Re: LD schools in Fairfax County?
Date: June 23, 2011 02:27PM
> I, too have a son who had severe learning
> disabilities throughout his entire academic career
> -- dyslexic, difficulty processing information, on
> and on. He has since graduated high school a few
> years ago (Thank God), something we were not sure
> in the beginning would ever happen.
> We were in PW County, so I can’t help with what
> schools your child should go to in FRFX, but will
> tell just a little of my/our experience. Starting
> in first grade, I found that teachers were
> allowing my son to “just sit there” and was
> told by his teacher, “he can’t do what the
> other children do”. With a shrug of their
> shoulders, they couldn’t say what was wrong and
> didn’t seem to care, not really wanting to talk
> with me, BUT telling me that he most probably will
> not be able to learn. What?! Second grade
> wasn’t much better and I was beside myself.
> Third grade, we moved to another home, another
> school and I was scared to death. “They don’t
> know my son, what if they treat him the same way,
> what in the world will I do?” When the school
> year began, I requested a meeting with the
> Principal, telling of the concerns I had for my
> child, what his past experience was and that we
> needed serious intense help, would I be able to
> find this at this school? I was introduced to
> their LD teacher who ended up being my child’s
> angel. Someone who changed his life. This person
> cared, reeeeally cared about my child. For the
> next 3 years, she worked with him daily and kept
> in touch with us regularly through out high
> school, having become a very dear friend.
> Sidenote: for dyslexia where the words/letters may
> run or fall off a page that a person is trying to
> read, she found that holding a small piece of
> see-thru thin colored acrylic sheet – in red or
> blue, over the letters on a page that he was to
> read --- the letters then DID NOT run off the page
> any longer. Therefore, his aggravation subsided
> and he could concentrate on sounding out the word.
> Give it a try, maybe it will work.
> What I learned as the parent of an LD child:
> *YOU are your child’s best advocate. FIGHT,
> FIGHT, FIGHT and NEVER give up, no matter what is
> said to you. If someone doesn’t listen to you
> over here, go over there – just keep on until
> someone will listen and is willing to help.
> Break your neck to get to every single meeting
> (IEP, whatever) and argue if you need to.
> * “Your child learns differently” (is what I
> was told and it held true). The magic is finding
> what your child responds to. No, not easy at all,
> but do-able.
> *Who said your child is abnormal?! What’s
> normal? Don’t we all have areas in our lives
> that maybe we can’t do or do as well as someone
> *Yessss, you will have many a sleepless night
> trying to figure out what to do, just DON’T give
> *Annnd, yes you will help with ALOOOOOT of school
> work. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
> * Now I know that all feel one way or another
> about this subject …, but at one point I was
> told (not by our LD teacher), but someone from the
> public school system suggested STRONGLY that it
> would be best to have my child put on one of these
> drugs—such as Ritalin, Adderall or Dexedrine.
> Then I was told NOT TO EVER have my child take any
> of these drugs. Reasoning told to me: “So how
> will your child cope in life after school and no
> more drug?” I then refused, no matter what was
> said to me, to have my child prescribed one of
> these drugs. I know it’s different for each
> case, just reeeeally educate yourself on this
> matter, before jumping in. For some, it really
> does help and they need it, for others, not.
> * Your child can and will be a productive member
> in society! Don’t ever doubt that.
> In the state of Virginia, if your child has a
> reading problem and has an IEP—by law: during
> test time, this child can be pulled from class,
> read the test by a teacher, to be given the
> answers by the child. Many parents do not know
> At the very beginning of each year, all the way
> through and through out high school – I called
> each teacher, LD teacher and counselor. Told them
> the situation with my son (many times the
> individual teachers may not know the full
> situation or know at all) and kept them on their
> toes and told them I would—each one of them,
> e-mailed them each and every week throughout the
> school year and if they didn’t e-mail back, I
> called and if I couldn’t get hold of them or get
> a call back, I went to the school. “How was
> everything going?, Was there anything he needed to
> work harder on?, Was he falling behind
> anywhere?” On and on and it’s a fantastic way
> to find out what assignments are coming up and if
> all of their assignments are being turned in or
> not. Man, I know these people were glad to get
> me outta the school system! LOL.
> The person, whom ever is working with your child:
> you will be able to tell if they are really
> concerned with your child or not. Some, you never
> hear from. These are not the people you want
> working with your child. Seek out another and
> don’t be afraid to stand up for your child.
> Others, you will be kept abreast of what is always
> being done with your child – that’s what you
> With ALOOOOOOOT of very hard work, this child whom
> it was once said will not be able to learn,
> graduated high school, walked the stage and
> received his diploma. He is very successful at
> his place of employment and is now also enrolled
> in college. You would never know by looking at
> him or speaking with him that he’s gone through
> the problems that he has, the ways in which he was
> taught (differently) boggles my mind, but got him
> through. He was taught techniques that still get
> him through to this day and I, Thank God that I
> fought as hard as I did and never gave up. He is
> now a very well adjusted, confident young man and
> he knows more than most that anything is
> It’s a very long haul, No matter how daunting,
> no matter how exhausted -- DO NOT GIVE UP, I pray
> for each of you and truly hope that all works out.
I will say I am happy your child was successful and is currently in a good place. A lot of what you mentioned is true as teachers, we don't know everything we don't get the full story....lemme be honest sometimes we don't want it. You need to know though, that unless your the childs case manager then you are not entitled to all the detail...the math/science/english teacher doesn't get to know the little intimate details and frankly, if they have 8 mainstreamed students in each of their 5 classes that'd be a lot more stuff for them to deal with on a regular day to day basis.
I am fairly positive each one of those teachers wanted to ring your neck everytime they saw an email pop or a message on the phone. Then again, I bet about 4 each year were so on top of things that you never had to worry about them.
My biggest question is did your son ever stop actively advocating for himself? Did you help him to learn that sometimes he needs to be responsible for what happens?
We see this so often in teaching not just among regular students but SPED students and ESOL students that parents don't let their kids accept responsibility. At some point, did you ever think that emailing every week was excessive or when your son was a second semester sophomore or junior that every two weeks would be okay for an email or that maybe he should have started to step up and ask each of his teachers the questions you were asking? And then you following up with him about what he was told?
All I'm saying is that this generation of kids; these are the skills they lack most personal responsibility and self-advocacy. It's unfortunate because in the real world; there are repercussions for not knowing these skills.