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Which School for Dyslexic Child?
Hi, My just turned 6 year old daughter is in the process of getting assessed for Dyslexia, Dysgraphia and possible ADHD. She is currently in Kindergarten. I was wondering if anyone in the community has a positive experience currently in a private school (we are moving to Alameda and hope to find a school no more than 25minute drive) that is supportive and accommodating to their child with Dyslexia. I've seen the reviews for Raskov but they start from 2nd grade, and we are trying to find a school that would accept my daughter this school year and also be a place where she can be supported and still engaged. She is a super bright kid (even her teachers agree)- exceptional in some areas- beyond her years- but struggling in reading, handwriting, audio memory, and time management/organization. Also anyone have experience with the public school system in Alameda who has a child with Dyslexia- do you feel supported? Did you keep your child in public or were forced to take them out to homeschool or private school? Thanks, R.
After loads of review of past posts and current I am posting to ask if anyone has advice regarding middle schools that are private. We have found our private remediations went well but our child needs more. Do we do outside support ,special ed therapist/Lindamood bell/Making Math Real/Pace while mainstreaming or enroll in a private middle school. If anyone has recent experience with Raskob/Star/OA/? I would appreciate any guidance.Our Neuropsych is a big fan of Charles Armstrong but we are in the east bay and its a big commute. Advocate loves STAR. Our child has severe dyslexia and is bright. Doing great socially and loves his sports and music. What to do? any help appreciated
We went through several Ed. Therapist until we found one that connected with my daughter. Lindmood Bell is good but, expensive and you can do that over the summer. I have heard that Making Math real is a good program too.
Landmark Summer Camp has a good summer program. I'm not sure which STAR school you are referring to. You can talk to your daughter to see how she feels too. I know it is a difficult decision. I think you should look at the whole child- academics, socially and extra activities. You can email me if you have more questions. oam
As a public middle school teacher I can assure you that what my son is experiencing at Raskob is far and away a superior education when compared with what my district would have offered. (Mainstreaming into classes of 40 for core subjects, a PE class on an asphalt black top with 50 kids, and no elective because that would be when he got a ''study skills'' class supervised by a special ed teacher.) I feel greatful everyday that between financial aid and scrimping and saving we are able to make it possibel for him to attend Raskob. I definitely recommend the school to any family who has a child with a verbal learning disability. Definitely give them a call to see if you can get him in for fall. They are very careful to only admit students who they know they can help, so you dont' need to worry that they will string you along just to get you in the door. glad to be Raskobian
Recently our son was diagnosed with severe dyslexia. We live in the east bay and are looking into schools which know how to teach bright kids that have Dyslexia. Raskob has some reviews, but I was hoping for something recent. He is in third grade. And if you went to a school which teachers kids with this LD, what kind of changes did you see? What was the environment like? Teachers? Recreation? Any and all information would be appreciated while we are trying to sort out what to do. Thank you, Anon
My daughter is dyslexic and barely holding her own in a traditional private middle school. I'd like to hear from other parents about their experience in a high school or middle school that is particularly caring of kids who have learning difficulties. I only know of Raskob, which is specifically for learning disabled kids, and would be interested in hearing responses from parents about this school and others that mix kids with and without learning disabilities. D
Arrowsmith Academy is a high school near the UC Berkeley campus.... (click "Arrowsmith" to see the full review)
If you are thinking of Junior High School, how far are you willing to travel? Star Academy in San Anselmo is reputed to be excellent for kids like your daughter. They have a new program (as of a year ago) which goes through high school, though they have been, traditionally, a junior high school.
Those are the two with which I am familiar, but I do think there are others, and there are ways to include an individualized plan with professional support into a regular curriculum as well, which would broaden your search.
But the first step would be to contact a professional
who deals regularly with teens with learning disabilities.
There is a host of them. You may also feel free to write to
Good luck, Tobie
My child has mild dyslexia. I was wondering if there is a support group in the East Bay for parents with children who have dyslexia. (The support group I attended focuses on more severe special needs).
I had my kid in a Berkeley public school, but they were reluctant to notice there was a problem, saying it was developmental. Finally, we made the move to a private school, and privately paid for assessment.
The private school has been very helpful, and accommodating, but my child is unhappy at school, finding the work difficult (reading and spelling below grade level), and, compared with others, feeling slow and dumb, therefore not liking to go to school... on the other hand, learning a lot, and the teacher is highly communicative and figures out special ways to accommodate problems-- plus is highly attentive. As you can understand, I am torn about making the move to another school. (We tried, for a while, a school that let kids approach subjects at their own rate with not much teacher help, an enjoyable experience but not enough drill to help master subjects).
I would like to hear from parents who have dyslexic kids in either a Berkeley Public School or private school, particularly in upper elementary and middle schools. Does BPS accommodate kids with mild Learning Disabilities, making sure they are keeping up and learning? What are a few good private junior high schools to consider? Finally, do you know of any psychologists who work with dyslexic kids? (And, oh yes, information on special gadgets, like typing machines that correct phonic spelling, etc.)
This service is federally mandated and funded, even for kids in the private ed system. Testing began about 6 months after our initial application for help, and an IEP (Individual Education Plan) was in place a few months after that. However, it took a full year to complete paperwork and testing by the BUSD, and a good bit of follow-up advocacy was also required, to establish (1) our son had a mild learning disability; (2) that he qualified for remedial help in reading; and (3) he also qualified for help in occupational therapy, with fine and gross motor issues.
The crucial aspect in getting the IEP from the district was that testing established a significant quantifiable gap between academic achievement and intelligence quotient (IQ). We, as parents, had to gain the allegiance of a BUSD RSP (Reading Specialist Program) teacher to influence the BUSD psychologist administering the IQ tests to acknowledge this disparity. We also advocated with an administrator in the central BUSD offices.
During the time this lengthly procedure transpired, the BUSD dropped its program to offer remedial services to private school kids, saying that the federal govt mandated but did not fund such services. (However, testing services are still provided, as they are federally funded.) Law suits were filed shortly thereafter. We do not know the outcome of these legal struggles, and took other measures to cope with the issue.
The following year we moved to El Cerrito (for other reasons) and transferred our son to the local public school, in order to be sure of receiving remedial services we could afford (4 hrs RSP/wk + 1 hr. OT/wk). In addition, we hired a private learning specialist for 1-1/2 hrs per week (rates at $60 to $65/hr). We continue with the private specialist through the summer. Once our current school district was satisfied that the IEP was legitimate, they were, and continue to be, entirely supportive.
Results have been quite gratifying and successful. There will always be learning issues. They do not go away. The goal post moves as the child develops, but he is now reading and beginning to write at grade level for his age, and above grade level for his academic grade placement (you remember he was retained). The school district has been supportive throughout, and is not trying to cut services, even though he has moved into the normal performance range. In addition, he gets additional time when taking state tests.
It's a long haul, but it is one of my great satisfactions that we have stuck to our goal of getting services for our son, and the success of our persistant efforts has made a very special bond between us and our child.
The fact that you have a teacher who is willing to go out of his/her way is 90% of the battle so I wouldn't suggest that you change schools. However I would strongly suggest that you try investigating some non-invasive but physiologically-based approaches to dyslexia. A lot of learning disorders including dyslexia are rooted in the fact that different parts of the brain aren't talking to each other right. There is a book called "infinity walk" which has lots of bi-lateral exercises -- that is the real cheap approach. Alternatively, various forms of biofeedback including neurofeedback have been very helpful for dyslexia -- kids have shown gains of several grades in just a few months once the circuits are working better. There are two recent books on neurofeedback -- one by James Evans Intro to quantitative eeg and neurofeedback and one called 'a symphony in the brain' but I don't remember the author.
The younger your child is the easier it is to get him/her to comply with exercises and feedback approaches -- don't wait until they are an adolescent because it really gets tough to get compliance and then and you start to reap the harvest of many years of a kid feeling bad about her/himself. They see themselves a losers, get rejected by the "cool" kids, start to hang out with other losers, get into alcohol and drugs, cut school, get into more trouble, etc. etc. etc.
The Berkeley Public Schools does accommodate students with mild Learning Disabilities. If your child wasn't eligible for special education, he/she may be eligible for a 504 Plan (generally a regular education procedure but since your child is in private school, not sure how that is handled). You should contact Sally Sweatfield at the BUSD Special Education Office regarding your concerns. Share with her the private assessment and ask about a 504 Plan. I am not sure how private schools accommodate students with 504 Plans.
On yes, about special gadgets, like typing machines ...I would talk to someone from the Center for Accessible Technology (841-3224). They are great. Wednesday afternoons are open resource days. Membership isn't expensive either. They provide wonderful suggestons. Doreen
His end of year report is streets ahead of his mid-year one, with many comments from his teacher about his improved "attitude".
His school did offer a program, but it seemed less focused, and they were already full up with kids with much more severe problems ( he was reading at a "reasonable" level for a boy, according to his teachers). I was much more concerned that he should feel good about himself, and not believe he was naturally stupid. He was really upset after the first session, claiming I thought his brain was no good, but after the big improvements we've been seeing, he seems to be okay about it. I was pretty worried that if it hadn't worked, he never would have forgiven me, though.
The exercises are daily, quite fun, and have had a good by-product in that his father does them along with him. He has also decided to take up boxing, since he now has so much upper body strength and balance....
My nephews, who have a different and more severe dyslexia, have used a different program in England called "Tow to Toe" (or "Torture to Torture" according to my sister-in-law) which has also been effective, but it has been a lot of work over a full year, on top of two years of less effective help before that. It involves a lot of repetition, as far as I can understand, but I really don't know much about it.
Every kid is different when it comes to reading and writing problems - you may have to search around a bit to find the program that's right for you. I certainly found the sensory-motor approach relatively painless. If it's working you should be seeing effects within a few months, that's the bottom line. Fiona
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