1) Can you recommend summer camps especially for kids with special needs?

As a non-profit organization, we can not recommend specific camps. We can, however, provide you with articles that will give you the information you need. It is important to be a careful consumer when looking for a program for a child with special needs. Check out each camp carefully. Visit the site and talk with previous clients if possible.

Here are some articles you may be interested in:

Additional resources found on LD OnLine include the following:

Here are a few other resources:

2) I feel as though my child's skills are regressing. What should I do?

It is alarming to feel that your child is no longer making progress and may even be losing skills, but it will benefit him if you recognize this early and intervene.

Speak with his teachers about your concerns and share any samples of his work that reflect these concerns. Together, you can decide which step should be taken next. If you and his teachers feel that the level and amount of services and accommodations your child is receiving need to be revisited, then an IEP meeting should be convened.

You may also consider asking that the concerns you have about your child’s academic progress be discussed at the school's next local screening meeting. At this meeting, you and the other members of the local screening committee will decide if further evaluation for your child is warranted.

At both meetings, it is important to discuss the possible reasons for your child's current struggles in helping to determine the next course of action. For example, perhaps your child was able to compensate for his disability before, but now that he is getting older and the schoolwork is getting more challenging, his ability to compensate is being strained and the achievement gap between your child and his peers is widening. His apparent regression may also be signs of stress from knowing that he is falling further behind. It is imperative that the emotional component of your child's educational experience be addressed.

The following articles may give you some ideas of ways to make the most of these meetings and include information about your rights as a parent throughout the special education process:

You and your child's teachers should be able to work together to develop an educational program that will meet his needs and help him reach his academic potential.

3) My child's school says that my child is very bright, but they want to hold him back because of his poor reading skills. I want him tested for a reading disability. What should I do?

Because your child is so bright and is still struggling with reading, he may very well be exhibiting some of the characteristics typical of students with a learning disability. It may be helpful to look at the following articles, which describe characteristics that some children with learning disabilities exhibit:

If you see characteristics of your child's reading struggles in these articles, you should state these specific concerns to the professionals at his school and request that your child receive an educational evaluation. This evaluation is free and within your legal rights as a parent to request. This article will give you an overview of the evaluation process:

The following article will give you suggestions on how to be the most effective and informed advocate that you can for addressing your child's educational needs:

Whether or not he is found eligible for special services, the evaluation, among other things, will help determine your child's academic strengths and weaknesses and how best he learns. This should make the decision about how to help your child in subsequent years seem clearer.

Because your child is bright, he may be able to compensate, at this point, for any learning difficulties that he might have. But as he gets older and the reading material in school gets more challenging, your child may find it increasingly difficult to compensate and he may fall further behind. This is why the earlier the cause of his reading weaknesses is determined and addressed, the better chance your child has of truly reaching his academic potential.

4) Can you recommend schools for elementary, middle or high school students with special needs?

As a non-profit organization, we can not recommend particular schools. We can, however, give you some resources that may be helpful to you.

All public school systems in the United States serve children with special needs. Contact an educational administrator in your local school district for information. In addition to all public school systems, many private, independent schools are geared for students with special needs. Our LD OnLine Yellow Pages would be a good place to start looking. Programs are listed by state. And internet search on schools for learning disabilities will give a number of matches, including the following:

Talking with other parents is often a good way to find out about schools. Try the LD OnLine Forums where you can send and receive messages to others who may have similar concerns.

5) Where can I find scholarships or financial aid for a learning disabled student?

The need for financial support for families with special needs children is only recently being recognized.

Contact a school guidance counselor about scholarships. Also, check with a reference librarian in a public library for publications listing scholarships. Most colleges have offices to assist students with disabilities. Check with the colleges you’re interested in to see what they can offer.

Several web sites offer information. FinAid has excellent information on finding scholarships and fellowships for students with disabilities. The International Center for Disability Resources on the Internet has even more listings of resources for paying for college.

There also may be some state monies available to help with college expenses. Every state in the U.S. should have an Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. (They are sometimes titled differently.) To locate the office in your state go to the Council of Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation site.

The Council for Exceptional Children offers awards through the Yes I Can! Foundation.

Also, the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities has a parent information center that may be able to help you locate foundations and grants.

LD Online’s LD Resources provides lists of national, state and regional organizations that may be of assistance, as well as parent advocacy organizations.

Finally, visit LD OnLine’s discussion boards to exchange ideas with other parents on how to obtain scholarship money.

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