I need help. My 13 year old son has all the signs of dysgraphia. I pulled him from school last year because his teachers thought he was just lazy and dumb. They said they were testing him for problems but only gave him placement tests. I worked six years with special needs children in Hawaii. I know that he is not dumb and all of my research points to dysgraphia. I need to know who to go to, what kind of doctor to get a diagnosis. The school and even the district are no help. Any information would be a great help.
Dear Jennie, H ave been a learning disabilities teacher for many years. You need to get this diagnosed. Pulling him from school will not get this solved, he will need services in high school, college and even in the military. So let us figure out where to get the diagnosis. There are several places. First of all your school has to test him for a suspected learning disability if you request it in writing. You just write a letter and and say that you think he ahs a learning disability and you want him tested. They have to do it, this is federal law. There are parent advocate groups around you that will help you understand your rights. Look for learning disability support groups, they also know where the best doctors are that will help with diagnosis too. Doctors can diagnosis dysgraphia too. If you get a medical diagnosis for dysgraphia the school will have to serve him too. Look for people to help you and your son. WE are around in your community. Look in the yellow pages, it is different in every state. Call some eye doctors??? I am not sure where to tell you. If you have a special education service center, there may a parent advocate there to help you. Goo luck58343
I agree with the responses below. I have a son who has a learning disability and the folks at Parents Helping Parents (www.php.com), an organization made up of parents who have kids with learning disabilities, were my saviors. They armed me with the resources needed to help my son so now he has an IEP (Individualized Education Program) and we (the parents) meet with the therapist, tutor, school district psychologist, teacher 4 times a year to evaluate his progress. My son in on his 4th year of the IEP and is progressing well. When you write the school for an assessment on your child, ask for a full evaluation. I don't know where you live but www.ldanatl.org or a child psychologist at your local clinic may be able to refer you to a local organization. Good luck!59825
Jenniej, we dealt with the same issue with our daughter, who is now 14. Ultimately we had private evaluations completed and, with the results in hand, hired a lawyer and played hardball with the school district before they finally agreed to acknowledge the diagnosis and find her to be eligible for services.
That said, the first thing that you should do is write a letter addressed to the principal or special ed director (depends on your school) requesting that they complete an educational evaluation on your son. It is crucial that you do this in writing because they can ignore verbal requests. (Also, you want the paper trail...keep a copy of the letter and make sure it's dated). Once you send the letter, they have a legal time limit within which they need to respond and/or do the evaluation. You'd have to check with your state re: the timeline because it differs from state to state. FEDERAL law (IDEA) gives them 60 days, but some states decrease that to 45 days. The timeframe includes holding a meeting to get your consent to evaluate, completing the evaluation, and (if appropriate) holding a meeting to write the IEP. They should give you a pamphlet that contains 'procedural safeguards' that spell out your rights and how to go about appealing things if they deny your request for an eval or if you disagree with the results of their evaluation.
Assuming that you want to keep him in public school, you need to put in a request for an evaluation through the school regardless of whether or not you plan to do private evaluations because a) The school has a legal responsibility to test every child suspected of having a disability (look up CHILD FIND under IDEA) and b) Legally, the school only has to 'consider' the results of private evaluations, they aren't required to follow the recommendations of a private evaluation that you paid for. (There are ways to get them to pay for a private eval but that's a few steps down the road...and first, they have to do their own evaluation.)
You can discuss the problem with your pediatrician but in most states a note from a medical doctor is NOT enough to make a child eligible for special ed services. A pediatrician is not qualified to diagnose a Learning Disability. The ped may be able to refer you to someone if you choose to go the private route. We took our daughter to a very good neuropsychologist, who ultimately diagnosed her with a Learning Disability and AD/HD-inattentive type. (ADHD can affect writing, both neatness and content/organization...and not all kids with ADHD are hyperactive. Inattentive kids tend to be quiet and fall through the cracks). We also had her evaluated by a private speech/language pathologist. A developmental pediatrician or an Educational Consultant may also be a good choice for you, depending on the situation. You can contact your state's Dept of Education for info on your rights and available resources. I found the Learning Disabilities Association in our state to be a fantastic resource as well, and also our parent advocacy center.
In the meantime, get him typing on a keyboard as much as possible. For our daughter this has been key. You eliminate the messiness factor, and he can learn to use spellcheck if spelling is an issue. Her content has improved dramatically over the past 3 years as has her sentence structure and spelling because the school now provides a laptop for her. Once we finally had an IEP for her the school's speech/language pathologist used a multisensory reading program (Wilson Reading) with her for 2 years, and I attribute much of her progress to that. But that's 'my' child; it may not be the right thing for yours.
Good luck! It can be frustrating but your persistance will pay off. Don't be afraid to ask questions.59843
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