Canada is one of the only countries in the industrial world that does not recognize the term “dyslexia” in its school systems. Most people in the school boards will refer to your child’s condition as a ‘learning disability’, which is acceptable, since dyslexia is a disability to learn.
If you believe your child is having problems in school, you should first approach the classroom teacher with your concerns. She may wish to involve the Special Education Teacher, who will do some informal testing on your child. The Special Education Teacher will probably set up an I.E.P., which stands for “Individualized Educational Plan”. This plan is a program for your child that states the long and short-term goals, the present level of functioning and measurable objectives to be attained.
Accommodations and/or modifications to the program will be explained to you in the meeting you have with the teachers involved.
Accommodations are changes in the classroom environment, and change “how” the child is learning.
Some examples of accommodations are:
- preferential seating
- provided with a designated reader or scribe
- not having to copy from the board
- not having to take notes
- having extra time for assignments and tests
- given a lesson outline
- visual organizers
- technology support
Modifications are changes to the program and change “what” the child is learning, e.g. a grade six student may be learning grade four mathematics, while still in the grade six classroom.
If your child is showing no signs of progress on an I.E.P., you may want to proceed with an IPRC.
An IPRC stands for Individual Placement and Review Committee, and will require some testing before it is held. You may access this process by informing the Principal in writing of your wish for an IPRC. The Principal will give you a copy of the Board’s “Parents Guide to Special Education”. There will be educational professionals at this meeting, so come prepared with your list of questions. You have the right to bring another person to this meeting.
During the meeting, your child’s needs’ will be discussed, and also whether those needs’ can be met in a regular classroom. If the Committee feels they cannot, they will suggest the best placement, services, and equipment for your child. Usually testing has been undertaken to justify this placement. The student’s IPRC will follow them to another school, high school, college or university in their O.S.R. file.
If you do not agree with your child’s placement, or do not understand it fully, you are not obligated to sign the document at that time. If after careful consideration, you do not agree with this decision, you have the right to appeal it in writing to The Director of Education. If after three months from signing the agreement, you still do not feel comfortable with it, you can request another IPRC meeting.
Psychological Testing is administered by a psychologist, and is required to complete the IPRC process. The test will describe the child’s academic skills and overall intellectual potential. These academic skills are the very ones that your child is weak in. Their scores are averaged and an IQ will be calculated. These tests have been normed on an average sample of students. Children that have learning disabilities will not do well, as they are being tested in areas they are weak in. Therefore, these students may show a low IQ score.
One my pupil’s psychological testing placed him in the 1st percentile. That is really, really low. Before placing him in a specialized classroom, his mother enrolled him in our reading program where he completed Parts I and II. He caught up with his peers, went to college and then to University. The possibilities for him are now endless.
Never give up on your child.
“Every child is gifted. They just unwrap their packages at different times”– Michael Carr