I am a mom of three and what I am about to tell you may help you find your voice as an advocate for your child’s education. When my first daughter started school, she was well prepared. As a stay at home mom, I had all the time in the world to teach her the alphabet, numbers, shapes, sizes, reading and writing.
We had play dates at the park so she could mix and mingle with other children and found her first friend. Because we moved around a lot due to my then-husband’s jobs, we found ourselves moving in and out of schools, which gave me cause for concerns as each school has their own agenda of what would be taught and at what level.
By the time, my first child was in third grade the material was much harder than the school she was at before. I was noticing gaps in her education. But more so, I was noticing her interest in learning was spoiling and I needed to find out why.
Teachers at the school soon found blame with my daughter whenever I questioned why more detailed instructions, were not coming home with her homework assignments. On top of that not a single notice or phone call had ever been made to me about my daughter’s character yet when it came time for parent teacher meetings it was all about laying blame on the child.
At this point, my questioning her grades going down and lack of interest in reading was going unheard even after I noted several errors in her writing style and homework mistakes. At this point, I had to push hard for my daughter to be tested for a learning disability.
Common things I noted about my daughter were her sudden lack of interest, spelling errors, numbers switched around and that she was saying the words moved on the page.
Once tested and placed with an IEP Individual Education Program to suit her needs, my daughter soon started to do better. In fact, by the 6th grade, she was working at the levels of other children and she was getting all A’s. My daughter continued to do well, and after learning how to manage her disability, received high honors.
My second child had more difficultly; even with all the time I dedicated to preparing her for school she had no interest in writing whatsoever. Writing would be the one task I was hoping the school could help with. Though she tried hard in school we started noticing very similar traits as with my first daughter and I was sure right from the start she too had a disability however the school was convinced she was too young to be tested.
It wasn’t until my daughter reached second grade that I had to force the issue of getting her tested through the school. There was even a meeting, which consisted of myself, her teachers, guidance counselor, principle and school psychologist. I had already handed in the written request for my second child to be tested yet it was being questioned because of her age. They wanted to place her in special classes without even testing her. At one point, the guidance counselor at the school suggested my daughter had ADHD.
The meeting consisted of a group of people from the school trying to explain all the reasons why my child should not be tested. Little did they know I was no spring chicken new to the game; I came with backup. I personally asked the school’s psychologist to be at the meeting. After everyone had their say I verbally requested my daughter be tested and that was when the school guidance counselor made the remark about my daughter being ADHD.
I asked, “Does my child not sit in her seat?”, “Does she disrupt the class?”, and “Does she talk out of turn?” They could not reply to those questions with a yes. Then I asked the school psychology, “If my daughter has ADHD giving her the test would indicate that would it not?” At that time, my point was made and I made it known I wished the school to go ahead with the testing regardless of her age.
You will be happy to know my child did not have ADHD. She had a very similar disability just as her older sister, only hers was a little more advanced as she could know something one day and forget it the next. My daughter is now in 10th grade and doing well in school. Though she still follows an IEP she is working at grade level.
If you believe, your child is struggling in school I highly recommend you request in writing that your child be tested.