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School Administrator Doesn't Understand LD/ADD
Q: What kind of acceptable reply can I give to the administrator who insists that my gifted son is smart enough to get over his LD/ADD disabilities and to snap out of it? I'm sick of the ignorance about his particular disabilities and yet I don't have the proper response for this advice. I'm also told that I should not be going to bat for him as he is old enough to know what he needs to do. Yet the teachers do not modify or follow his IEP. I'm saddened that, year after year, I must fight this ignorance at the expense of my son's education. Please help.
A: It sounds like you need the support of an advocate to help you to get the modifications/supports mandated for your son by law. There are many advocacy groups that can help you navigate the system. To find out what groups are within your community, call the Coordinated Campaign for Learning Disabilities at 1-888-GR8-MIND, the Learning Disabilities Association of America at 1-888-300-6710 or Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorders at 1-800-233-4050.
If your school district is being negligent about following your son's IEP, you may be able to get financial support for meeting his needs privately. An excellent resource for more information is Lawrence M. Siegel's book, The Complete IEP Guide: How to Advocate for your Special Ed Child.
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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.