Reports Cards are Out – If You Aren’t Smiling, READ ON

Report cards have been released.  This means our phones at Woodland Hall Academy have been ringing off the hook with parents concerned, worried, frustrated, angry… about  their child’s grades.  Concerned parents call their children’s schools and continue to be frustrated because the answers they are receiving aren’t helping them help their child learn and develop skills.

Does This Describe You and Your Child’s Struggle?

Parents want to know what is keeping their children from learning and they  want  a plan that helps them help their child break these barriers to learning.

The parent relates that Johnny has had increasing struggles with school.  He’s 8, or 10, or 12…. (Age doesn’t matter – the story stays the same- although the intensity of the struggle and the damage to Johnny’s self-esteem and potential for his future is increasing with age).

The parents have taken him to every specialist (eyes, ears, psychologist), paid for tutors, worked with him 3-4 hours with homework.   Still they are seeing him struggle to perform up to “what the school expects he can do.”   “He could do it if he worked harder/focused.”  is being said by teachers but the parents see the struggle.   ADHD has been diagnosed (or suggested) if he is active, but none of the plans put into place by the parent or the school seem to make a difference.

True Parent Scenarios 

Taking their concerns to the school – here are some of the comments parents have heard. These are true comments relayed to Woodland Hall Staff members.

  1. The school says that a reading disability can’t be identified until 3rd grade.
  2. The school says that they can’t test the 8 year old child for dyslexia because he can’t read the test?????
  3. Your child can’t have a learning disability because he/she is passing. (This ignores the constant tutoring, 3 hours the parents works every night, and the school sending less homework home because he/she couldn’t finish the normal homework.)
  4. Your child is not passing the benchmarks, but we don’t feel he is eligible for testing for a learning disability.
  5. If your child would just focus, he would do alright. (This of a severely ADHD child in 6th grade with 6 different teachers and classes.)

WHAT’S A PARENT TO DO?

Identification of the barriers to learning is crucial.  Parents often have to go outside of public school testing to start uncovering the problem.  It is important to understand that a full battery of tests should assess auditory and visual perception, language abilities, listening comprehension along with reading, writing and arithmetic.

Without proper identification – how can a parent determine a course of action?

If you are a parent who fits one of the scenarios above, administrators at WHA can discuss possible courses of action for you.  While we are a school resource, we are also a community resource for parents and often can assist parents to find the correct pathway to help their child.

Children with dyslexia, ADHD, and related learning disabilities/differences

  are not Cookie Cutter Children.

 Cookie Cutter Solutions will not work with them.

 

 

Here are our comments to what parents have related to us:

  1. The school says that a reading disability can’t be identified until 3rd

Research with reading disabilities refutes this.  In fact, research shows that if a child has a reading disability (dyslexia) that is not addressed by 3rd grade, they will be behind grade level in 9th grade and have severe difficulty in learning.

  1. The school says that they can’t test the 8 year old child for dyslexia because he can’t read the test?????

This is almost too ridiculous to address.  Tests for the pre-skills required for reading have been developed for 4 and 5 year olds.

  1. Your child can’t have a learning disability because he/she is passing. (This ignores the constant tutoring, 3 hours the parents works every night, and the school sending less homework home because he/she couldn’t finish the normal homework.)

Unfortunately, the public school policy has shifted to this practice all too often.  The law, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), does not support this practice.  This parent had to employ a lawyer to help her child receive the help in Florida for his learning disability that he had been receiving in New York.

  1. Your child is not passing the benchmarks, but we don’t feel he is eligible for testing for a learning disability.

Scratching head here – didn’t one school just say he had to fail?  This school is saying he is failing, but they are not testing to determine why?

 

  1. If your child would just focus, he would do alright. (This of a severely ADHD child in 6th grade with 6 different teachers and classes.)

The “blame the child game”, especially for children with ADHD, is all too familiar.  ADHD is not a matter of the child “paying more attention”.  The child needs a different teaching pattern in order to learn.