On any normal day, school was challenging for my 6th grader, who was diagnosed with dyslexia and dysgraphia. He exceeded expectations in other subjects, but written expression and handwriting were always a point of frustration. His performance in these areas was a painful contrast to his otherwise strong grades. Over time, his self-esteem became impacted by his desire to strive in all areas and we made the decision to enroll him in a private school. This decision was based on researching the additional support and resources that would be available to aid his performance in the classroom, such as the ability to type and print his assignments versus handwriting them.
Things were beginning to stabilize before COVID-19 caused schools closures. Schools were scrambling just to begin classes online, so custom-designed programs for kids with 504 plans couldn’t be easily accommodated. This was very overwhelming for him. As a parent and psychologist, I knew that I had to look for other options and turned to the National Institute for Learning Development (NILD), which has a tool to identify local therapists for providing services that address his areas of need and, in this case, even virtually.
The additional support has been instrumental for my son to continue his progress, but the reality is that not everyone is able to secure private help for a variety of reasons. In fact, I know others who have sought help, only to get stuck in circuitous paths because of limited, even misguided, direction. It is imperative to understand your student’s rights so that you can be empowered to support them. Turn to resources from organizations like the NILD and International Dyslexia Association (IDA) to explore their services, such as lessons on how best to work with your child or to take advantage of state-run programs.