Is your student with disabilities in the right school? September 1, 2016

By Susan C. Stone and Mary Jo O’Neill 

School has started.  The late nights with our neighbors are over and it’s time to focus on the upcoming academic year.  You might be concerned about your child’s current school environment.  Not all children can handle a typical education environment.  Alternatively, you might be concerned about your child’s education plan.

Finding the right plan is complicated.  Some learners need to have the curriculum re-taught. Other students need structured literacy methods like Orton-Gillingham or Wilson, or might need more hands-on methods of learning like touch math and/or access to graphic organizers.  Students might need extended time for tests or require audiobooks to help them comprehend the material.  You might question whether the school really understands your child’s needs.  It can become apparent that despite all attempts to accommodate a student, nothing seems to work.

Are you feeling like your child’s academic needs are being met?

If your child has an IEP or a 504 Plan, your school is required to make accommodations specific to your child based on how he or she learns.  Your child might be pulled out of class to receive proper instruction or integrated into a general education classroom.  He or she might be eligible to receive related services such as speech therapy and/or occupational therapy.  There is no one size fits all approach and the current plan may need to be reevaluated to better suit your child.

Are there other school options for students with learning disabilities?

Sometimes, no matter what you try, a parent should explore other options.  We are lucky to have many special purpose schools in Northeast Ohio that can meet the needs of your child.  Whether your child is dyslexic, ADHD, autistic or just needs academic respite, there might be a more suitable match for your child.  Plus, the Jon Peterson grant offers scholarship money for those with an IEP in the state of Ohio. (education.ohio.gov.com)

Here are some of the top special purpose schools in northeastern Ohio:

Julie Billiart School
4982 Clubside Road, Cleveland, OH 44124
http://www.juliebilliartschool.org/
(216) 381-1191
Julie Billiart School nurtures and empowers students with special learning needs. It is a Catholic K-8 school rooted in the educational principles of the Sisters of Notre Dame and welcomes diverse faith traditions.

Lawrence School
Lower School 1551 East Wallings Road, Broadview Heights, Ohio 44147
Upper School 10036 Olde 8 Road, Sagamore Hills, Ohio 44067
www.lawrenceschool.org
(330) 908-6800
Lawrence School teaches students using diverse learning strategies, ignites their potential, and inspires academic, personal and social success.

North Coast Education Services
Services provided throughout northeastern Ohio
www.northcoasted.com
(440) 914-0200
North Coast Education Services provides tutoring for students of all ages.  We tutor all grades and all subjects.  NCES tutors include more than 300 degreed professional, enabling us to provide our clients with the most productive and finest education experience available.

Ratner School
27575 Shaker Boulevard, Cleveland, OH 44124
www.ratnerschool.org
(216) 464-0033
The Lillian and Betty Ratner School is dedicated to meeting the individual learning needs of a richly diverse population of students, fostering in them respect, creativity, and a life-long love of learning. Through its Montessori Pre-Primary, and Montessori-influenced Primary and Middle School programs, Ratner students are prepared for the challenges of rigorous higher education and for productive global citizenship. The Ratner School’s innovative and nurturing environment creates a community of learners where Each Child Thrives

If you have questions regarding your child’s placement, our Education Practice Group has resources to help.  Our Practice can review your child’s IEP or 504 Plan, along with progress reports, to determine whether your child is receiving a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).  If not, the Practice can provide options ranging from renegotiating a plan in your child’s current school or exploring other private placements.

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