October 2012 : Helping Your Child Read to Succeed
30 questions to ask when you interview the reading specialist
“I don't know what to ask. My son recently was diagnosed with a reading decoding problem. It sounds so technical. Aaron is in the second grade and he needs intervention NOW. I was given three specialists from my neuropsychologist and they are all supposed to be good. However, I do not know what to ask. Can you help me?”
“I'm a parent of a 20-year-old son. He is attending college in business administration. He doesn't have much reading in his classes because most of the classes involve finance, economics, and lots of discussion. Matt will be taking the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) in one year. We know that he will be required to read lengthy text. Matt recently told me that one of his professors suspects he may be dyslexic. Is it too late for him? Can he be helped?”
“My daughter's reading therapist is so strict. It is not fun for her. On top of that, Amy does not like to read. It just made the whole process so excruciating and exhausting. Are there ‘fun' therapists around?”
These are statements from individuals I have counseled. Everyone was worried and I can certainly understand their fears. Hiring a reading therapist will take time and much thought. Asking specific questions will help you determine what is best for you and your child.
I suggest that you and your significant other interview reading specialists either over the phone or in person. The reading specialist should be willing to answer any question to clarify their role and to help your child succeed.
The following are some of the questions you may want to ask before you meet with the reading specialist:
What are your credentials in reading remediation?
How many years have you taught reading?
Do you come to the home or do we meet in the office?
Would you like me to send you information such as educational records, previous testing reports, and standardized test results before you meet with us?
Will you contact my child's teacher and talk with my significant other?
Will you observe my child in class?
How many hours a week should my child have this training?
What is the cost of the sessions?
Are fees negotiable?
What is your policy on cancellations?
Do you work with other team members such as a neuropsychologist, pediatrician, and speech-language therapist?
How can parents help with remediation?
What feedback will I receive about my child's progress with you?
How will you motivate my child because reading is so difficult?
What types of reading programs do you use and are they evidence-based?
Do you have research supporting the reading program?
Does the reading program incorporate phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and reading comprehension?
Will you integrate your reading program with the rest of my child's classroom work?
Will you attend a 504 Plan/Individualized Education Plan meeting?
Our neuropsychologist outlined several accommodations for my child in the classroom and when taking a test. Will you help advocate for my child and these accommodations?
Will you advise if you think my child needs a different classroom at school or even a different school?
Will you be using a computer as a tool to teach reading because my child loves computers? How is technology used?
Will you advise on what books my child should be reading and for how many minutes a day?
How does my child's strengths come into the picture?
Do you teach my child how to help advocate for themself in the classroom?
What is your policy on foreign languages?
What approach do you take with older students?
Will you provide reports of my child's progress?
When will we know my child is finished with your reading program?
Helping your child succeed when they exhibit reading difficulties requires a parent to ask the right questions when seeking help. The care that your reading specialist delivers will be dependent on the background information and questions that you bring to the first session. Processing the big picture of your child's overall health and functioning at home and school are important details for the educational remediation therapist to know. The result will be a more tailored approach in helping your child flourish as he/she progresses through intervention.
Copyright Karen L. Schiltz 2001