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Parenting a Child with LD or ADHD

Private school advice needed, how do we proceed?


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Joined: Nov 03, 2005
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Posted Apr 14, 2002 at 10:02:00 AM
Subject: Private school advice needed, how do we proceed?

We live in New York city where it is common to send kids to private school simply b/c the public schools are not great. My 8 year old son attends such a school (ie a regular, academic school) . He clearly has a learning disability as evidenced by problems with reading, spelling, organization, fine motor etc although his testing is quite inconsistent. We have had him fully evaluated and still don't have a specific diagnosis and probably never will. His scores range anywhere from 10th percentile to 99th percentile, and in ways that prevent a clear diagnosis. Let's just say there is a neurological problem somewhere.

Here's my problem: his school offers practically no services in house.. Legally, I don't think they have to do anything. They have a wonderful attitude, but we have to make sure he isn't in over his head as the work becomes more rigorous. We have been providing various interventions privately after school for years, and can continue to do so. But then its not integrated into his curriculum, or his schedule. Noone feels that he requires a full special education school (and there are several private LD schools in our area too). And clearly public school is out of the question - I'm not sure he'd qualify for services, and the quality of the overall education is questionable. And switching schools here is not easy, admissions to private schools are competitive.

I'd like to hear from any other parents with thoughts on how to approach this.

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 25, 2014
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Posted:Apr 14, 2002 11:50:41 AM

My own son was in much the same position. He attended a private school the curriculum of which (not the concepts) became too rigorous for his learning issues. He couldn't read the assigned reading or do the writing assignments on his own.

Legally there is some question about what they have to do. Somewhere on this site, I think, or another, it does suggest that the Americans with Disabilties Act does mandate that private schools provide some services. All colleges, private as well as public, provide services. Why not independent secondary schools?

Convincing them of that, though, would be another thing and you wouldn't make friends in the process.

As my son could understand the concepts well, and as soooo much emphasis is put on homework in his school, he and I did the homework together - every night for hours. I typed everything up. I read outloud to him. He took the tests in school but knew the material well and many teachers were kind enough to struggle to read what he had written through his abysmal spelling and many errors of writing mechanics. With homework weighted to heavily into the equation and with me checking, completing even doing the work he couldn't do - his homework scores were excellent and they pulled up his grades to being quite good.

There's no easy answer to the situation that you're in. The easiest thing to do at this point might be to go and visit the other schools. Even what would be your local public school. Rather than take anyone's casual word as to what he doesn't need, go and see for yourself. Only that convinced me that while there sadly was no right school for my son, it was worth 'toughing it out' in the one he was in.

Good luck to you and your son.

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 25, 2014
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Posted:Apr 14, 2002 3:17:48 PM

Thank you so much for responding. Just knowing we are not alone is helpful.
How did you convince your school to be so accomodating? My son's school doesn't even give grades until 7th grade, its already a school that tries to emphasize individual strength. I'm just concerned that in the next year it will become a judgement call as to whether he can make it, and at what cost to him emotionally. Thanks for the words of advice.

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 25, 2014
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Posted:Apr 14, 2002 6:52:58 PM


OKay I have a couple of thoughts for you.

1. If the private school accepts any federal funds from the local educational agency then they are considered a public school by the federal government,in regards to providing related services,or special educational services,ie and IEP. I would check on this .

2. In New York they have what is called "carter funding" this is a way the public school provides monies for parents to place their kids in private school funded by the state,I believe it is certain schools,and I would research this.

3. Actually 504 antidiscrimination laws do make provisions for private school students. I would have pasted the corresponding section of 504 here,but the website is being updated?,Sorry,couldn't do it.
What I remember it stating is they have to provide reasonable accomodations,of course they can charge you extra money above and beyond tutition for it,but they cannot just yank him out ,because you requested it of them you requesting this of them,or it would be a violation of your son's civil rights.www.ed.gov/offices/OCR/index.html is the OCR website

I hope this helps,at the very least it should give a few areas to poke around and find out just where your child stands at this school. Good Luck.

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 25, 2014
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Posted:Apr 14, 2002 9:08:28 PM

If you have not visited any of the schools that specialize in education for students with LDs at least call them and visit the ones that sound suitable to your son's needs. These schools vary a lot in the student population they serve - some specialize in educating gifted LD students and others in providing education to those with scores in the low-normal range, and yet others specialize in students with particular types of LDs (for example, dyslexia). It may be that one of these schools has students with needs quite similar to your son's. There is a huge difference in how independently and succesfully a student can function in a school when the setting is appropriate for the student's needs. Good luck.

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 25, 2014
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Posted:Apr 15, 2002 8:04:15 PM

I can't say that my son's school was accomodating. Some individual teachers were willing to be somewhat accomodating but the school itself was not. There were not modifications made to the curriculum for my son and ideally there should have been if his learning was the top priority.

That your school does not grade is a plus I think. Without grades, they cannot use the grades against him. In my son's school, the grades are the wedge by which children are forced out of the school.

There has been a great emotional cost to my son (and to me). But what's a mother to do? There are limited numbers of schools out there. If I had it all to do over again, I would give homeschooling much more serious consideration than I did.

I'm surprised that your school which does not grade yet comes with an emotional cost. Your post doesn't say what poses the greatest challenge but as a general principle, I'd encourage the use of books on tape and dictating assignments to willing typists to lessen the stress on him.

Good luck.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Apr 16, 2002 11:56:34 AM

My son was in a similar position a couple of years ago. Testing scores from the 1st percentile to the high 90s. Only he was in public school. He received services through the school, but these were heavily supplemented by private services after school. It was a big strain to be in school all day and then spend another hour doing phonographix and then coming home to face homework. I finally moved my son to a private school for LD children. I resisted this for at least a year, thinking that he wasn't LD "enough." But I wish I had moved him earlier. The small classroom size and the experienced teachers make such a difference. He is in a class of 8 kids ranging from 9-11 yrs old and the instruction can easily be tailored to a child's strengths and weaknesses. You should check some of the NY schools

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 25, 2014
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Posted:Apr 16, 2002 5:32:36 PM

what grade was your son in when you decided to enroll him in a school for LD?

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Anonymous
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Posted:Apr 16, 2002 7:08:21 PM

He was going into 3rd grade (age 8). He is now 10 and in his 2nd year there.

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Anonymous
Joined Oct 25, 2014
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Posted:Apr 16, 2002 8:51:45 PM

Thanks for all the information and advice. My son is also 8, and will be in 3rd grade next year. We feel like its premature (not to mention too late at this point in the calendar year) to consider another school for 3rd grade. We haven't really provided him any remediation yet. But we will be researching our options next fall so we have a plan in case his current school just isn't right for him.

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