by Kathy Kuhl Here are resources for “A Parents Guide to Best School Options for Students with ADHD and LD,” my workshop for ADHD Experts Webinar and Podcast, May 11, 2022. I include questions to ask as you search.
- “Best School Options for Students with ADHD and LD,” ADDitude Magazine.
- Search for schools near you (public, magnet, charter, private) using SchoolChoiceWeek.com.
Public school options
- “Know Your Rights: Students with Disabilities in Charter Schools” Dept of Ed. factsheet ed.gov/idea/files/dcl-factsheet-201612-504-charter-school.pdf
- National Alliance for Public Charter Schools org/about-charter-schools
- “Understanding charter schools vs. Public Schools,” US News, 10/19/2021 usnews.com/education/k12/articles/understanding-charter-schools-vs-public-schools
- Understanding IEPs and 504s,
- Find your state’s federally funded Parent Training and Information Center or Parent Resource Center. https://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center/
- Pam and Pete Wright, special education law experts wrightslaw.com
- Susan Yellin “Top 10 IEP & 504 Plan Problems: A Troubleshooting Guide,” ADHD Experts Webinar #391. additudemag.com/webinar/iep-504-plan-top-problems-solutions/
- “What is a Charter School?” National Charter School Resource Center, U.S. Dept. of Ed. ed.gov/what-charter-school
- Free online school programs & part-time online public schooling schoolchoiceweek.com/guide-to-online-school/#sectiononlineschoolresources
- Research your public schools at these sites, courtesy ADDitude Magazine:
- American School Directory
- Great Schools
- The National Association for the Education of Young Children
- The Magnet Schools of America is a non-profit organization that provides additional research and resources.
- U.S. News & World Report also publishes an annual ranking of the nation’s top magnet high schools.
- Bi-annual charter school report from the Center for Research on Education Outcomes.
- The Center for Education Reform offers an interactive tool for finding charter schools across the nation.
- U.S. News & World Report also publishes an annual ranking of the nation’s top charter high schools.
- US News article comparing charter to other public schools
Private Schools and Pods
- At School & Student Services, fill out a Parent Financial Statement to find out what you may expected to contribute. solutionsbysss.com
- New US DoE guidance on federal funding of some services for students in private school never enrolled publicly https://sites.ed.gov/idea/files/QA_on_Private_Schools_02-28-2022.pdf
- Find an online private school: https://schoolchoiceweek.com/guide-to-online-school/#sectiononlineschoolresources
- Find an independent educational consultant https://www.iecaonline.com
- National Association of Independent Schools, “Find a school” https://parents.nais.org/find/define-your-ideal-school/
- Learning pods, micro-schools, law in your state: https://schoolchoiceweek.com/learning-pods/#sectionstaterules
- ADDitude Magazine recommends:
- The National Association of Independent Schools is a good starting place for families researching private schools.
- The National Center for Education Statistics maintains a searchable database of private schools.
- The best private schools in the nation are ranked annually by Niche.
Tutoring and Dyslexia specialists:
- My post on finding a dyslexia specialist to help your child (with decoding as well as fluency) http://www.learndifferently.com/2017/09/28/reading-without-understanding/
- https://www.ortonacademy.org and https://www.imslec.org can help you find the closest training centers for dyslexia specialists.
- Many resources at hslda.org, including:
- homeschool law for each state.
- Some state homeschool associations listed, which may list support groups, coops, group classes, and more.
- Extensive special needs section
- video on homeschooling as a single parent.
- “Online, co-op, tutorial… Which high school courses are right for my teen?”
- Writing transcripts: Janice Campbell’s Transcripts Made Easy.
- Homeschooling good for gifted:
- From education consultant Stephanie Frumpkin, “Homeschooling Gifted Children”
- Some homeschool group programs include special needs students. Examples: Firm Foundations Academy in Pennsylvania. Eden Hope Academy, which is classical and inclusive. Learnwell Collective is in North Georgia but has an online option.
More from the presenter
- Kathy Kuhl, “Lessons Learned — and Shared — by Homeschool Families That Help All Students.” ADHD Experts Webinar #190.
- Kathy Kuhl, “Homeschooling—Not What You May Think.” NovaDCHADD webinar January 31, 2022. youtube.com/watch?v=v8IBaf3k8lw&t=136s
- Kathy Kuhl, Homeschooling Your Struggling Learner. Learn Differently, 2009. Download chapter 1 and learn more here.
Questions to ask as you search
Ask the student’s current teachers, therapists:
- What kinds of structures and routines help?
- How much help do they need with executive functioning skills?
- What worked best?
- What drove the student crazy?
- What worked in special subjects?
- What helped in lunchroom, on the bus, in the locker room?
- What helped when child began to dysregulate?
- What worked when the child didn’t have their aide/paraprofessional?
- Let top 6 suggestions guide you as you search.
~ Source: Leigh Ann Cahill, Director, Independent School Options. independentschooloptions.com
Ask any school:
- How many hours of training are given to teachers on teaching kids with ADHD and LD, and what kind of training.
- How are disciplinary actions tailored to ADHD kids? (E.g. how do teachers respond to someone wiggling in their seat? How is speaking out of turn repeatedly dealt with?)
- What accommodations are provided for dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, and/or autism?
- What remediation and accommodations they provide,
- How they teach non-linear, out-of-the-box learners?
- How they teach executive functioning skills?
- If and how they allow for and tolerate movement, fidget toys, etc.?
Are you considering online school or classes? Ask yourself:
- How well did your student cope with online learning during the pandemic? How would this be different?
- Will your student work better online than in person?
- Does your student like to check off boxes, are they self-motivated?
- Will they ask the online teacher for help when needed?
Ask the online school:
- What remediation and accommodations they provide, and how,
- How they teach EF skills?
- How they allow for/tolerate movement, fidget toys, etc.?
Ask private schools:
- “Ask if the reading specialist use an Orton-Gillingham-based approach” [as recommended by the International Dyslexia Association]. ~Carol Barnier, dyslexia specialist focusing on dyslexics with ADHD.
- “Determine what’s most important to you…. Develop a set of questions… and an answer key to guide you through interviews.
“Involve your child in developing questions and answers.”
~ John Willson, SOAR Academy.
- “Ask about professional development/teacher training with the general ed. and specials teachers, not just the learning specialist.
“Ask about the type of work expected–not just volume, but is it mainly essay writing, worksheets, and note taking, or are the students learning how to learn as well?” ~ Leigh Ann Cahill, education consultant, independentschooloptions.com
Realize that many homeschool groups and are collaborative, grassroots organizations run by parents, and not funded by your taxes. As you ask questions, remember you may be a member, rather than a customer. I strongly recommend disclosing disabilities before enrolling. I discuss how to talk with your child’s teachers here.