My son was diagnosed with dyslexia and dysgraphia by outside professionals in 1st grade. In second grade the school conducted their own evaluation and placed him under special learning disability. He qualified for IEP and received some services in school. He is currently in 5th grade and the school is doing reevaluation test to see if he still has specific learning disability (at least that what the school psychologist explained to me). Obviously his dyslexia did not disappear, so I am now worried that if the school test will show that he is no longer qualifies they will take away his IEP. What would be my steps in case this happens? We live in CA.


Dr. Pierson's Response: 

You are correct—we do not "cure" dyslexia. And, it is the case that many times as children’s skills improve, they will not score poorly enough to qualify for services in the schools any longer. This can be unfortunate because we know that as children get older and move through the grades in school the demands for reading, writing, and communicating change, so many of our dyslexic kids continue to need services to help them work through these new challenges. Some kids need the services all the more because the language of the classroom and curriculum moves from concrete to inferential and ambiguous; vocabulary gets more complex and words get longer; there are a lot more different genres of text to read; writing involves being able to do such things as compare and contrast, persuade, research; and the students are dealing with many teachers for many courses—time management and organizational skills are critical to success.

As the parent, you do have a right to disagree with the decisions made at the IEP. Here is a very good site with information about what to do.

I also suggest bringing an advocate to the IEP meeting. Your local school district Parent Advisory Committee for Special Education should be able to provide you with some names. You might also check here for providers in CA who might do advocacy.

You are wise to be thinking of this ahead of time, so that you can be prepared. We have pretty comprehensive IEP process information here. I would ask for the test results/report to be given to you prior to the IEP meeting so that you don't go in blind. You can reschedule the IEP meeting as well so that you have time to think about what is best for your son. I hope these suggestions are helpful to you. I wish you the best.