This article was originally published in Dystinct Magazine.
“I always viewed myself as the stupid slow kid who just couldn’t read or spell. I had minimal self-worth from an academic perspective, which quickly spilled over into the personal areas of my life, which in turn affected many of the choices I made, many resulting in negative behaviors” ~ Stacey
The struggle is real for parents of students with dyslexia who are tirelessly trying to get public schools to acknowledge the existence of dyslexia and then understand and/or acknowledge what an appropriate remediation is for a student with dyslexia.
In most cases, parents often look to IDEA to use as a reference point in school meetings to support their requests and this often includes using the word appropriate when describing a remediation approach. The problem is that when Congress enacted IDEA they did not define what is appropriate and instead left that determination up the school personnel, but why?
So, how is the concept of appropriate defined for students with dyslexia?
Dear Struggling Student: I Failed a Test this Year
For those of us who work with students with dyslexia, and don’t have dyslexia ourselves, we have to be extremely observant of our students. We have to develop empathy. We have to understand the nuances of each and every one of our students. I never tell my students I know how they feel. I make a very conscious effort to never tell them, or insinuate, they aren’t trying hard enough. But I am human. I have gotten frustrated, but I pull it together quickly and I verbally let the student know the problem is my teaching, not their learning. But nothing seemed to connect me more with my students than what I shared with them this year.
Data data data! Eligibility decisions and progress should be based on more than cold hard quantitative data because there is the equally important qualitative data that is more often than not, completely ignored in the decision making process. Qualitative data can include observations, miscue analysis, writing samples and observations of performance in timed and untimed situations.