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My son is dyslexic — his fluency is in the 10th percentile, and he reads at half the rate of his peers. His verbal IQ is in the 99th percentile, and when he has accessible materials his ability to comprehend is high. He uses Kurzweil 3000 to read academic materials and finds he benefits from the synchronized, highlighted text with the speech.

Unfortunately, his school has stated that when he enters high school next year, he will receive materials “just like everyone else” and will be responsible for converting all of his materials to digital format himself if he wants them in electronic format. Though my son has individual memberships to Bookshare(opens in a new window) and Learning Ally(opens in a new window), the school does not have an institutional membership, so he can’t obtain his textbooks.

Do you have any suggestions on how to facilitate his access to print material? Should we purchase a high quality scanner, and if so, do you have recommendations on type? (Seems it would be cheaper than litigating this issue, which we can’t afford.)

This is certainly a frustrating and confusing situation to be in for a parent. I hope some of these resources will be helpful for you. First, you may find it helpful to review some of the available information on Center for Accessible Educational Materials(opens in a new window) site on the key provisions of IDEA with regard to accessible materials(opens in a new window) and the requirements of the IEP. IDEA provides a legal mandate for accessible materials for qualifying students, through high school. We suggest that you become familiar with this information so that you can ensure that your child receives the materials necessary for success in school. For additional information, go to Building the Legacy: IDEA 2004(opens in a new window), a website developed by the U.S. Department of Education, for additional information and services for infants and toddlers with disabilities, and children and youth (ages 3-21).

If your son’s IEP does not currently list accessible instructional materials as a recommended support, you may want to consider addressing that issue with his IEP team. Find valuable guidance at Bookshare(opens in a new window). As your son moves into high school, you should discuss his needs with the new IEP team(opens in a new window) to ensure that supplementary aids and services(opens in a new window), such as accessible texts, are included, if your son is eligible, for this type of support.

Finally, I’d like to reassure you that there are many options for resolving disputes and disagreements with your son’s school district, many of them spelled out in special education law. LD OnLine(opens in a new window), Wrightslaw(opens in a new window), and NICHCY(opens in a new window) have some excellent resources available on this topic. You may also want to check out the expert advice(opens in a new window) from Matt Cohen, Esq. on this site for more information about special education law.

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