Comments that Parents Hear: “Your child is too smart to have an IEP.”

Fact: Intelligence has no bearing on disability or need. Even individuals with genius level IQs can have a disability that affects their ability to access the curriculum.

A student with a disability and “high cognition” can have needs (organizational skills, homework completion, social skills, counseling, and classroom behavior, etc.) that need to be addressed through special education and related services.

IDEA does not require schools to help a child reach their potential. However, OSEP does say that the school should “consider information about outside or extra learning support provided to the child”.  This would include support the family is providing directly or through tutors, assistive technology, related service providers or information on the amount of time the child spends studying and doing homework.

Continue Reading


Advice for Parents of Kids With Learning Disabilities

Was your child recently diagnosed with a learning or attention issue, like dyslexia or ADHD? Would you like some advice from parents who are farther along in the journey?

As part of Understood.org’s Real Parents, Tough Topics series, Understood has brought together four parents of kids with learning and attention issues. Watch their conversation as they each share “What I wish I’d known sooner” about their children’s issues, working with schools and more.


Understanding Dysgraphia

This article from Erica Patino and Understood.org will help you understand what dysgraphia is, which skills are affected by dysgraphia, how dysgraphia is diagnosed, conditions related to dysgraphia, and how you can help your child.


You probably hear a lot about learning and attention issues like dyslexia and ADHD. But chances are you don’t hear much about dysgraphia. If your child has trouble expressing himself in writing, you may want to learn more about this condition.

Writing difficulties are common among children and can stem from a variety of learning and attention issues. By learning what to watch for, you can be proactive about getting help for your child.

There’s no cure or easy fix for dysgraphia. But there are strategies and therapies that can help a child improve his writing. This will help him thrive in school and anywhere else expressing himself in writing is important.

Continue Reading


Comments that Parents Hear: “We place all children with Autism here.”

The IDEA regulations put an emphasis on students being served at their home campus. Courts, hearing officers, and the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) have allowed schools to place some groups of students with disabilities on one or more campuses with non-disabled students rather than on every campus.

However, the law and regulations put a priority on the concept of students being educated with their peers and in the general education classroom to the extent possible. There also must be a “continuum of alternative placements” within the school.  Also a child with a disability is not to be “removed from education in age-appropriate regular classrooms solely because of needed modifications in the general education curriculum.”

Parents should ask for the rationale for this practice and if exceptions are made and under what circumstances. Chances are the district has made exceptions for specific students. The parent could then discuss at least an exception for part of the day. Placement decisions are to be individualized and should be reviewed periodically. One size fits all models are not individualized. Circumstances/needs could have changed so that the student could be returned to the home campus at least part of the day.

Continue Reading


My Child Has a Lot of Trouble With Social Skills. Should I Be Worried About Autism?

This Q&A is from Understood.org and Sheldon H. Horowitz, Ed.D. 

My son has a lot of trouble with social skills, and I’m beginning to suspect he has autism. What’s the difference between autism and the social challenges associated with learning and attention issues?

Social challenges are one of the hallmarks of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Children with high-functioning autism or Asperger’s syndrome may share some characteristics with kids who have learning and attention issues. For example, there’s a lot of overlap between nonverbal learning disabilities and Asperger’s syndrome.

Kids with milder forms of ASD may also share some characteristics with kids who have social communication disorder or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It’s not uncommon for children with these conditions to repeat a joke in the wrong place and at the wrong time. They may have trouble finding the word they want to say. They may also struggle with the back and forth of conversation that seems to come so naturally to their peers.

Continue Reading


Nonverbal Learning Disabilities

This article from Understood.org will help you understand what Nonverbal Learning Disabilities (NVLD) are, skills affected by NVLD, how NVLD is diagnosed, and how you can help your child.


Many people think of “learning disabilities” as issues with verbal skills such as reading or writing. But what if your child has strong verbal skills and a big vocabulary, but doesn’t understand when somebody is being sarcastic? What if he reads at an advanced level but can’t tell you the most important parts of the story?

These are classic signs of nonverbal learning disabilities (NVLD). NVLD is a brain-based condition that affects skills like abstract thinking and spatial relationships. While NVLD can affect your child’s learning in many ways, it creates an even bigger challenge when it comes to your child’s social life. Read more about the signs of NVLD, possible treatments and ways you can help your child at home.

Continue Reading


Comments that Parents Hear: “We do not evaluate students for dyslexia.”

Many schools do not understand dyslexia or have staff trained to evaluate for dyslexia.  While schools may have dyslexia programs, they are often weak or not available especially at the middle and high school levels, although they are required.  Many students with dyslexia are served in special education programs which may or may not be appropriate.

In Texas and a few other states, schools are required to have specific programs for students with dyslexia that are not part of the special education program.  The Dyslexia Handbook: Procedures Concerning Dyslexia and Related Disorders is at http://tea.texas.gov/academics/dyslexia/ 

Continue Reading


Noneducational Community-Based Support Services

In 1995, the Texas Legislature appropriated funds for the provision of noneducational community-based support services for certain students with disabilities and their families so that those students may receive a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE). These funds may be used only for eligible students with disabilities who, without the provision of noneducational community-based support services, would remain or would have to be placed in residential facilities for education reasons. The intent of the state legislation is for schools to provide services that are unallowable purchases with education funds, to help families of this population care for their students, and to enable families to better cope with having an individual with a disability at home.

Continue Reading


Dyslexia: What Is and What Isn’t?


If you’ve heard the term dyslexia and aren’t sure what it means, you’re not alone. People tend to have a lot of questions about dyslexia. Is it a general term that covers many kinds of learning issues? How is it different from (or the same as) a specific learning disability? The answers here can help you develop a better understanding of dyslexia.

What exactly is dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a brain-based condition. It causes difficulty with reading, spelling, writing and sometimes speaking. In people with dyslexia, the brain has trouble recognizing or processing certain types of information. This can include matching letter sounds and symbols (such as the letter b making the buh sound) and blending them together to make words.

Continue Reading


Dyslexia and Anxiety: What You Need to Know

Kids know how important reading is. They hear it from their parents and teachers starting at a very young age. So when kids with dyslexia struggle with that vital skill, it can create feelings of anxiety.

In most cases, those feelings are passing and limited to situations that involve reading. That might be anything from reading a menu to taking notes for a book report. But sometimes, kids with dyslexia and other learning issues develop a bigger problem with anxiety.

Continue Reading