There are children of every race and creed who have learning difficulties.There are also those who are t misdiagnosed.because of situations beyond their control. My children were bused from a working class predominately black neighborhood, to attend elementary school in an all white district, where parents were doctors and lawyers.
We were told that Crystal Spring elementary was top of the line and number one of all public school, in the area, including middle and high school.. it was suggested that an education in this facility was the equivalent of private school, because parents could afford resources not available to other districts.
There was however one disturbing trend in this school. Every young black male in our neighborhood was retained at least once, and all were put in special education classes, including my oldest son. 10 out of 10 boys between ages of my first 2 children had this happen to them This is a trend that seems to be playing out around the nation.
At the time my son was first enrolled, I had an old school theology.I assumed that 2 years of private pre school would more than prepare my first born for kindergarten. And that like myself, and many generations before my child would attend kindergarten, inn order to learn, but I was wrong.
I did not know I was supposed to do the job the teachers were getting paid for and the he was to enter kindergarten already knowing what I and others of previous generations had learned there..Had someone only told us, my husband and I would have been prepared. Instead my son was retained in kindergarten, labeled as ADHD, and spent much time in special education classes.
Today he has his masters degree in special education, so he can help other children, like himself. y daughter did not have any difficulties, and at one point was in advanced classes. Prior to our third child, and second son enrolling in kindergarten, we were determined not to have him follow the path of his brother, and other African American boys at this school.
My husband, daughter and I had him reading on a second grade level prior to his enrollment. We put forth an extra effort with him, that we did not know was needed with our firstborn.And it paid off. We did this because we found out from several educators that the Crystal Spring curriculum, was more advanced than that of other elementary schools where they had taught..
One teacher said that what she was teaching third graders at her current school, had been taught to Crystal Spring children in second grade. I assumed wrongly that all schools in the city taught the same curriculum, at the same time because of state guidelines. I inferred from this knowledge, that many of the boys, ho were labeled as being behind, would have been on schedule in another school.
Here are some tips to keep in mind that should help your child.
1.Parents need to teach their children, as much as possible prior to their entering the educational system. My grandmother always said that black people have to work twice as hard to get half as far in life. Although you may not be dealing with the overt racism of my grandmother’s day, this advise is a great motivator.
2. Do not make assumptions. Know the facts about the school district, the school itself and the educators who will be teaching our children. Do not turn a blind eye if indeed your child has a learning disorder. Do not use the race card when it is not a factor.
3. Work with teachers, not against them. Attend meetings and make your presence known. Do not argue with school personnel. Enter every meeting as informed as possible. Know your child, and what they are up against. Send emails, and keep abreast of your child’s progress.
4..Be a part o the solution and not the problem. . Make sure you are in on your son or daughters IEP, individual education plan. Let school officials know in a polite manner when you disagree.
5. When possible take advantage of tutors, after school programs and any assistance that is available to help your child. Should psychological and medical testing indicate there truly is a learning difficulty, explain t your child that LD is simply learning differently. Help your son to know his strengths, and accentuate them.
6. Emphasize the importance of an education, over fame and fortune. Have your son read Up From Slavery by Booker T Washington. This book shows how hard Washington worked to get an education. Both my oldest son adn I have a copies and read it frequently.