What are YOUR rights? Part I
“The school said they don’t recognize or test for dyslexia.” -Parent
“The school said he’s not behind enough and he’s actually very similar to his peers, and thus doesn’t qualify to be tested.” - Dyslexia Connection Parent
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that, I’d probably have some spending money in my pocket. It’s as though we’re on that brink of the end of the school year, and thus I’ve recently been asked many questions about the law, IEPs, 504s, testing, etc., and how they relate to dyslexia. Each one of these deserves a book in itself, so I could go on and on. However, I’m going to briefly discuss all of these, and go into further detail in the coming weeks.
---What does our law state about dyslexia?
Schools have been required to “work with” and recognize dyslexia for quite some time, they apparently just didn’t know it. It’s more commonly referred to as a specific learning disability or SLD (under IDEA: 20 U.S.C. 1401(30)). SLD: means a disorder in 1 or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or using language, spoken or written, which may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematical calculations, such as ADD, dyslexia, perceptual disabilities, etc.
---Requesting an Evaluation: Yes, yes you can request an evaluation. A parent/guardian or teacher can request an assessment. PUT THAT IN WRITING! If it wasn’t it writing, it didn’t happen.
-15 calendar days- the district has to get assessment plan ready
-15 calendar days- the parent has to respond
-60 calendar days- district has to administer assessments, develop IEP and hold IEP meeting
---IEPS & 504 Plans- What are they and why are they important?
An IEP is an individualized education plan that provides accommodations, modifications and remediation. Specific goals will be set that must be monitored for progress. This formally and legally protects a child so that he/she receives free and appropriate public education (FAPE). To learn more about FAPE, go to WrightsLaw.com. IEPs require formal meetings. Keep in mind, 9 out of 10 dyslexics do not qualify for IEPs…they are just too stinking smart!
A 504 Plan is accommodations only, and does not require formal safeguards and meetings for placement. IF you have a formal diagnosis, a child will automatically qualify for a 504 plan. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
I will go into further detail in the coming weeks! If you have any questions or are looking for someone to help you in this process and to advocate for your child, call me and we will set up a time to talk in more detail. –Whitney Stein, M.Ed.