What is a learning disability?
It is important to recognize that every student learns differently and has a variety of learning strengths and weaknesses. A learning disability, on the other hand, is a diagnosed neurological disorder. A learning disability is diagnosed by a qualified professional and is based on discrepancies between academic and cognitive scores gathered from a battery of tests. It is important to understand that a learning disability is not linked to innate intelligence.
I am concerned about my child’s academic challenges. What do I do?
If you are concerned that your child is experiencing significant academic difficulties or that he/she may have a learning disability, please contact your child’s Advisor or grade level Dean first. The Advisor or Dean works closely with the Learning Specialist, who will help identify the student’s difficulty based, in part, on teacher comments and classroom observations, and make referrals for evaluations or other appropriate recommendations.
We are considering getting an evaluation. Who does the testing and where do I go?
Testing for learning disabilities is done, in most cases, by outside psychologists or neuropsychologists. After the student support team has concluded that a learning disabilities evaluation is recommended, the Learning Specialist will make referrals to an outside evaluator from our recommended list. Evaluations have to meet both Head Royce and College Board/ACT requirements (see “Criteria for Documentation” above).
We have done the testing and my child has been diagnosed with a learning disability. What’s next?
1) Please submit the evaluation, including all test results and scores, to the Learning Specialist in your division (please see guidelines for documentation above). A copy of the report is kept in a confidential file in the Learning Specialist’s office. The scores/information are used to provide effective support for your child, and to help determine eligibility for accommodations. This information is not part of the student’s cumulative folder and is not shared with other schools or with colleges.
2) The Learning Specialist and the Division Head review the evaluation. The Division Head approves appropriate and reasonable accommodations if the documentation supports them. We attempt to review any newly submitted documentation in a timely fashion. However, please allow up to four weeks before expecting a response to ensure thoughtful consideration and effective coordination to meet the student’s needs.
3) The Learning Specialist summarizes findings (strengths, challenges, diagnosis, helpful strategies and school-approved accommodations) and shares them with the student’s teachers, advisors and grade-level Dean. This information is updated frequently and communicated to the student’s new teachers at the beginning of each school year.
4) Self-advocacy is a vital piece in the continued success for students with learning differences at Head Royce. Students are strongly encouraged to contact their teachers on a regular basis to discuss their learning profile and accommodations. Members of the student’s support team, as well as student mentors, are available to assist in this process. Please see the self-advocacy section under Upper School above.
Does Head-Royce grant accommodations for ADHD?
If your child has been diagnosed with AD/HD and accommodations are needed, please submit a letter from a certified medical professional stating the diagnosis and explaining recommended treatment and needs. Additionally, the School and standardized testing agencies will ask for a complete psycho-educational evaluation demonstrating functional limitations, explaining how ADHD is impacting the student’s academic and day-to-day functioning. An AD/HD diagnosis alone is NOT sufficient to receive accommodations at Head Royce, nor does it satisfy College Board or ACT documentation requirements.
Does Head-Royce grant accommodations based on psychological disorders?
In some instances, Head-Royce MAY grant accommodations if a student has a psychological disorder. The School’s guidelines are in line with College Board requirements. You must submit documentation of the initial evaluation in which the psychiatric disorder was diagnosed. If the diagnosis is more than 12 months old, a psychiatric update, completed within the last 12 months, is required. The update should describe the current impact of the student’s disorder as it affects the student’s ability to perform at school and the present course of treatment. In addition we require that the student make periodic appointments with the School’s Counselor.
Do you have support for parents?
The Learning Differences Parent Network (LDN), a Parent Affinity Group, is a supportive forum for parents to discuss topics and share personal experiences regarding learning and attention differences. The LDN participates in several school events throughout the year, and the steering committee members are available year-long to speak with parents individually. You can find more information about this group under “Parents” on the Head-Royce website.