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Getting Assistive Technology Through the School
Q: My son developed ADHD and LD after being treated for non-Hodgkins Lymphoma when he was five years old. He was reading and knew his ABC's before treatment. He has a hard time recognizing words and is reading at a third-grade level. He's gone through LD classes and is now mainstreamed. He's a verbal learner.
I'm concerned that he will be lost with the amount of reading he must do in high school. He was tested on a reader that scans the book and reads it to him -- much like a blind student. I was told that I could get the equipment for my home but I have to buy it from the school system.
My son is intelligent and can figure out how to get through the work. Giving him the resources would make him successful. I've asked for help but I can't afford a couple of thousand dollars to get the materials he needs. How do I keep him from getting frustrated in school? How do I get the services he needs?
A: The accommodations you are asking for certainly seem within reason. Have a look at attorney Lawrence M. Siegel's book, The Complete IEP Guide: How to Advocate for Your Special Ed Child. He does an excellent job of walking you through the system to get the accommodations you need. If the technology you need is recommended on your son's Individual Education Plan (IEP), the school system should provide it.
Try registering your son with Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic. For a nominal charge, they will provide him with all his textbooks on tape. If his learning disability is documented, you should have no trouble getting him this service. Call their toll-free number (1-800-221-4792) or check out their website. The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped will provide you with free magazines, fiction and nonfiction books on tape, and give you the tape player free of charge. In order to receive this service, a medical doctor or osteopath must document your son's disability. For more information, check out their website or you can call them in Washington D.C. at 202-707-5100 to find out the name and number of the closest participating library.
You can also contact the Coordinated Campaign for Learning Disabilities at 1-888-GR8-MIND or the
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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.