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Expert Q&A

Can my child receive help for his learning disability if he stays in a private school?

After a series of test done through our public school, my son was diagnosed with processing problems as well as auditory memory problems. He is currently attending a private school and is in first grade. I will be meeting with the public school psychologist and teacher and would like your opinion on what kind of help I should be receiving.

I know private school doesn’t have the same resources as public school and I am hoping they will bring someone in to help him. If they don’t, I will need to move to a better school district so I can send him to public school. I have been advised that in such a case, I should retain a lawyer and fight the school to have him properly serviced.

He loves his school and would most likely be devastated that we would have to change schools. He is fully aware that he is struggling and the teacher as well as myself encourage him and tell him we are going to get him the help he needs, so that his self esteem doesn’t diminish. Please help!!! I have had so many restless nights worrying.


Private schools have an obligation to provide reasonable accommodations under the ADA, unless the school is religiously controlled. However, it is your obligation to document the presence of the disability and request accommodations.

In addition, you can ask the public school to evaluate him for special ed services and, if eligible, they have the option of offering him some support either at the private school or the public school on a part time basis. In either event, the extra support might be enough to allow him to be successful.

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