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© Gail Underwood Parker

Monday, April 9, 2012

School Bell: Special Education?

Is your child constantly frustrated by school work?  

Now is the time of year to kind of step back and consider whether it is typical temporary frustration or whether the frustration reflects a significant struggle to learn and to demonstrate learning. Schools are required to provide instructional support for children who are struggling to learn and who are shown [by special testing] to have a qualifying learning disability, processing problem, emotional disability or other qualifying condition.

If your child is working hard but making little progress, or is steadily falling behind his/her peers this is a good time of year to consider request your child be tested to see if they need special support to succeed. This problem can emerge at any grade level, but is often noticed between 3rd and 5th grade.

Testing is done within the school day and does not cost parents anything.  The school is required to get your permission before they initiate testing and you will be asked to sign permission for each type of test they plan to conduct.

Schools are required to respond within a specific time frame if you make a written request for an evaluation. When testing is done they will schedule a meeting to review the testing, determine if your child qualifies, and [if so] make a support plan.

If your child has struggled this year, despite reaasonable efforts, it is better to get the evaluation done this year for several reasons. 1- If the child qualifies, information and support plans will be in place when they begin next year rather than if you wait for the evaluation to see how next year goes.  2- The evaluations and questionnaires will receive input from teachers who have worked with your child and know your child this year, rather than if you wait until the fall when the teachers won't yet know your child.

Act sooner rather than later, because the evaluation process takes time and scheduling the followups can sometimes be challenging as well.  If you wait until the last month of school there will not be time to complete the process.

Note: If you have any specific questions, feel free to send them in a comment and I will do my best to answer. After 32 years as a teachert I can probably either answer your question or point you where to find an answer.

Image credits and thanks to:,,

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