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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Help for the Dyslexic Child

Following is some information that was offered to me regarding dyslexia.  May it encourage you and offer you insight on teaching your own dyslexic students.

I have found there to be several important points to teaching my dyslexic sons:

Don't let their limitations in reading and spelling limit the level of their learning.  To accomplish this use accommodations (the website listed below has a list of these.)

Make sure they are tutored using an Orton-Gillingham method (I used and am currently using the Barton Reading and Spelling System to tutor my sons).  I can't say enough good things about it.

Every dyslexic is also gifted.  Expose them to sports and the arts.  Many dyslexics are gifted in these areas.  My oldest son (he tested right on the line between moderately and severely dyslexic) just started at the local junior college.  I've homeschooled him all the way through.  I had to do a lot of research and learning to find things that would work for my son.   In all the years, and of all the sources I went through, the best clearinghouse for information on dyslexia and teaching dyslexics I ever ran across was Bright Solutions.  There are even several free video casts.

Math -- As far as math curriculum goes, I would recommend Math-U-See or Teaching Textbooks.

Writing -- After appropriate tutoring, I recommend IEW writing.

Science/History -- As far as Science and History go whatever the family already uses will be fine.   The texts will need to be read aloud (or many audio textbooks including those from Christian publishers can be rented for a year at a time from Reading for the Blind and Dyslexic) and answers dictated.  Personally, I love Apologia (I have a science degree and I find the content not only interestingly presented but outstanding).

Reading -- I use Sonlight History and readers with my youngest son.  This is not a choice all parents of dyslexics would be comfortable with.  I wanted my son to love books even if they seem at times to be his enemy.  I thought I had a better chance reaching this goal with Sonlight.  Currently I read all of them aloud to him.  In 2-3 months I anticipate that he will be reading between a fifth-grade reading level and we will start "modeled reading," i.e., he will read a paragraph, I will read a paragraph.  This will eventually increase to a page each and then him two pages, me one until he is reading whole chapters on his own.

During the first several years of teaching a dyslexic child, it can seem as if you aren't getting anywhere.  It is definitely a "drop in the bucket" but eventually it adds up.  You have to be patient and persistent. Eventually you do get from here to there.

Back in 2008, when asked about her experiences homeschooling two dyslexic sons, Debra Jackson offered the above advice.

Three Things Common to Parents of Special Needs Children

I want to give you some encouragement as you began another school year.

I have discovered that there are three things that are common to parents, especially moms, of special needs children.  They are grief, a sense of inadequacy, and guilt.

We grieve over our loss and that of our child and family.  Grief comes and goes.  It is not experienced and put behind us. For, at the most unexpected moment, even after years of acceptance, you may experience it anew.  It is o.k.!  Embrace it then let it go as you once again move on with life.

The sense of inadequacy that we experience is not a sign of the truth, but rather a symptom of the condition we find ourselves in.  I have found as I encourage moms of special kids that it matters not the education or training a mother has.  Even the mom with a degree in special education struggles with a sense of inadequacy when it comes to teaching her own child.  Learning this has helped me to understand that the Lord is the only true source for our sense of adequacy.

We experience guilt over many things.  We feel guilt because we think “surely someone else could help my special child progress more quickly.”  Then there is the guilt over not having “enough” time for our other children, and the list goes on.  Before we embrace this guilt we must look to the Word.  Proverbs 20:24 says, “A man’s steps are directed by the Lord. How then can anyone understand his own way?”  And in Romans 8:28a we read, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.”  So let us be at peace knowing that God is working good for each member of our family as we learn to be content and see the blessings that God has provided for us right where we are.

Jane and her husband, married in 1969, began homeschooling in 1982 and now have three adult children.  Jud and Jane are the legal guardians of their youngest daughter who has cerebral palsy and is deaf.  Jane was one of the original founders of ICHE and has been involved in ICHE’s ministry to families with struggling and special needs learners from 1999 until her "retirement" in 2009.  She continues to act as consultant with ICHE in the area of special needs.

Victory for New York Homeschooling Family!

HSLDA – March 20, 2007

On February 28, 2007, the federal court in New York vindicated Home School Legal Defense Association’s long-held position that public schools may not force homeschooling parents to submit their children to special education testing.

Case: D Family v. Livonia Central School District
Filed: October 8, 2004

Mr. and Mrs. D homeschooled their special needs son and had him privately evaluated at their own expense, choosing to waive any right for a FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education) for their son. In September 2004, however, the school district insisted that it must evaluate the child, whether Mr. and Mrs. D consented to it or not, and it initiated a due process hearing under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA).

HSLDA argued to the local hearing officer that the parents should not have to submit to an unwanted, unnecessary evaluation for services which everyone agreed that they would never accept, but in May 2005, the hearing officer ruled for the school district.  An appeal to the State Review Office followed, with the same result a year later.

On June 12, 2006, HSLDA filed an appeal in federal court.  Eight months later, the court issued its decision, fully agreeing that the parents could not be forced into an evaluation.

The judge’s decision stated, “I find that the IDEA does not permit a school district to compel the evaluation of a student … where the student’s parent has objected to such an evaluation and has refused to accept publicly-funded special-education services.’  The court reiterated the Eighth Circuit’s decision in Fitzgerald, the federal appellate court decision HSLDA won in 2006, which stated that such a compelled evaluation “would have no purpose” and be “pointless.”

“It is ludicrous under a plain understanding of the IDEA as it applies to homeschooled or privately-schooled students that any school district should have the ability to force parents to consent to an evaluation that is not even necessary under the IDEA.  This case drives the final nail in the coffin of the argument that public schools have the right to force this kind of evaluation over parents’ objections,” said HSLDA Deputy General Counsel James R. Mason, III.  “With these two federal cases and the new federal regulations, every school is on notice that these forced evaluations are illegal.”

School Districts May Not Evaluate without Parental Consent

HSLDA -- October 23, 2006

Federal Regulation: School Districts May Not Evaluate Homeschoolers without Parental Consent

On October 13, 2006, the United States Department of Education placed regulations into effect that explicitly deny school districts any ability under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) to override a parent’s refusal to have their homeschooled child evaluated for disabilities.

Over the last several years, Home School Legal Defense Association has seen an increase in such cases where the homeschooling parent denies consent for an evaluation and the school district files a due process procedure against the family.

The new regulations are in part a result of HSLDA’s victory in the case Fitzgerald v. Camdenton R-III School District (2006), in which the court ruled that a school district did not have the right to override a parent’s consent. “Where a home-schooled child’s parents refuse consent [for an evaluation], privately educate the child, and expressly waive all benefits under the IDEA, an evaluation would have no purpose. . . . [A] district may not force an evaluation in this case.”

After the Fitzgerald decision, HSLDA members all over the country attended meetings and sent in comments regarding the Department of Education’s proposed regulations while HSLDA lobbied the Department directly for change. The Fitzgerald case, in conjunction with the comments of HSLDA and our members, has resulted in an expansion of the language that was already in the comments on the proposed IDEA regulations. Now, a completely new section in the IDEA regulations provides protection for parents who homeschool. The new regulations state that if a homeschooling parent does not provide consent for any initial evaluation or reevaluation of their child, the school district cannot even initiate a due process procedure to override that consent.

“Our hard-won victory in Fitzgerald brought this matter to the attention of the Department of Education,” said HSLDA Litigation Attorney Jim Mason. “Even the DOE acknowledged that this has always been the intent of the law. Now they say it clearly.”

IL Homeschool Registration and IDEA

Taken from Peoria APACHE homeschooling newsletter November 2006

Voluntary Homeschool Registration and Changes in the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act

Earlier this year (2006) the Illinois Board of Education began a campaign to register homeschooling families. Local education authorities began to notify known homeschooling families of optional registration as it relates to changes in availability of special education services for children with special needs. Additionally, notices were posted in local newspapers notifying families of children in private school placements of informational meetings regarding the changes in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as it relates to children with special needs in private schools also known as non-public attendance in each school district.

IDEA was originally enacted by Congress in 1975 to make sure that children with disabilities had the opportunity to receive a free appropriate public education, just like other children with services provided to meet their special needs. In past years, home educated students with special needs in Illinois have received services under IDEA from the public school system if the parents requested services and registered their children. IDEA was recently reauthorized with many new changes. Families who choose to register their children must know local school districts are no longer obligated to provide special education services to children with special needs in private settings. Registration does not guarantee children with special needs will be served. Registration guarantees that the local school district will identify and evaluate the child. Funding for special education services is quite limited for the child in the private (home) setting and the total cost of the evaluation alone will consume the monies set aside for the non-public or privately placed child. The United States Department of Education states:

"Children with disabilities enrolled in private schools by their parents have no individual entitlement to receive some or all of the special education and related services they would receive if enrolled in a public school other than Child Find (identification of all children with special needs), including evaluations."

The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) advises against registering our homeschools. They are considered private schools in Illinois. Registration is voluntary and not required by Illinois law. HSLDA recommends accessing the private sector for special education services. They offer needs-based grants for those of home educating children with special needs to access private therapy, equipment, testing and specialized materials through the Home School Foundation.

For more information: