Dr. Kelli Sandman-Hurley has created a FREE online resource, Dyslexia in the Schools, for any parents who wants information on how to work with the school to get help for their child with dyslexia. This free e-book is only 23 pages long but it is packed with helpful information. Click here to download your copy.
Your child is struggling in school. Does he need an evaluation? Why is an evaluation important? Testing gives us data, helps us to know what areas of need to focus on, and then target those areas effectively.
Parents have the right to ask their child's public school for an evaluation and by law, the school must provide one free of charge. But there are steps that must be followed.
STEP ONE: Parents must make a request for testing in writing. Talking to your child's teacher, the principal or the front office about your concerns, or just verbally asking for an evaluation is not enough. Parents need to put the request in writing and personally deliver it to the school personnel (usually the school counselor) who should respond to it. According to Vita Nemirovsky of Homeworks Educational Consulting, it is important to include specific requests in the letter on exactly what you would like your child to be evaluated for. A sample letter requesting evaluation will help parents write an effective letter.
STEP TWO: Within 10 days, the school will offer a Permission to Evaluate (PTE) form that needs to be signed by the parents. At this point, a 60 day “countdown” starts, where the school has that much time to perform the requested evaluations. One thing to note: the time during summer vacation does not count towards the 60 days. Despite the fact that it may be late in the year, it can still be good to start the process in the spring. According to Nemirovsky, that will help set things up for an early fall evaluation.
IF THE SCHOOL SAYS NO: A school may also respond to a parents’ written request with a Notice of Recommended Educational Placement, or NOREP form. This form indicates that the school has reviewed the child’s situation and determined that he already has an appropriate placement. Parents can dispute this and still request testing. In the majority of the cases, the schools will comply with the parents.
STEP THREE: Once testing results are in, the school will meet with the parents, share results and make recommendations. If parents are not satisfied with the results of testing, they also have the option of requesting an independent evaluation, which the school is required to pay for.
The lengthy time frame can be a problem for some parents, who want to get a diagnosis, and begin to get help for their child sooner. These parents may elect to pay for and get an independent evaluation.
Next: Reasons to consider an independent evaluation
Your child is having unexpected difficulty with reading, and struggling with school. He seems to have hit a "wall" in third grade, or he hasn't learned to read simple words in first grade and it's the end of the year. Despite the teacher's reassurance not to worry and that, "he'll grow out of it," you are concerned that it might be something more. How can a parent begin to find out if this is the case? The following blog series will offer step-by-step advice on what parents can do to find out what is going on with your child and what you can do to help them.
Step 1: Research dyslexia and learn as much as you can before you decide what to do next.
Before diving into talking with the school, or calling the phone number of someone you've found on the web, take the time to do some research and learn what you can. Then, you will be better prepared and know what to ask when you begin to talk with others. Here are a few suggestions:
Next: How to get specific information from the school on exactly how well your child is reading.
Hello, I'm Janet Menosky Smith. I am a Reading Specialist and Orton-Gillingham trained tutor, helping students with reading difficulties. This blog is dedicated to providing information, resources and encouragement to families and others seeking to help struggling readers.