Category Archives: > Dyslexia

Q&A: How Will the New 504 Plan Guidance Help My Child?

—————————— a CHADD article

Question: I just read the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has just told schools they need to follow the 504 Plan rules better for students with ADHD. How does this help my child? Does the school have to follow this guidance, or is it just a suggestion? And will it help me when I work with the school to have a 504 Plan created for my child?

—Mom in Colorado

 Answer: We brought your questions to two members of CHADD’s Public Policy Committee and asked them how this guidance was going to help parents and students affected by ADHD. We also talked about CHADD’s role in working with the Office of Civil Rights while it was preparing the guidance.

CHADD members have for a long time noted that some schools and administrators seemed to have difficulty following Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The law provides directives for the education of children with a disability and has been expanded to include children affected by ADHD. The CHADD Public Policy Committee commissioned a survey of CHADD members in 2014 asking for their experiences with 504 Plans for their children.

During CHADD’s Annual International Conference on ADHD, which took place near Washington, D.C., members of the Public Police Committee invited the OCR to present during the conference. Although, the OCR declined, CHADD and OCR representatives met to discuss their concerns for students affected by ADHD.

“It really grabbed them to see the information we gathered—to see the issues coming up around Section 504,” says committee co-chair Jeffrey Katz, PhD. “It started a conversation.”

The committee shared the results of the survey and the experiences of CHADD members, including those on the public policy committee with OCR. The OCR was very interested in the information, Dr. Katz says.

“We shared not only the data, but a range of concerns about the interpretation of the data from parents and our own professional experience,” says committee member Matthew Cohen, JD. “We helped to convince them of the importance of issuing the guidance. And we helped them identify areas that needed to be addressed.”

Mr. Cohen says the committee members discussed complaints made to the OCR from parents who have children with ADHD, along with highlighting the importance of academic accommodations as part of behavioral management for ADHD. They discussed best practices in treating ADHD, he says, and the importance of schools’ compliance with Section 504. The committee members stressed their concerns about inappropriate discipline for students affected by ADHD and how following Section 504 can help reduce the likelihood of students getting in trouble at school.

“We were particularly focused on ways that schools should be intervening and on ways schools could support kids with ADHD,” Mr. Cohen says. “It’s fair to say, because of us, many of the things we discussed are addressed in the guidance.”

Mr. Cohen says that the guidance, which must be followed by every public school in the United States, should help in three ways: it will educate and empower parents to promote their children’s rights; it will better inform schools about their responsibility and how to assist students affected by ADHD; and it will help OCR in how it responds to complaints brought by parents when there is a problem at the school.

“If schools are more aware of what can be done to assist kids with ADHD, there will be less frequency of kids not getting what they need,” Mr. Cohen says. “While the guidance is not the same as law, it will likely affect due process and court hearings regarding kids with ADHD.”

The guidance, he says, brings better clarity to the law and to both educators and parents when they work to apply the law to benefit students, he says.

“There have been many things OCR has addressed piecemeal in the last 25 years. The guidance pulls things together to provide a coherent statement and strengthen their position altogether,” Mr. Cohen says.

Dr. Katz is a clinical psychologist who has worked directly with parents and schools to help create 504 Plans. He has seen firsthand the frustration parents experience when a child who needs assistance is denied a 504 Plan or that plan is not properly employed.

“I always tell parents that I believe the school wants to do the best to help your kid, but they don’t understand your kid,” he says. “My feeling is that before (the guidance), Section 504 was up to interpretation.”

He frequently saw interpretation differences between school districts and even among principals and other educators within districts, he says. These differences led to students affected by ADHD not receiving 504 services or very limited services and accommodations. Many educators, he says, did not acknowledge that behavioral difficulties stemmed from a student’s ADHD diagnosis and could be addressed by a 504 Plan.

“This document says you have to consider that this child may have a disability if these behaviors are happening more frequently than other children,” Dr. Katz says. “There’s still room for the school to say, ‘We see this and we don’t think it happened because of ADHD,’ but they don’t have much to stand on for that.”

The document broadens the view of which students can and should receive 504 services or accommodations, he says. “We want to make sure we’re not missing the kids who need the 504 services.”

CHADD plans to continue the conversation with OCR and encourages parents whose children are affected by ADHD to also give their feedback to OCR, he says.

“I hope the document puts the pressure on schools to improve their services and improve their identification (of students) and accommodations and services to kids with ADHD,” Dr. Katz said, adding he plans to share his experience with the guidance with OCR when the new school year begins.

Parents can learn more about CHADD’s role in the creation of the OCR guidance on the CHADD Leadership Blog and can read the Dear Colleague Letter and Resource Guide on Students with ADHD for more information on how this can affect their children.

See more at:


Orion-Gillinaham tutoring for reading and writing skills in Columbus OH: Adrienne Edwards 614-579-6021 or email

Thanksgiving: ADHD Tips

By Lexi Walters Wright at

[Reading tutoring in Columbus OH: see below]

Interrupted Schedules

If your family is traveling for Thanksgiving, your child may be sleeping in a strange place and following an unfamiliar schedule. Even if you’re hosting, your family’s routines may be disrupted. That’s rough for kids with ADHD.

DO This: Stick to your child’s routines as much as possible. Try to arrange travel or guest schedules so that he eats and sleeps when he usually does. And prepare your child in advance for any disruptions you foresee. Give him an overview of what will be happening beforehand, and then remind him at each stage what’s coming next.

Waiting for the Meal

When the whole holiday is centered on a single meal, the hours beforehand can feel like eternity for children with attention issues. The anticipation may make them bored or cranky, which can lead to squabbles—or tantrums.

DO This: Before Thanksgiving, enlist relatives’ help to line up some morning activities. Could a grandparent or uncle take your child to the park? Might some older cousins set up a family game for the younger kids? Let the kids know in advance what’ll be happening when. This way dinner won’t be the only thing for them to look forward to.

Company Commotion

If your Thanksgiving involves a lot of people, your child may feel upset by the noise and activity. And kids with attention issues may get frustrated if they’ve settled down to read or work on a project and the hustle and bustle distracts them.

DO This: Whether you’re home or away, find your child an “out” spot. Agree on a place where he can go for a set period of time to be alone and listen to headphones, play a game on his phone, or read.

Preoccupied Parents!

Young kids with attention issues often need constant direction from adults. That’s hard when you’re trying to finish making Thanksgiving dinner and can’t stop to play with your child.

DO This: First, try to get as much as possible done before Thanksgiving Day. Make what you can in advance, buy the pies, go potluck for side dishes. That way, you can set aside time to check in periodically with your child. And delegate. Is there a relative who’d be happy to oversee your child for the morning? Give him coloring books, art supplies, puzzles or a new DVD so he can keep your child occupied while you’re busy.

Take Turns Talking

Kids with attention issues may talk nonstop before, during and after dinner, annoying guests. If your child is impulsive, he may interrupt family members’ stories to tell his own. If a grandparent challenges him, he might say something rude.

DO This: Before Thanksgiving, role-play appropriate ways your child might start, join and end conversations with guests. Consider coming up with a code phrase or signal you can use to clue him in if he starts taking over the conversation.

Sitting Still through the Long Meal

Lengthy holiday meals are especially tricky for children with attention issues, who may find it hard to sit through “grace,” let alone a multi-course meal. Add unfamiliar foods and grown-up discussions, and you’ve got the makings for a meltdown.

DO This: Relax your expectations. Thanksgiving isn’t the day to expect perfect behavior, so seat him at the kids’ table. He’ll do best with some parameters, such as not interrupting the adults. But let him wander between courses. If he’s a teen, see if he wants to be “in charge” of keeping dinner fun for the younger guests.


Orton-Gillingham tutoring in Columbus OH: Adrienne Edwards 614-579-6021 or email

+ COBIDA and SPCO Spring Conference in Columbus March 7 2014

Dr Nancy Mather will focus on both assessment and evidence-based intervention for students who struggle to read and spell.

The workshop will be held March 7, 2014, 8:30 am to 4 pm, at Xenos Church, 1340 Community Park Drive, Columbus OH 43229.

She will address

  • the definition of dyslexia
  • the importance of assessing cognitive and linguistic processes including phonological awareness, orthographic coding, processing speed, rapid automatized naming
  • the phases of development when a student is learning basic reading and spelling skills
  • differentiated instructional methodologies for addressing specific types of reading problems
  • how to implement those methodologies

Dr Mather is Professor at the University of Arizona in the Department of Disability and Psychoeducational Studies.

She has served as an LD teacher, a diagnostician, a university professor and an educational consultant.  She is the author of numerous articles and books and conducts workshops on assessment and instruction, both in this country and internationally.

Dr Mather is co-author of the Woodcock-Johnson III and has written books on the interpretation and application of the WJIII.  Her most recent book is Essentials of Dyslexia: Assessment and Intervention (Mather and Wendling, 2012).

More info contact Susan Johnston at

Orton-Gillingham tutoring in Columbus OH: Adrienne Edwards 614-579-6021 or email

+ Council for Learning Disabilities Call For Proposals: Due March 30

other topics: use search box

The 34th International Conference on Learning Disabilities, to be held in Texas in October, is calling for proposals. 

The theme of the CLD conference is “Learning Disabilities: Looking Back and Looking Forward — Using What We Know to Create a Blueprint for the Future.”


  • Panel — Topics should be pertinent to LD and include three or more panelists; and be of use to researchers, policy makers, teacher educators, and educators.  Content should be readily applicable to their professional roles.
  • Cracker-barrel — Sessions leaders should introduce key issues, provide ample opportunities for group interaction, facilitating small-group discussion.  Controversy is okay.
  • Poster — Content should be evidence-based; might include (for example) a synopsis of an intervention study, progress monitoring tools, practices relating to pre-service training , meta-analysis/synthesis of the literature, examination of technical applications.


  • Intervention — Sessions should offer information that helps  implement practices and approaches directly, provide their  documentation as evidence-based, summarize the theory and underpinnings, include relevant data.  
  • Policy — These sessions address system-level issues, systems change, legislative/legal issues, or policy development.  Should delineate multiple perspectives, discuss how a policy impacts individuals, families and advocates.  Proposals should include an explanation of the policy, give a brief background, explain the how and why of its effects on LD people and the professionals who serve them.
  • Teacher Preparation — These sessions should describe evidence-based practices for preparing teachers, advocates and  families.  Proposals should include a description of the  practice and examples of its use in a university/clinic setting, as well as ways to measure effectiveness.
  • Research Methodology — Of particular interest: methodologies that advance the participants’ understanding of how to conduct evidence-providing research on interventions; also how to read research-based articles, follow analyses, design studies and write them up.  Proposals should describe the methodology strategies and how session participants can apply the content for themselves.

For more information and instructions for submitting a proposal, visit

Orton-Gillingham tutoring in Columbus OH:  Adrienne Edwards  614-579-6021 or email

+ It’s Not Too Early: Marburn’s Summer Program

other topics: use search box

Central Ohio’s Marburn Academy in Columbus is the premier school here for bright students who learn differently.

 In addition to its regular school year, Marburn offers a rich group of summer programs to choose from.

Marburn’s Summer Language Program: July 2-31 2012

This exceptional language program is designed for students who need to improve their reading and writing skills.  It has produced dramatic results in helping hundreds of dyslexic students discover the joy of becoming successful readers and writers.

The daily language curriculum includes:

  • A one-to-one language tutorial , using the Orton-Gillingham approach to provide multisensory instruction in linguistic concepts for reading and spelling.
  • Visualizing and Verbalizing  and Making Meaning curricula for improving comprehension, retention and vocabulary.
  • Composition: using computers to build fluency and improve creative use of language.
  • Computer lab work, featuring keyboarding instruction and practice, computer art, desktop publishing of written compositions, and structured practice of reading and spelling skills.  Students use the Lexia Learning fluency software.

The language Program is open to students between the ages of 7-12.  July 2-31, 2012.  Times: 8:45 am to 12:15 pm.  Fee: $1800

Marburn’s Summer  Mathematics Program: July 2-31, 2012

Learning mathematics should be fun, but students who struggle with basic facts or operations often don’t see it that way. 

Marburn’s mathematics program was created to make learning active and enjoyable.  It cultivates the mathematician within every kid.  Students benefit from this program. because mathematics is taught in a social context, with hands-on experiential activities.

Students will

  • Use manipulatives and high interest activities to develop number sense, understanding of operations, and to learn basic facts.
  • Work cooperatively to test ideas and theories for deeper understanding.
  • Use computer programs to practice individualized skills and build fluency.
  • Learn strategies and shortcuts that make problem solving manageable.

The Math Program is open to children in grades 3 through 8.  Dates: July 2-31, 2012, weekdays.  Time: 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.  Fee: $1300.

Marburn’s Summer Written Expression Program: July 2-31, 2012

This structured and sequentially presented program makes use of laptop computers, short engaging assignments, and a focused revision process. Through these methods students improve writing fluency, passage unity, word choice, and craftsmanship. 

Students experience success using writing as a tool to communicate their thoughts.  They become more enthusiastic writers.

The Written Expression Program includes:

  • Creating a positive feeling toward writing by completing a variety of short poems; they will publish finished pieces.
  • Encouraging creative word choice with group interaction and brainstorming to discover lively and precise language.
  • Building and documenting fluency so words flow easily.
  • Using an incremental revision process so  students progress toward confidence and independence .

NOTE: This class is designed for successful readers who continue to struggle with forming ideas and age-appropriate written expression.

The Written Expression Program is open to children in grades 6 through 8.  Dates: July 2-31, 2012, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  Time: 1:00 pm t0 4:00 pm.  Fee: $1,000. 

Marburn’s  Summer Phonemic Awareness Program: July 2-31, 2012

“Phonemic awareness” involves the ability to hear and identify the separate sounds and syllabic units that make up our words.  This skill is now universally recognized as the single most important precursor skill for reading success.

For the youngest students who have low skills in identifying the sounds that make up our language, this highly enjoyable activity-based class is designed to improve phonemic awareness.

Marburn’s Written Expression Program includes:

  • Rhyming.
  • Syllabication.
  • Auditory perception and discrimination.
  • Fluency practice on the computer.

The Phonemic Awareness Program dates are: July 2-31, 2012, weekdays.  Time: 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.  Fee: $700. 

Marburn Academy is located at 1860 Walden Drive, Columbus OH 43229.  Telephone 614-433-0822, ext. 107.

Marburn is a non-profit, independent and state-accredited school for children with learning disabilities.  The Academy admits students without regard to race, color, creed or national origin.

Marburn Academy is  an AOGPE accredited school.  AOGPE is the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitionaers and Educators, which assures superior quality O-G language education. 

Marburn  Academy’s programs have received national recognition for excellence and innovation in education for non-traditional learners.

Minimum enrollment levels are necessary, and Marburn Academy reserves the right to cancel classes in which minimum enrollment is not achieved

Orton-Gillingham tutoring in Columbus OH:  Adrienne Edwards 614-579-6021 or email

+ Central Ohio Dyslexia Conference March 2 in Dublin

other topics: use search box

REGISTER EARLY for Central Ohio IDA Conference

COBIDA Annual Spring Conference
Friday March 2
OCLC Conference Center, 6600 Kilgour Place, Dublin OH 43017.

(Members $85 until February 20.) Non-members welcome. Information and registration at

PARENT TRACK: Expert Panel on Advocacy Matters: Learning How to Become Your Child’s Strongest Advocate.

PROFESSIONAL TRACK: Writing Matters: Developing Writing Skills in Students Who Struggle. William Van Cleve MA

Orton-Gillingham tutoring in Columbus OH:  Adrienne Edwards 614-579-6021 or email

+ OH Legislature Passes Dyslexia House Bill 96!

other topics: use search box

House Bill 96 clarifies the definition of learning disabilities in the Ohio Revised Code to specifically include dyslexia.

 House Bill 96 also creates a pilot project at the Ohio Department of Education including one urban, one suburban, and one rural school district to forge a partnership with the local library system to provide early screening and intervention services for children. Existing funds within the Ohio Department of Education will be used to pay for these screenings, and the inclusion of libraries will help ease the financial burden on school districts.
Next Steps:
House Bill 96 goes to OH Governor John Kasich for his signature.
Orton-Gillingham tutoring in Columbus OH  614-579-6021  or email