When I began my job as admissions director for a school specializing in dyslexia remediation, I didn’t understand what I would be doing in the summer. Admissions are finalized by the end of April at the latest, so what in the world would I be doing from June to October?
Now I know. Now I know that the busiest time in a psychologist’s calendar is the summer. Since psychoeducational evaluations are so time-consuming, often completed over the course of two days or more, parents take advantage of summer’s down time away from school to schedule their children’s testing.
Wonderful! Makes perfect sense . . . the testing will be complete well in advance of the fall application season. All on track for admissions for the following school year.
What I hadn’t factored in was the fact that parents want help NOW, once they receive that diagnosis. You know us parents . . . we will do anything we can do to help our children. How frustrating to think that your child is going to have to wait an entire year to begin the remediation they so desperately need right away. A whole year to languish in the old school environment without support for his/her reading struggles. Fortunately, in our area, there are many qualified tutors who can begin that important remediation right away.
But those are the lucky children, the few who live close enough to attend one of the few schools in the U.S. specializing in the remediation of dyslexia. What do you do if you have to have to rely on your current schools for the remediation? Where will your child find the support he/she requires in order to be a successful learner?
The first step is to educate yourself about what resources may already exist in your area. Most folks have no idea how to go about that, so I recommend that you get in touch with the Orton Gillingham Academy and/or the International Dyslexia Association . Both will be able to help you identify programs and tutors in your state that can help. They can also work with you to learn about the laws in your state governing what your local school system is required to provide (if anything) for the remediation of dyslexia. You will need to find an Orton Gillingham tutor who can begin to provide remediation as soon as possible.
Next, read as much as you can about dyslexia so that you have a good understanding of the challenges your child faces with respect to reading. You will also learn so much about the advantages that often accompany dyslexia . . . out-of-the-box thinking, higher order thinking skills, creativity, and problem-solving skills, to name a few. Armed with this understanding, you will be prepared to advocate for the help your child needs. (For more information about how to best advocate for your child, see my earlier blog post entitled, “Does This Remind You of a Child You Know?” )
Finally, do everything you can to understand your child and his/her academic challenges. Be certain you know whether dyslexia is the only issue, or if there may be other factors interfering with your child’s learning. (See my blog post, entitled, “What do you mean it’s not just dyslexia?” Talk with your psychologist to learn as much as you can about your child’s specific learning profile so that you know what kind of accommodations your child time on tests and in the classroom. Your child may also need modifications in his/her homework or classwork if processing speed is an issue. For more information about possible accommodations, refer to my post entitled, “My Child Is Dyslexic. Hooray! Now How Do I Talk to Our School?” Armed with information about your child’s needs, you will be prepared to go about the job of finding the help he or she needs right now.