classroom, they may will then take the steps needed to creating an IEP, or Individualized Education Program. Using the observations gathered in the evaluation - which does more than define dyslexia, but tells you how your student learns best - you’ll work with the school to create and IEP for dyslexia. This IEP could include special instruction, extra time on tests, the options of recording lectures, exemption from oral reading in class, exemption from foreign language, and more.
Steps to Take in Requesting an Evaluation
Taking Charge of Your Students Education and Getting an IEP for Dyslexia
If you’ve never worked with your child’s school to get an IEP before, you may find the process daunting, especially if the school district does not cooperate with you and the needs of your child. The following steps apply when getting your student and IEP for dyslexia:
1. If you notice warning signs for dyslexia and have yet to be contacted by the school, send a written request to the school for an evaluation, noting your reasons for requesting an evaluation. This letter can often be sent either to your student’s teacher, principal, or the special education director. Ensure the letter is explicit in giving your consent to evaluate your student.
2. Do your due diligence. You can either deliver the letter by hand to ensure they receive it, or send it as certified mail. Additionally, if the school district does not follow up with you in about a week, give them a call to check on the status of your student’s evaluation.
3. Once they begin the evaluation, they will begin noting how your student learns best, where they may be falling behind, and whether they may have a reading disability. Depending on their findings, you have a few options
4. The school discovers that your student has a reading disability: continue to step #4
5. The school does not think your student has a reading disability: You have options! You can either pay for an evaluation from a professional, request in writing that the school pays for an IEE (independent educational evaluation), seek dispute resolution, or request a 504 plan. Unlike an IEP for dyslexia, it does not require specialized instruction, but does allow for accommodations inside the classroom, many of which are a great start to help your student succeed.
5. Work with your school to create an IEP for your student. Ask questions, be informed, and be open to suggestions from both your student and the school.
Continuing to help your child at home
Once you’ve started your student’s evaluation or recieved your IEP, your work as a parent doesn’t end. Stay invested in your student’s education and progress at home. A great tool for you and your child is Jett Publishing’s “I have Dyslexia” books. As a great resource for you and your student to better understand their learning disability at a great price, Jett Publishing can help you and your child thrive in spite of their diagnosis.