Why I’m celebrating getting the word “dyslexia” into my daughter’s IEP

Over the years, my husband and I have had many goals for getting our daughter the best help possible. One goal has been to get .

It took us six years, but we finally did it! Our daughter will be starting sixth grade with the actual name of her specific reading disability included in her documentation.

Why is this such a victory for us? Because it means a lot for her.

Our daughter was first identified with dyslexia at the end of kindergarten. From the start, my husband and I have made it a priority to work with her school team to use the word. It’s important to us because we feel that including it in her IEP benefits all of us.

Here’s how.

It can help her get the best supports and services.

Once a child is identified with a (including dyslexia), schools must provide specific intervention. That’s a right covered under the special education law , and also some state laws.

It’s always made sense to us that the IEP team would name our daughter’s disability in her IEP so it could nail down the right help for her.

It keeps the focus on monitoring progress.

We’ve always felt strongly that the progress our daughter makes in her dyslexia intervention program should be monitored. And we’ve wanted that done as part of her IEP goals and objectives.

Doing it that way helps us better understand her progress. We think it also helps to ensure that the school delivers the intervention in an appropriate and consistent way.

Plus, IEPs have built-in progress-tracking, so we want to take advantage of that, too!

It encourages self-awareness and self-advocacy.

We’ve always used the term dyslexia at home. Our daughter, now 11, has found a lot of comfort in understanding why she struggles with reading and spelling. We want her to feel that her school understands it, too.

Our daughter attends her IEP meetings and helps make decisions about her education as part of the team. So it only makes sense that she’d expect her school team to include her dyslexia as part of these conversations.

Also, she can be a more effective self-advocate if she can point teachers to her specific dyslexia needs on her IEP.

It makes meetings with the school team more productive.

Including the term dyslexia in the IEP makes it easier to talk with the school team about our daughter’s needs. We know ahead of time that we’ll have the opportunity to discuss our dyslexia goals and objectives.

We also know the team will be prepared to talk about her needs in those terms. It gives us peace of mind that we’re all on the same page.

So what finally led to the school putting the term dyslexia into the IEP? We think it was a recent letter that was released by the U.S. Department of Education.

The letter explained to schools that the terms for different learning disabilities can be used in IEPs. It also said the terms should be used if that helps a child get the right help.

We’re excited! It may have taken a few years, but we’re hopeful that using the word dyslexia in our daughter’s IEP will make it much easier to work together as an IEP team.

And the best part? Our daughter knows that her dyslexia is real and that she can trust her school team to talk with her about it during her IEP meetings. We can’t put a price on the sense of ownership and security she gets from that.

Our daughter is proud to have dyslexia. Now she feels free to talk about that, and much more, during her IEP meetings.

About the author

About the author

Lyn Pollard is a writer and mom to two kids who learn differently.


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