Finding Services for Your Child with a Learning Disability-Some Considerations for the Indian Parent

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This is for parents living in the US—if you think your child may have a learning disability, there are specific procedures to follow to get services. While public education is paid for with your taxes, getting extra services can be difficult and time consuming. You have to know the ins and outs of the system.

By the time our (Indian) parents recognize that their child is falling behind and are ready to act on it, they hope that a ‘little bit of help’ will do. School districts will be perfectly happy to provide little bit and no more because they have to fund so many others. As a parent you should push for as much as you can get, because the more intense the intervention, especially at a young age, the better for your child.

Before you go to an IEP meeting network with other parents and learn the correct terminology. One parent asked her child’s teacher, “Are you saying my child is dumb?” This immediately made the teacher backtrack (a fear of lawsuit, what else?) but in the end the mother didn’t leave with a clearer picture of her child’s needs. Certain labels used back in India are not used in the US. It is your job as a parent to learn the difference and ask questions. It can be intimidating, yes. I know we are a bit defensive when it comes to dealing with authorities…so the advice to take an advocate to IEP meetings is very sound.

Don’t be afraid of labels. A label is a means to get funding for your child. Parents have the right to disclose information about the child’s needs. If your child has a label it doesn’t mean your child is any less worthy. What would you rather have? A child who succeeds thanks to professional services which comes with the label, or a child whose struggles you manage to hide because your friends and family will disapprove of the label?

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