Column: For some, starting school can be difficult — here’s helpWe parents are hopeful after this first week of school. We imagine our children excited about classes or academic projects. None of us visualize a child saying, “I wish I could do my English homework, but I just can’t read it."
By: S.E. Livingston, For the Budgeteer News
We parents are hopeful after this first week of school. We imagine our children excited about classes or academic projects.
None of us visualize a child saying, “I wish I could do my English homework, but I just can’t read it,” or “Every time the teacher gives me a direction I can’t remember what to do after the first thing.”
Not all of our children are going to be successful in school. But the truth is this: every child wants to be successful. Every child would love to get A’s. Nobody goes to kindergarten thinking, “I hope I don’t do well here.”
However, when success seems unattainable, many children stop trying and then earn labels of “lazy,” “delayed,” or “difficult.” Dr. Mel Levine, in his book “The Myth of Laziness,” discusses this idea of “output failure” and how important it is as a physician, parent or teacher to recognize it and help the student overcome and succeed.
Many feel this is the job of the school district’s special education department, but parents who try to navigate the bureaucracy of the special education system quickly learn that just getting one’s child into the system is daunting and confusing.
There is a new vocabulary full of acronyms and unfamiliar terms. There is a pile of paperwork which needs to be reviewed and filed regularly. There is a whole set of meetings with professionals and paraprofessionals which need guidance and navigation.
Then there is the child, who is beginning to question whether s/he is just a dummy.
In time for the new school year, the Twin Cities-based PACER Center will be holding a workshop designed to help parents maneuver the school’s special education system. This workshop will provide an overview of the special education process with materials designed to help parents structure their child’s records.
Some of the topics covered will include free, appropriate public education, evaluation, resolving disagreements and the Individualized Education Program.
The PACER Center is a training and information center for families of children with all disabilities. Its goal is to support families with resources so they can make empowering decisions about education, technology, health and employment. Throughout the year it hosts and sponsors a multitude of events designed to help those who struggling with disabilities move forward with their lives.
For a parent, educating oneself is a vital element of understanding and supporting a student with learning struggles. This fall there will be two community education classes targeted to families of struggling
“Dyslexia: What a Parent Needs to Know” will be defining dyslexia and reviewing current research, assessment, accommodations, remediation and helpful technology. Taught by a certified instructor, the participants will walk away with a sound basis for understanding this learning challenge which can affect all academics. This workshop will be held on Sept. 24.
“Dysgraphia: What a Parent Needs To Know” is another community education workshop which will address the neurological disorder of written expression otherwise known as dysgraphia. The classroom time will be devoted to understanding how to detect, assess, remediate and accommodate dysgraphia. The workshop will be held on Oct. 8.
Both workshops cost $15 each. Participants can register through the Duluth Community Education website. For more information, visit http://www.isd709.org/district/departments-3/ community-education
Monthly Budgeteer columnist S.E. Livingston is a wife, mother and teacher who writes for family and education newsletters in northern Minnesota. E-mail her at se_livingston@ yahoo.com.
“Dyslexia: What a Parent Needs to Know”
$15, held Sept. 24
Register at www.ISD709, Community Education
“IDEA: Understanding the Special
Presented by the PACER CENTER
Free. 6:30-9 p.m., Monday, Sept. 30
Starboard Room, Hampton Inn, 310 Canal Park Drive
Register at www.pacer.org/workshops
“Dysgraphia: What a Parent Needs To Know”
$15, held Oct. 8
Register at www.ISD709, Community Education