Choosing the Right School for Children with Mild Learning Disorders
Tips for finding a school when your child has dyslexia

 
 
 
Find out…
  • If the school offers accommodations and modifications

  • If the school offers IEPs (Individualized Education Plans) and what they might be

  • If the school really understands dyslexia and the needs of children with the disorder

  • Which reading program the school uses

  • About The American Academy at American Heritage School

In the past, not many schools had programs that supported children with learning differences such as dyslexia. Today, there are several educational options, which means you need to conduct research to ensure a school is a fit for your child.

What should you look for? What questions should you ask? We provide tips so you can find a school environment that will help your child succeed and grow academically and personally. 

The basics of researching schools

It is important to start by finding out about the school’s educational philosophy regarding students with dyslexia. You also need to find out about the school’s accommodations and modifications for students with learning difficulties. 

The right policies will ensure that your child will have the extra resources he or she needs to be successful.

Understanding state education requirements

There are several state laws that you need to understand when researching schools. By law, public schools must provide certain services for students with physical or developmental disabilities. The first is called an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). IEPs are designed to ensure that students with disabilities have an individualized, adapted, and assistive learning plan. 

Private schools often have similar adaptive plans, too. If you are looking at private schools, research the Special Education Reimbursement Law to see if your family may be entitled to tuition payment assistance. 

Questions to ask at any school

We can now talk about things to consider when looking at a school, whether it is public or private. Here are three questions to ask.

1. How much does the school understand about dyslexia?

A school may say they have a program for students with dyslexia, but is it a good program? You need to determine the teachers’ experience level and “experts” who will be instructing your child. Do they actually use the word “dyslexia”? How familiar are they with the disorder? What reading methods do they use to teach children with dyslexia? 

It’s a good idea to interview the administration, teachers, and other parents. You also want to find out about class size to ensure your child has the individualized attention he or she needs. Ask if you can observe classes and watch how teachers interact with the students. Plus, pay attention to whether the students seem happy.

2. What kind of reading program does the school use?

There are many different systems geared toward students with dyslexia and other learning difficulties. The system that the school uses should have four key elements:

  1. Explicit

  2. Systematic

  3. Sequential

  4. Multi-sensory

These elements help students process new information by engaging all their senses. The program should also provide comprehensive instruction so students learn to write effectively, as well. 

3. What accommodations does the school provide?

Accommodations can be important for students with dyslexia. Does the school allow extra time to complete in-class assignments and tests? What about extra time to finish standardized tests?

Other accommodations can include an assistant to read questions aloud or special seating arrangements. Or perhaps the school will allow your child to use an electronic device such as an iPad, Livescribe, or computer to record lessons and help take notes in class.

Ask if the school has a Services for Student Disabilities Coordinator or similar position. Does that person have the qualifications to know what accommodations students with dyslexia need?

Dyslexia at The American Academy

The American Academy is a specialized program designed to teach students with dyslexia and other learning difficulties. We provide Individual and Targeted Attention for students, including multi-sensory teaching methods and reading programs that incorporate the latest educational research and resources. We also employ ESE (Exceptional Student Educators) certified teachers who have training and experience with dyslexia. Plus, we have full-time assistants in all lower school grades, and they work together with classroom teachers to provide a comprehensive education for every student.

Want to learn more about Dyslexia, a neurological disorder, including the challenges and gifts of dyslexia? Listen to "The Gift of Dyslexia" our latest episode on Experts in Learning Differences, A Speaker Series hosted by The American Academy, featuring dyslexia expert and educational trainer, Lori Freeland.

To learn more about The American Academy program and how we can support your child's academic success please contact us directly.