Seeking Advice on Steps to Get My Son Tested for a Learning Disability

Updated on August 16, 2008
B.H. asks from Wylie, TX
37 answers

Hello Moms, I truly beleive that my son has a disability in learning.I have been struggling with keeping him the correct grade level for years. Back where I am from, they passed kids to the next grade just because their cute. I no longer find it cute because my son would not know how to survive if somethinng happened to me. I am still reminding him about basic things. The school system that he is currently in wants to retain him for 2 grade levels. He was already retained in the 1st grade. He is now 12 yrs old. Any advise on how to get him in te right hands to get him the help he needs before it is too late.

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K.C.

answers from Dallas on

My 10 year old son struggled each year in school. I spent thousands of dollars in testing fees to get results that were only dumped by his highly recommended teacher. She did not like to be inconvenienced with paperwork, etc. To make along story short, I took him to Scottish Rite had numerous test all on one day. We went back for results and they were right on with their findings. This information helped us so much!
My son is now attending a remedial dyslexic school called The Master's Academy in Duncanville, TX.
The class size ratio is 5 students to 1 teacher.
We are pleased :)
Good Luck to you!

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A.T.

answers from Dallas on

You should be able to have him tested through the school system he is in. If he is not in public school the school that he would otherwise attend should still provide services.

Good luck, I know how frustrating this can be to deal with.

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L.M.

answers from Dallas on

Try the Sylvan Learning Center. That helped my nephew who was held back twice. I also have a friend who takes her son there and his grades have greatly improved.

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W.S.

answers from Dallas on

The Child Study Center in Fort Worth has an excellent staff. I would recommend Dr. Nancy Hitzfelder who is a developmental pediatrician. You have to complete an application(available on their website) and send in. The staff will review and then make an appointment. They are very busy so it takes several weeks to get an appointment. Insurance is accepted and the fees are on a sliding scale.
Good luck!

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L.M.

answers from Dallas on

Hi B. H:

Not sure if your school have mention to you about Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. But this is a center that service a whole state of Texas and has a department called Luke Waites Center for Dyslexia and Learning Disorders. They test ages 5-14 for problems associated with Dyslexia or some other learning problems. The process is for you to call and request a application for testing. Complete the application send back along with any testing that your child have done privately or from the school. Have you child's physician signed the back of the application (this is a requirement) just authorizing the hospital to see you. Within three weeks you should know whether you are approved or not. There is about a 3 months waiting list because let me tell you everyone comes here.
This hospital is free there is no charge for nothing. Give this a call. I wish you all the best.

###-###-####

1 mom found this helpful
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J.A.

answers from Dallas on

B.,
Do you know a man who is a Mason? Ask him and his lodge to sponser your son to go through testing at the Scottish Rite Hospital for children in Dallas.It took one day of my time and had the results before we left. The most miraculous part was that there was NO Charge at all! The masons defray all the expenses and there were no Qualifications other than being referred by a Masonic lodge.(At that time--, check for the current requirements)
My son went there for testing when he was 6 because he couldn't write or read after being in a Montessori school for 31/2 years.
I found out he was above age level in IQ and some skills, but had a delayed ability to read because of his brain maturity in that area. He started to read naturally at a fourth grade level at age 9. We adjusted learning styles to match his learning disabilities. I am sure you will be very relieved when you hear your son's results and know what the Scottish Rite Hospital suggests as a course of action . They can refer you for help, in the system, or privately. We homeschooled at first and in high school we used Key school in Fort worth, that specializes in students with learning difficulties.
My son is a schcolar in Biblical studies , teaches Martial arts to black belt students, and teaches ballroom dancing privately. He scored twice the normal score on the Navy's entrance exam for recruits. I would never have believed his potential was so rich had I not gotten him tested.

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T.S.

answers from Dallas on

First things first -
Get in touch with your school's superintendent office. Call the main number if you have to. Every school district has one.
Tell them you need speak to someone regarding getting your son tested for learning disabilities. If there is one you suspect, i.e., dyslexia, then let them know, otherwise they do a broad range testing.
They will usually set up a meeting to discuss everything and then schedule testing. Then you get the results. From there, they can place him in either remedial classes or pull him from class for special help.
All of this testing is provided for FREE. The school district HAS to do it, if you request it. And obviously they see something too, otherwise they would not want to hold him back. And they probably want to so as not to affect the school's ranking and/or rating with the state. The higher the ranking, the more money/praise they get form the state, etc.
Now, one thing, and I learned this first hand. Do NOT feel bad about jumping up and down to get their attention.
BE PERSISTENT.
I CANNOT stress that one enough. School districts will drag their feet as long as you let them.
I was promised the sun and moon about my son's testing and it took over 6 months for them to get it done in the Richardson, TX ISD. He was finally approved for reading help with his dyslexia, but I FIRMLY believe if he had been entered in the program when he was SUPPOSED to, he would not be as far behind as he is.
Also, keep copies of EVERYTHING. Get his records from his old school and show where he already repeated 1st grade. He probably needed the testing then and the school just passed him on through.
And if you can afford it, you may check into private schools that specialize in learning disabilities. you may have to sell your soul to afford it, but it will be SO worth it. :)
Another resource, check with your son's pediatrician. Even if it the one you used in the old district. They may be able to suggest some things you can do/places you can go for free and discounted testing and help for therapy / specialized classes to help catch your son up. Summer school and tutoring places do no good if their brains do not learn it correctly the 1st time around.

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N.H.

answers from Dallas on

We had our son tested by a psychiatrist. You can have it done through the school system. We choose to have him tested independently so that there wasn't any bias, state funded/school district limitations. We took him to see Dr. Brandy Miller in Dallas; sorry I don't have her number.

After we received the results from her we requested a conference with our son's teacher and the school counselor. We showed them the results. They are still going to have to test him through the school district so he will be eligible for the special accommodations.

If you are financially able to see an out-of-school district specialist, I would suggest that. If not, I would definitely request testing through the school.

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T.T.

answers from Dallas on

Speak to your child's teacher/principal. They are required by law to administer a test if there is reason and the parent requests such a test. They will call an ARD meeting, test your child and set up a plan to take the appropriate steps to hopefully provide him with the education appropriate to his needs. Don't back down, and God Bless!

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A.M.

answers from Dallas on

I would like to add one big resource to all of the great practical advice you've already gotten. My 14-year-old daughter has dyslexia, ADHD and some other learning differences. She has attended Shelton School (www.shelton.org) for eight years. In addition to offering early childhood through 12th grade, they also have a top-notch testing and evaluation center. The school is the oldest and largest of its type. It is geared to children with average and above average IQs who would fall through the cracks in a traditional setting. The kids graduate and go to college fully equipped. The parents there consider it a real god-send! Best to you!

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L.S.

answers from Dallas on

Hi! I'm a teacher, so I'll tell you what I know about the Special Ed system in public schools:

If you request testing, they HAVE to comply. This will be at no cost to you, and if they discover that he is indeed learning disabled, the district MUST work with you to devise an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for your son that EVERY teacher he has must follow. It will include accommodations (like sitting close to the teacher, frequent repetition of directions, extra eye contact, a special assignment sheet, etc.) and modifications (actual lowering of mastery expectations) as needed.

HOWEVER, it sounds as though your son has been shafted by the system...someone wasn't doing their job, and now they're expecting him to be held back 2 grade levels when he's already been held back one?? That seems to indicate that they've been dropping the ball for some time. It's true, it costs the school system money to test these kids, and it's also true that the disricts push the Special Ed departments not to have too many kids in SPED, otherwise they have to hire more people to monitor. So, here's what you may want to consider instead...

As the other moms suggested, have him tested at Scottish Rite. They specialize in the needs of children, and can pinpoint problems that a general hospital could not. They are the best with diagnosis. They will not fail you. But you have to be willing to sink quite a bit of money into the testing, and you should know that it won't be a one-time thing. You'll probably have to take him regularly for a while, as the tests don't usually take place all at once.

Once he has been diagnosed, which it sounds like he probably will be, I would recommend getting him into a private school for learning disabled kids. He obviously has been ignored by the public school system, and a school that caters to learning disabilities can teach him how to manage his disabilty and give him the tools to be successful in the future, whether he's being catered to or not. I don't know where you live, but you should look up The Shelton School in Dallas. They have a great reputation, and I've had students come into the mainstream school system after having been there during elementary. They were well equipped with knowledge of their disability and the tools to cater to their own needs. They still had to have modifications and accommodations, but they were successful, and that was important. Their website is shelton.org. If you can't afford a private school, then it's up to you to become his advocate. Educate yourself on his disability, and then go to bat when he needs you. Be at every ARD (Admissions Review and Dismissal) meeting, know what's going on, and be willing to stand up for what you know is best for your child. If he needs to be held back, consider putting him in a different school where he might get a fresh start, socially.

The bottom line: knowledge is power. Once you know what's wrong with him, you can get educated about it and move forward. Until you know, you won't be able to do anything. Get him tested, and do it as soon as possible, otherwise you'll just be standing still, and he'll be getting farther and farther behind. Best wishes to you and your family. Please let us all know how it all works out. I think there are plenty of parents who are in the same situation as you and simply don't know what to do. The more awareness we create, the fewer kids will fall through the cracks. Good luck!

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S.S.

answers from Wichita Falls on

That kind of depends on what you mean by, " I think my son has a disability". If we're talking it takes an extra pass for him to learn something - maybe Content Mastery would be of assistance. If he can't read on at least a 4th grade level - well, that's a little something more.

What basic things are you reminding him on? His 5 times tables, or to brush his teeth. Is it a broad spectrum issue (reading, writing, math, history) or just one subject -

Regardless, if you ask, the school has to test. Understand, though, that the typical school's test consists of an IQ test and an academic achievement - and that there has to be a given gap between IQ and achievement.

If your son is a slow reader and having broad spectrum issues, please please please look at the site Irlen.com. Scotopic sensitivity manifests looking like Dyslexia, and screening and transparencies makes it go away.. vs. dyslexia, which involves heavy duty (completely worth it) cognitive training and adaptation.

Regardless, squeak squeak squeak and if you don't get a solid answer, consider seeing an educational psychologist for thorough testing.

S.

Good luck.
S.

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S.L.

answers from Dallas on

Have you had the school test him for any disabilities. Please request him to be tested for bing dyslexia. Good luck. God Bless

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C.A.

answers from Dallas on

The school's special education department should order an ARD meeting on him and discuss different options as far as testing available for you. Is he in a public school? My children are, and my son was tested for free with the school system back in first grade when we noticed a disability, and continually through the years they have been monitoring, tutoring and holding ARD meetings with me, his teachers and administrators twice a year to keep me informed, as well as discuss action plans to make sure he learns to the best of his ability, and after having to repeat first grade that first year we noticed something(reading/comprehension disability, as well as being diagnosed with ADHD), he has succesfully completed each year and will be entering the 8th grade this month. I just keep on top of things, and the school district has a department that can work closely with your son and order any tests that he may need to diagnose and then structure his learning curriculum accordingly.

*By the way, the special education is really just a modified curriculum if necessary and if like my son, will remain in regular classes, doing the regular work, but have help available and tutorials he can go to for the areas he needs assistance in. It's not the 'special ed' some kids think they will be made fun of(like my son did at first)!

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C.G.

answers from Dallas on

Your best bet would be to have him tested with a psychologist or neuropsychologist. If he is in public school, they can provide a basic assessment for you. Otherwise there are a number of options if you choose to have an independent evaluation.

Feel free to backchannel me for more information. Depending on where you live, I may be able to pull up a few referrals for you as well.

~C.

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A.

answers from Dallas on

Here's just a bit of what I discovered with my son:

* The public school system TYPICALLY doesn't test for dsylexia and learning difficulties until after 3rd grade (school district depending; some will after 2nd grade). But, if you are concerned and request testing they HAVE to comply and provide services if needed (regardless of if your child is homeschooled or in a private school). The problem: you may have to be EXTREMELY persistant.

* Your pediatrician can request an evaluation from Texas Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas for Learning Difficulties. You simply fill out the required paperwork and then submit any additional information they may request (prior testing, report cards, etc.) and wait to see if you are "accepted" for an evaluation. As you may know, services performed at TSRH are free and the evaluation your child will receive will be top notch!

Blessings!
A.

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J.F.

answers from Dallas on

Sorry to hear that your son is having trouble in school. If he is in a public school system, you can request that he be tested for special education. With your request the school may not want to test him, but with documation from previous grades and you pushing you should be able to get him tested and them if he qualifies he can get some help. Also should he not qualify then you might think about having a 504 modification put in place for him. The school sould be able to help you. Have you talked to them about the problem? Do you think he might be ADD? If so then you will want to talk to his doctor about it and also his learning problem. Sometimes the doctor can give you some insight. Hope this information helps.

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R.T.

answers from Dallas on

I am sure some of this was covered but as the kid of a special ed teacher and a teacher myself and two kids who have used the system, I feel I have a lot to offer you. First, I am not sure the extent of your childs issues, but one I would not hold him back again for now, second as soon as you are back in school, write a letter to teacher , counselor and principle stating that you want your childs test for learning problems, Give them a few weeks to get school going then start bugging, in texas they have 30 days in which to get him tested . If he has a problem they can address it in class and get him caught up. Also if his issue is Reading and or math you might consider calling Kumon Learning center to get him extra help now , it is not expensive and will build his self esteem. If you want to get things moving faster, you can call Region 10 , they are the top of the systeem and see if they can move quicker.At his age holding him back could cause more harm. I hope this helps.

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B.F.

answers from Dallas on

Have you had him tested in the school district? That would be one of the first steps I would take if it has not been done. Also, you may want to contact the district to see if they have a list of after-school tutors. You could also check your local library or senior centers. They sometimes have programs to help students. He may benefit from some extra individualized attention with school work. Actually, all kids tend to benefit from one on one attention. Usually tutors are not going to cost as much as a commercial program like Sylvan. Also, when school starts you may want to request a conference with his new teacher ASAP. I don't mean stop him/her on the first day with all of your concerns. Rather, after the first day or two, call the teacher or drop off a note requesting a conference to discuss your concerns about your son's academics. As a former teacher it was easier to help students when the parents were on board and wanting to help at home. But, if it were my child, I would definintely first look into getting a tutor once a week even if he does have a learning disability. It sounds like he may need to "catch up" and will most likely listen or respond to a tutor.

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A.G.

answers from Dallas on

Go to Scottish Rite.. I ahte to say ut the schools are interested in saving money not getting the best care for your child. Get him tested there and then they will have to accomidate. Don't know where you live but my sister is a learning therapist trained through scottish rite and SMU and she tutors after hours and teaches in Mckinney ISD. FInd someone that is a CALT. Certified Learning therapists in your area...Momma's know best.. go with your gut! The longer you let then hold him back the faster things start to snowball... School becomes a burden and you struggle to keep your child in school. Self esteem is SOOO important right now and his view of school is linked directly!

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H.M.

answers from Dallas on

I haven't read through all of your responses, so this may already be covered.

First, talk to your school. Since it is summer, just call the office and ask to speak to the counselor. He/She will be able to get you some help. If you ask for testing, they will give it to you.

Also, go to your Pediatrician and ask for a referral to Scottish Rite Hospital. You will fill out a form asking questions about his every day activities and last year's teacher (since this year's won't be able to offer any assistance yet) will fill out the "teacher" form asking questions about his every day activities in the classroom. You'll send that off to Scottish Rite and wait to hear back from them. Your child has to be "accepted" into the program. It's all very technical and based on the answers to the questions by both you and the teacher.

Good luck on getting your son the help that he needs. With him being held back twice already, I'm not sure why the school isn't on top of this already.

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C.C.

answers from Dallas on

I would suggest you contact Lee Ann Hamm, a licensed psychologist who specializes in testing children for specific learning differences. Once you have started that process, then contact Great Lakes Academy, a private school in Plano to set up a tour so that you can look into an alternative to your son's current education. GLA specializes in offering students a safe and nurturing learning environment and the ability to fill in learning gaps. You may want to visit their website at www.greatlakesacademy.us.

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G.W.

answers from Tyler on

YOur school counselor should be able to point you in the right direction. Or maybe call the school district your child is currently enrolled in...

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M.B.

answers from Dallas on

Alot of the advice you have been given is good. The school my son attended at the time provided full on testing, as they wanted to label him ADHD immediately when he started having issues. I fought them tooth and nail as I knew my son was not ADHD. I contacted my insurance, found a specialist (psychiatrist) whose speciality was ADD/ADHD in Austin (at the time I lived there). For three days - my son went to his offices and had 2 hour one on one sessions w/the dr and his team with various tests. I provided all documentation from the school, teachers, report cards, and my own statements.

In the end, it was worth it. My son was diagnoised (spelling) as A.D.D. and even then - there are different levels of it. His was a mild level and with some work and redirection he has been productive ever since.

FYI I did hold him back one grade, and when possible had him take summer school classes to keep his brain cycled as that is a big factor - during the summer he literally would regress rather than progress.

Good Luck!

M.

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P.B.

answers from Tyler on

Insist on an ARD ([something], Review, and Dismissal) meeting to develop an IEP (Individual Education Plan). Insist on testing, insist on whatever you BELEIVE your son NEEDS.

The BEST advice I ever got from anyone for my own child who has special needs about dealing with the schools is:

"The squeaky wheel gets the grease."

In other words, they will give you what you want to "shut you up", so keep on asking.

Sometimes, too, it helps to ask for a few things that are not entirely necessary, but "would be nice". This way if they want to "negociate", you have something that you are willing to "give up" to get the other more important things.

Good luck and don't give up.

Blessings,

P. <><

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P.A.

answers from Dallas on

The school district should be testing him. However, if you are not sure they are really helping, you can call a private diagnostician. My husband and I run a nonprofit that helps families with kids who have special developmental or educational needs. We usually recommend a man named Dr. Lowell Cook. His number is ###-###-####. He will come to you, and he does a complete battery of tests. He will spread that out over two or three sessions if he sees the child getting tired. His fees are way more reasonable than most testing services, and he gives you a very thorough report. We've seen 20+ page reports, including suggestions for what to do. This man is a school diagnostician, and his report should hold up in an IEP meeting as an outside evaluation, though that is never guaranteed.

The tests will cost you the equivalent of a few pairs of shoes, but I'm sure he is worth it to you.

Blessings,
P.

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C.C.

answers from Abilene on

You didn't mention what grade your 12 yr old son is in now. Have you asked the school about testing him? I had this problem with my son when he was in third grade. His school wasn't interested in testing him so I took him to Sylvan Learning Center and he was tested there. He then went to class for 2 hrs every Saturday for a year and a half to bring him up to the same grade level as his peers. It wasn't easy and it was expensive but it was the best decision I've ever made (except I wish I had done it a year earlier-which I would have done if his school had shone more interest - "they" kept telling me my son was just lazy. C.C/Texas

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T.S.

answers from Dallas on

My husband went to a school in Dallas called The Fairhill School. It is amazing, they specialize in children with learning disabilities and help with college prep. They do fun trips to places like London, Hawaii, and Cananda as well.

The majority of the teachers have been there for 15yrs+ and are stil highly involved in my husbands life. They create and life bond!!

Check it out. It would be perfect for you!

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A.D.

answers from Lubbock on

As a former teacher in the public school system, the best advice that I can give you is to write a letter requesting that your son be tested for a learning disablity. I don't know every states laws on this, but I when I taught in Ohio if a parent wrote a letter specifically asking for their child to be tested, the school system had 90 days from the date of the letter to test and meet with the parents to decide what course of action, if any, to take. I hope this helps.

Good luck!

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C.L.

answers from Dallas on

Yes, I teach at Grate Lakes Academy in Plano on Plano lpcated 6000 Parkway. It is a school specialy designed for learning disabled childern. If any thing please call them and find connections through the knowageable staff.
http://www.greatlakesacademy.us/
Director of Admissions and Student Services
Ms. Christina Casanova
Phone: ###-###-#### x 103
Fax: ###-###-####
E-Mail: [email protected]____.com

Regards,
C. Lewallen
Owner of Classy Chasy’s Art Studio
Located at 1110 Bard Dr., Garland, TX
For classes call: ###-###-####
http://classychasysartstudio.blogspot.com

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R.C.

answers from Dallas on

It is the law and the responsibility of the school system to test your son if you suspect that he has learning difficulties. First, contact the school counseling department and let them know about your concerns. They will get in touch with the diagnostician of the school/district to begin the proceedings for the testing.There are a lot of papers that will need to be filled out and a tremendous amount of dialogue that will have to take place so the school administrators can fully understand what has transpired all of these years. I must warn you that this can be a very long process if there is a waiting list already. Sometimes cases carry over from the previous school year. Please do not give up and be very persistent. If you do not understand the legalities of this process, please ask questions. The school administrators, counselors and special education dept. are willing to assist and are required by law to answer any questions that parents may have. Pretty soon the counselors should be returning to school and so it is not too early to begin speaking with them about your son. The earlier, the better.Good luck!

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A.M.

answers from Dallas on

Scottish Rite hospitals test children for free for learning disabilities. A.

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D.C.

answers from Dallas on

You need to get him tested at Scottish Rite. You need a referral. Try the school district, the school counselor, or your pediatrician or family doctor.

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K.M.

answers from Dallas on

If your child's school has not offered to test him, they should. I am a former special education teacher and I can't believe that his former teachers have not filled out he paper work to have him tested, free of charge. It is part of their responsibility and you, as a parent, can request it. The battery of tests they will give him are the same as he will receive from an educational psychologist or the Child Study Center. If after he is tested by your school district, you choose to further it, at the Child Study Center, that is also an excellent idea. But, first, I would demand that they test him and have an ARD meeting to see if he meets the criteria for Special Education placement. Don't walk, but run to your child's school and demand this. It is their responsibilty! Holding him back is fruitless and only hurts him in the long run. Best of luck!

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A.C.

answers from Dallas on

I don't know where you live but as a teacher I highly recommend the Child Study Center in Ft. Worth or Scottish Rite in Dallas for testing. Most insurances should pay for the tests and financial help may be available if you don't have insurance. They offer detailed testing with suggestions on the best course of action for your child's specific needs.

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B.H.

answers from Dallas on

The school district has an obligation to test and give your son the special help he needs. Request an IEP, they have to supply these things, it's a federal law. Do some research on IEP or individual education plans. Schools don't like to do these because it costs the district extra money. God Bless, B.

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J.O.

answers from Dallas on

Hello,

My grandson (11 years old) just went through testing at Scottish Rite Hospital here in Dallas. My understanding is that if you are TX resident, it is free.

They are also doing some other testing with special doctors (neurologists etc) where they now live in Oklahoma.

Contact Scottish Rite Hospital and they should be able to point you in the right direction.

My prayers are with you. . . it is hard to watch our children struggle.

J.

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