Tuesday, May 7, 2013

School Says Dyscalculia is an Excuse, Doesn't Exist

VISITOR: I am a counseling professional and grandpa of a 6th grader in Arkansas who I know has dyscalculia, but the school dismisses the idea and says dyscalculia doesn't exist and is only an excuse. Where can I have her evaluated for dyscalculia?

DYSCALCULIA.ORGThe school must evaluate her for a specific learning disability in mathematics (they don't have to call it dyscalculia, but that is another term for SLD-M). 

Follow this guidance:  FAQ:    Is it Dyscalculia (Math Learning Disability)?
    Guidance for students age 5 to 21
 
Let me know if you need assistance. Dyscalculia.org does evaluations, but you should let the school do one at their expense, and if you disagree with their findings, then you can get a second opinion at the school district's expense. Then you may want to have dyscalculia.org do it, or contact an expert in your area (if there is one). I will do some searching for you.
The parent will start by putting in writing to the school principal (email is recommended), a formal request that she be evaluated for all areas of suspected disability. Use the LD Checklist (under Guidance) to find her weak areas. 
They have 60 days to schedule and complete testing and report the findings to the parents and student. Start now, don't wait for the start of the new school year, even though they will try to convince you to do so. That is a time buying strategy that will result in another wasted year, because they won't schedule her testing until November and then will have delays for vacation days, and before you know it, it will be nearing the end of her 7th grade year. Tell the parents to be persistent and insistent that it gets finished this year. Its not their fault that school let her slide with skill gaps for 6 years already. The school system is responsible to educate her. Have her skill gaps grown or remained consistent on state standardized tests year after year? If so, school is guilty of not recognizing and addressing her learning difficulties. 
Another issue is that school is supposed to identify skill deficits and intervene, then report on the "response to intervention." This is known as RTI and is done before referring a student for SLD evaluation.
So, your questions are:
"What have been the interventions tried and how has she responded?"
"If adequate progress has not been made, then why hasn't school referred her for an evaluation for learning disabilities?"
"What were the specific strategies employed to get her to perform at grade level?"

"How large are her skill gaps?" [chronological age vs. performance age and skill grade level vs, actual grade level].  

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