The Road to Discovering Part 4: There was still more to be done
Updated: May 5
by Chontae Feldman
December 22, 2015:
I begun to gather numbers and data to present at the school board meeting. Everything I had to do to get Julia help should not have been necessary. I just kept thinking of all the parents out there that don’t know to push. Parents that trust the school\district knows best and will do best by their child. So, I set out to help.
January 15, 2016:
Because of my research, and looking at numbers, I found a school that was doing it better.
I contacted Boerne ISD to discuss their dyslexia program and elementary student identification rate of 5% (state average 2.4%; MISD 1.5%). They have a wonderful district website full of dyslexia information, dyslexia newsletter and the district offers parent meetings (once per semester).
February 23, 2016:
I spoke at the School Board meeting. I stuck to facts and figures on dyslexia and our ISD. I did not stay for the whole meeting, as they could not discuss any of it with me. I was limited to 3 min and when all speakers were done, we all left. I got home just after 8 PM, in time to tuck the kids into bed.
At 9 PM, the president of the school board called to tell me they would like to have me back in April when they have the SPED dept. discuss and answer the questions I brought up.
April 26, 2016:
I walked into the meeting with people in red (to support dyslexia). I was excited and nervous, but hopeful.
There were people here to support dyslexia in the district. I was proud.
Fast forward, the meeting ends. The board joked that it was record time. It was very quick. Yet, no dyslexia discussion. I approached the school board president and superintendent and asked if we were discussing dyslexia. I was informed it was moved to March and discussed it then. I watched the video from the previous month. My concerns were not addressed. I set out to start a new phase. It was recommended I meet with the Senior Director of Special Populations, so that's what I would do.
May 19, 2016:
I created a Facebook support group for parents of McKinney ISD (this group has grown and now represents North Texas). I wanted a place for parents to reach out and get help. Or, if they had been there, to help other parents starting their journey. Since Julia started receiving services, word spread and parents in the school and district were coming to me, asking “how did you do it?”
June 6, 2016:
I met with the Senior Director of Special Populations. We are going to work together to get some useful links added to the ISD dyslexia site. He liked the idea of a newsletter showcasing our specialist and dyslexia info, but no comment on it. And, he asked if I would be interested in starting a parent led support group for dyslexia. Um, absolutely, and it had already started.
Overall I was impressed. He really listened to me and my story and concerns. He asked questions and took lots of notes. I am excited and looking forward to working with the ISD to help these students and parents. I'm also staying grounded and realistic and not getting my hopes up. Taking baby steps.
Side Note: Sept. 10, 2016
The Houston Chronicle came out with the "Denied" series. They too had been seeing what I had been seeing on the numbers of students, however, their report applied to all of Special Education. In Texas, dyslexia is typically housed in General Education under a 504, without the protections of IDEA. Read more about this here: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/denied/about/
Chontae Feldman is a co-founder for The Dyslexia Initiative. She is dyslexic, and a mother of 2 dyslexic daughters.