Here is another question I got today:
T is 12 years old. He does not know the “ch,sh, wr,ph, tr, fr, st”, sounds. A lot of time the teacher just let him draw on paper. He is capable of learning. He can memorize every word in a movie after just watching it once! So why can’t this almost thirteen year old boy, read.On IEPs, they put goals like , “will be able to read at third grade level by spring, or something like that. Well, good grief, he is going into 7th grade! I just don’t get it. They won’t let him in regular LRC class, they had him in the one below it. So he started to act like those children so he would fit in. He regressed. We know that if he had an individual paraprofessional assistant that was just for him, that he could be in that LRC class. The school said it is not in the budget. He has aspergers, and adhd. He does crafts, and everything else his cousin does, and learns easily. They just did not spend enough time teaching him to read. It is as if the school system doesn’t really care. He needs one on one reading help. HELP
Your concerns are not uncommon, and your son’s difficulty in mastering those letter combinations is also very common. First, you have to get your ducks in a row as far as documentation and what you are asking for. Do you have documentation of his regression in skills? On an IEP, his abilities should be listed under Present Levels of Progress or the PLOP section. If he has regressed as you said, it should be in there–one IEP should have his abilities listed one way and a subsequent IEP should have him described as having lower levels on the PLOP. Does that make sense?
If that is not properly documented, then I would ask for a reading evaluation to see exactly where his abilities are now, as compared to the last time he was tested, particularly if he’s not making any progress.
Hopefully you can gather the documentation necessary to show that he does need to be around typical peers.
Now, on to his reading ability. Districts are required to provide evidence-based instruction. There are literally dozens of types of reading disabilities. If you think your son has been improperly diagnosed as far as his reading ability or disability, ask for an IEE (Independent Education Evaluation). You can find a list of evaluators here. Requesting an individual para is not the best approach, in my opinion. You want to request the specially designed instruction, and again-evidence based, that will best suit his needs. The end result may be a para sitting with him during LRC, or it may result in him getting 90 minutes a day of Wilson (which is what Wilson says, no less!) or getting Lindamood-Bell instruction or Karen Kelly’s program….the possibilities are numerous! LRC may not be an appropriate program for him just yet. Also, I’m sorry that the school district is tight on money. We all are. But it is their responsibility to provide appropriate instruction (FAPE) for all kids. It’s up to you to help document what is appropriate–I wouldn’t expect them to come to this conclusion, if it’s going to cost them more money.
Also make sure as you go through IEP processes with him, that each and every time that you do type up your Parental Concerns for the IEP and that they get included. By law, they are required to consider every suggestion you make, and list reasons why they did not choose to implement something. Read #3 and #5 in this post.
So to recap and summarize:
1. Get his needs documented.
2. With the team, develop goals.
3. Get him strategies (SDIs) to help him reach those goals.
Good Luck and if you have any further questions, ask away!
ETA: I forgot to say this in the original post! If your son has regressed, you may have some compensatory education issues in front of you. In other words, the district owes you for education that he lost and what it will take to get him caught up. Another reason to look for a special education attorney. You also didn’t say anything about ESY (extended school year) but he is probably eligible for ESY services as well.