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Dyslexic Son Gets No Help from School
Q: I took the quiz about dyslexia for my son on Family Education and he scored very high. He's had a thorough medical exam, including ear and eyes, and he is fine. The school system tested him and he scored below normal, but not low enough for special education help. He's getting more frustrated every day. He's repeating third grade and reads on a second-grade level. His level of distraction and confusion is not the same every day. He struggles with his reading and really hates to write. If he has math problems with mixed signs, he gets confused. Instead of writing letters backwards, which he still does occasionally, he write his letters starting from the bottom. I really don't know where to turn now. I'm afraid he'll be labeled ADHD, and I don't think that's his problem.
A: Unfortunately, the quality of educational evaluations done by local school systems can vary tremendously. You might want to consider having your son evaluated privately. It's difficult to say whether his problems stem from real weaknesses he has or if he has just not been taught appropriately to meet his needs.
You can contact the Learning Disabilities Association of America at 1-888-300-6710 (http://www.ldanatl.org) or the Coordinated Campaign for Learning Disabilities at 1-888-GR8-MIND (http://www.ldonline.org). They should be able to refer you to someone in your community who could give him a comprehensive evaluation.
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For more than 20 years, Eileen Marzola has worked with children and adults with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders, and with their parents and teachers. She has been a regular education classroom teacher, a consultant teacher/resource teacher, an educational evaluator/diagnostician, and has also taught graduate students at the university level. Marzola is an adjunct assistant professor of education at Teachers College, Columbia University, and Hunter College of the City University of New York. She also maintains a private practice in the evaluation and teaching of children with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders.