Middle School

Updated on September 08, 2011
S.E. asks from Landenberg, PA
14 answers

My daughter is highly anxious, very bright and extremely dyslexic. In elementary we did not get an IEP because we wanted to keep her unlabeled. She gets supportive services after school, but its limited. She just started middle school and I am already freaked out. I told her I would let her decided whether or not to tell her teachers she is dyslexic. But, now I think we may have over supported her all of these years she doesn't seem to care if they see her handwriting and spelling and assume she is really stupid. I said her math teacher needed to know! She agreed to tell her. Should I figure that since the teachers have team meetings that she'll spread the word?

Do I wait and see? Do I let her take some control over this?

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So What Happened?

I guess I wasn't too clear: the lack of an IEP was the school's decision really not ours. We pay for a reading dyslexia specialst who works with her afterschool. But, I spoke, at length with her today and she said we needed to force the school to give her the IEP this year. And she already has gotten negative reactions from teachers when she has told them in the past that she was dyslexic, so it is not always the case that everyone is on board in dealing with dyslexia as they should. We don't treat it like an illness or something to hide, it is something she needs to learn to deal with like being left handed.

Thank you all for your advice it is appreciated.

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answers from St. Louis on

I get the IEP, I didn't get one for my older two. What I don't get is you not telling the teachers. I told the teachers what was going on from the get go. It wasn't until high school that they could choose to tell the teachers or not.

No the teachers will not spread the word, they will assume you have told who you want to know.

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answers from San Francisco on

Absolutely share this information with her teachers, they need to know!
Honestly it's not about being labeled, your daughter has a real learning difference. Her teachers are responsible for educating her and they can't do their job if they don't have all the information. I mean, you don't really want them to think your daughter is just lazy or sloppy, do you?

And I'm all for giving kids ownership of their education but I think your daughter is too young to make this decision for herself. You need to make the call as her mom to make sure her school has as much information about her abilities and limitations as possible.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Is she really old enough to make this decision herself?

Personally, I think the teachers need to be told. They're going to "figure it out" anyway but sadly, probably after a half year of poor grades. Tell them.

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answers from Dallas on

Well coming from a parent of a child that has learning disabilities I can't imagine not getting an IEP done. I understand not wanting your child labeled but your daughter may have missed out on some valuable resources. But with that said, I do understand why you chose not to. I would definitely meet with the teachers and inform them of her situation. If they knew, they may be able to assist her better. There is no shame in needing the extra help. But it would be a shame if she chose to ignore it and not receive the help she needs. Good luck!

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answers from Washington DC on

Some things are not children's respnsibility to tell teachers. A learning disability, dyslexia, ADHD, anxiety issues are a few of them.
I would have a meeting with the homeroom teacher or the one who is ultimately in charge of her and tell her what is going on. Better if you can meet with all her teachers at once. They do need to know.

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answers from Chicago on

As a former classroom teacher, I really think you need to go in and let the school know what is going on. The services and accommodations that a school can provide for students can be wonderful and support her in her learning. She is probably very frustrated because her needs are not being met since her teachers do not know what the problem is. "Labeling" your child is not a negative thing... it is a means of getting her the help and support that she needs. When I had students with IEPs, I did not have to guess what was going on with them or make assumptions about their abilities. I had a team of support staff that helped me accommodate that student's needs and find ways that they could best learn. By asking your daughter if she "wants" to tell her teachers, you may be sending her a message that she has a problem that she should be embarrassed about. Instead, you should send her the message that when her teachers know what she needs, they can help her more. Good luck!

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answers from New York on

I really don't understand parents who avoid thier child being "labeled" when they can get important help that will allow them to succeed in school. My son has language based learning disabilities which includes some dyslexia. I had him evaluated in pre-school and he's had vital services all through elementary school and in middle school. The "label" does nothing more than provide the supportive services your child needs in the classroom - like preferential seating, extra time to take tests, "push-in" assistance in the classroom (as opposed to "pull-out" an extra teacher is in the classroom to assist the kids that need a little extra help).

The IEP and extra services my son has recieved have been essential in his success in middle school (he's in his 2nd yr of mid school). He's been able to attain "creditible" rating on his report cards (one step removed from honor roll) and has only missed honor roll by less than a point. Like your child, my son is a very bright kid who struggles with a learning disability.

My advice from one mom to another - don't do a disservice to your child - have her evaluated for services. Middle school is a different level of pressure - student learn how to keep lots of balls in the air at one time so they're prepared for high school - when it really gets hectic! It takes months to get the evaluation completed and services set up so it will probably be the Spring before she would even begin to recieve extra services. You won't regret it.

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answers from St. Louis on

I get the IEP, I didn't get one for my older two. What I don't get is you not telling the teachers. I told the teachers what was going on from the get go. It wasn't until high school that they could choose to tell the teachers or not.

No the teachers will not spread the word, they will assume you have told who you want to know.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I can tell you that she should have been on an IEP from the beginning. She doesn't have cancer or an STD. She has dyslexia. This is about her learning and coping with a learning disability. Having her learn for her special need would have set her up for middle school. Now, she needs to be put on an IEP. Sometimes you cannot give your child the choices. She needs to have an opinion but at the end of the day the parents and teachers are the ones who will sort out what is best for her and the top priority is her learning in a way that takes into consideration her dyslexia. Labels? No labels. That's a fear and you cannot be afraid to attack this to help your daughter. She needs an IEP set up to get her ready for high school, and later college. The IEP may be mild or may be heavier to start with. It can be adjusted as time goes on to fit her needs. Yes, teachers absolutely need to know! They cannot help her if they do not know her circumstances. Not sure why this is being shut away in the closet. It sounds like you're embarrassed of the situation, for you and/or her, I don't know. But why hide it away? Getting the right help makes your daughter succeed. IEPs are meant to work in a triangle. Parent/teacher/student. When all three are working together for a common goal you will see your daughter doing well. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Do not hide it away. Come out with it so all teachers can work together. She could have gotten a lot more help in the past, but the past is the past. Start now to prepare her for the demands of high school. Get her on an IEP. Say it loud and proud, "I have Dyslexia!" and work with it! It's not cooties, ya know! LOL

K. B
mom to 5 including triplets

Son, 24, ADHD/ODD
Son, 16, ADD & speech delay/lateral lisp
Son, 6, ADHD & speech delay
DIL, 25, Dyslexia

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answers from Boston on

You are doing her a grave disservice by not letting the school know and offer her a plan. Having a label doesn't change the fact that she has learning challenges and can benefit from the support to which she is entitled. Please take charge of her education and partner WITH your school in getting her the best education that you can, which includes an IEP and all of the services that come with it. This will not go away - you have to just accept it and teach her to accept her differences and seek out appropriate support by being an advocate for her and teaching her to advocate for herself, which involves openly communicating about her disability. By hiding it, you are making it seem like there is something secretive and wrong that needs to be covered up.

ETA: I tutor kids in test prep (SAT/ACT) and come across so many who could clearly benefit from accommodations such as extra time or a listening aid but can't get them because their learning problems aren't documented by their school. Dyslexia is a HUGE reason to get standardizes testing accommodations and without this being on her school records for several years, she will NOT get accommodations when taking the SAT or ACT. I have seen a few kids who are otherwise bright, engaged, hardworking and motivated not get into the schools of their choice because they don't test well due to undocumented learning disabilities. It's a shame because these students could have gotten the scores that they needed with accommodations.

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answers from Wausau on

Now is a critical learning time, there is nothing wrong with telling the teachers that she is dyslexic. She is probly more anxious worrying about keeping this secret from the teachers. I say go ahead and tell them, and they can help her with any extra help she may need. Good luck, mama!

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answers from Philadelphia on

Get an IEP. It will be a good support for her so she doesn't get labeled as "lazy" or anything else negative (you said you want to keep her "unlabeled"). The supports put in place by an IEP can assist her in learning how to learn with her dyslexia.
My opinion is based on having a close friend that's had dyslexia all her life & wasn't told by her parents until she was an adult (to this day she states she wishes she knew & teachers knew as she thought she was "dumb"). It is also based on my experience in working with children who have, & don't have (but should) IEP's.
Good luck with this!

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answers from Erie on

I am all for teaching children responsibility, but she is absolutely too young to take control over this. Parents have to own (force the issue, mama!) our kids' educations. I've seen too many kids who didn't think they'd ever want to go to college (or not to a competitive one or not a challegning degree or...) By the time they changed their mind, it was too late to get in all the classes that they needed to get prepared. Who knows if she'll end up getting a degree later. What you don't want is to set the course so that she can't even consider that option. Get yourself over to that school, get her an IEP, and make sure that includes all of the elements that you (and her specialist) agree she needs. Good luck to you and your daughter...


answers from Tyler on

My youngest is dyslexic, we almost held her back and repeated 1st grade, however her Reading Recovery teacher encouraged us to promote to 2nd grade and have her tested for dyslexia. She is extremely smart and is a very hard worker, after only 2 years in the dyslexia program, she promoted out and is coping wonderfully. However, you can't go back and change history, so this is what I would do...get her in with a specialist asap, perferably one with tutoring available that will give her the tools to learn how to deal with the dyslexia. Definitely tell her teachers and her counselor at school, you will probably have to continue doing this every year, I do and we were in the program. Every year I have a teacher tell me thanks for letting them know, they have way too much to do to check out the details in every students file, especially once they get to middle school and the teachers have several classes full of students daily. Having the diagnosis confirmed and placed in her file can also get her assistance on standardized tests. I had the Science test read to my dgtr in the 5th grade since so many scientific terms are spelled very similar and guess what, she was commended! She knows the material, but sometimes the words and letters can flip flop causing wrong answers, there is no need to allow your child to get lower marks because you are afraid of placing something in her file. I do know how you feel, we refused speech therapy for my oldest dgtr because I was afraid, fortunately she outgrew her issue. Dyslexia is not something you outgrow, but you can learn tricks and accomodations to become a success! Good luck, don't regret your past decisions but please do what you can now to get her caught up and on the right path.


answers from Allentown on

Hi, S.:
Was she diagnosed as dyslexic?
Did the school psychologist diagnose her?
Before having her label herself,
have her diagnosed with exactly what
area of support she needs.
Just a thought.

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