Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A visit with the Elementary School's Principal

I did it! I plucked up the courage to talk to our local elementary school's principal. Why did I do this? Because I wanted to know what elementary schools in my area were doing for Dyslexic children. I wasn't seriously thinking of sending my kids to school, but I was interested in the thought of imitating/getting help from/ or even sending my kids to be tutored by the school system.

The Principal, Mr Bennet, was super nice. He made me feel totally at ease. He is exactly what you would really hope a principal would be.

But what does the elementary school a block away from my home offer my dyslexic son? Not much.

One on one support is reserved for children who are very high needs. VERY high needs.

But there are things they are doing. Small groups of 4-5 kids are kind of group tutored in some instances. There are these cool study rooms attached to classrooms where children who need extra help can go to work on computers or with a teacher's assistant or the teacher.

Children with special needs get ipads so they can verbalize their answers for tests and things.

Teacher assistants are assigned to classrooms where there are children that might need extra help. These assistants are the teacher's tools, so the way they help in the classroom is up to the teacher.

He kept mentioning speech therapy that they offer, but I'm not sure how that would help dyslexic kids. It might, but I'm not sure how.

Teacher assistants are well educated and very experienced. Teachers are of course well educated and very experienced. They are trained to recognize children who are having difficulty and to assimilate different teaching tactics and methods to help the situation.

These teachers meet with the parents three times a year. Once to decide the strategy, one to assess whether or not to adjust the strategy, and once to decided whether or not it was successful.

But is there someone who has been trained to teach dyslexic kids specifically? Most likely no.

So----what did I get out of this meeting? That I am for sure doing the right thing for my kids by teaching them one on one and training myself to be a dyslexia tutor and consistently teaching them with tried and true Orton-Gillingham methods.

I also got the reinforced notion that it is a good idea to get Maxwell "coded" as dyslexic for things like the ACT and college. We're in the process, but it's a VERY slow process.

Also, I got reminded that I should talk to Maxwell's doctor. I really should get his hearing and eyesight tested.

I was a bit sad that they didn't really have anything to offer. When I get burnt out, (and I do quite often,) it would be nice to have some kind of "professional" swoop in and make everything right.

I was not surprised either though. I have heard from local moms who have recently started homeschooling because their child had dyslexia or irlens syndrome and just kept on getting moved forward even though their learning was not moving forward.

I'm glad I went. I'm glad there's a public school. I'm glad I homeschool.

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