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Special Education at Private School
Q: My sixth-grader is a very hard worker and has a great attitude toward school. She's learning disabled and is in a 15-to-1 math and reading class. She gets resource help with her other subjects and maintains low-B to C work. She wants to attend a local Christian school that uses A Beka curriculum, which seems harder than what's used in her public school. If she fails the entrance exam, she will have to repeat sixth grade to attend the Christian school.
Without resource help and the testing modifications that she receives in public schooling, am I setting her up for failure? Are there any strategies to help her be successful? Her biggest troubles are abstract concepts and processing problems. All her siblings will be going to this school and she's very excited about it.
A: Are you sure that your daughter couldn't continue to get the support services she had in public school? Children who attend private schools are still eligible to receive the services they need. She may have to travel to the local public school to get them, but many times this help can be provided either before or after school time so she doesn't have to have her school day disrupted. It may also be possible for her to have a learning specialist on site. Call the toll-free number for the Learning Disabilities Association at 1-888-300-6710 or try the National Center for Learning Disabilities at 1-800-575-7373. Someone there should be able to direct you to support services in your community where you can find out exactly how to get your daughter the help she needs in school.
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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.