Where do I start?

I’m really overwhelmed now! Where do I start? Holly Ruskin

Do you think your child may have dyslexia? We’re here to help. We recommend taking the following steps:

Signs of Dyslexia
– First, look over the characteristics of dyslexia. If most of them match your child, do the following:

Support
– Join our Chat Group: Decoding Dyslexia-TN facebook group. This will give you a place of support to ask questions and get answers immediately. We’re here for you!

Evaluation
– Next, get a private evaluation. Public schools do evaluate for school services (more on that in a bit), but they do not diagnose dyslexia, specifically. Here’s a list of some Tennessee private practitioners who can help. We also highly recommend MTSU’s Center for Dyslexia. If you seek out a practitioner on your own, make sure to ask, specifically, if he/she diagnoses dyslexia (some do not).

Tutor
– You may also want to consider finding a dyslexia tutor for your child. Specifically ask if your tutor is trained in an Orton-Gillingham or similar methodology. Check out our programs that work page. Remember, there may be good programs that aren’t listed because new OG based programs are developed all of the time. If you have questions about a program, ask on our parent chat and we will assist you.

What about school? Will they help? 

– Whether you are in public school or private school, set up a meeting with your child’s teacher to discuss your concerns. If you are in private school, ask what they do to help students who have learning disabilities, like dyslexia.
– If you are in public school, let your child’s teacher know that you plan to put in a request with the school for an evaluation for services because you are concerned your child may have dyslexia/a learning disability. Your child’s teacher’s support will mean a lot in future IEP/504 meetings.
– Next, if you are in a TN public school, put in a written request for an evaluation for services/accommodations with your school. Most schools have a form in the office you can fill out. This is not for the school to diagnose dyslexia, but instead the school will do some testing to try to determine if your child qualifies for an IEP/504. You will be part of this evaluation/determination process. Filling out the parent request is the first step.
– Become familiar with Tennessee’s special education policies and laws.

Research

– Ask your child’s teacher what reading program is used in the different tiers of RTI. RTI is school speak for “response to intervention,” and all Tennessee public school students are in one of three tiers. Check those programs against our programs that work page. Remember, this page isn’t fully updated as new programs are developed all of the time. If in doubt, please ask the parents on our Chat Group: Decoding Dyslexia-TN facebook group page. Also, make certain to ask which reading tier of RTI your child is currently in, if you don’t already know.
– Ask your school what reading programs they use in special education.
– Educate yourself on typical accommodations.
– Consider taking an advocacy class via TN STEP or contacting TN Voices for Children (or another advocacy agency).
Connect with DD-TN! We’re here to help! We’ve all been there!

One more note – know the difference in school pull-out services, accommodations and modifications.

These are some words that you will become very familiar with if your child does, in fact, have a learning differences.

– Pull out services usually consists of reading/writing help via a small group and/or one-on-one setting.
– Accommodations are a ramp for learning, such as audiobooks or extra time. These allow your child to do the same work as others, but with a ramp. Think of accommodations as a ramp for a person in a wheelchair. Your child will get to the same place as others, but via a slightly different path.
– Modifications are something to be very leery about agreeing to do. Modifications actually modify the curriculum, such as giving the child easier reading curriculum. This could potentiality lead down a path to not getting a general education diploma in high school, so be very cautious of modifications.

One thought on “Where do I start?

  1. very well written. It is necessary that kids get good care and an appropriate learning environment. Learning disability private schools offer that opportunities to children and there is a good number of such schools available presently.

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