Do You Need Support for Student Learning Differences?

Do You Need Support for Student Learning Differences?

Do You Need Support for Student Learning Differences?

SOS4Students Has Got Your Back

Your teen has learning differences and you need support from the school. What steps should you take? What can you expect?

SOS4Students works with students and their parents in support of student self-sufficiency and success. We help parents understand their rights and advocate with school administration and educators, including improving or developing IEP or 504 plans.

Let’s look at ways parents and students can benefit from working with an expert like SOS4Students, plus explore a few strategies designed to get and keep students on track.

Getting Support Can Be Difficult

Advocacy Tip - Support for Student Learning DifferencesThis past week, I was helping a couple navigate their local public middle school’s process for obtaining help for their son who has ADHD. He was recently diagnosed and suffers such significant school anxiety that he has not been able to attend school in person since the pandemic began.

The school had not offered any help except for a flimsy 504 plan that still failed to address the issues two years after they started. They even questioned the ADHD diagnosis from Kaiser and disregarded additional data that indicated learning disabilities. To make matters more difficult, the 504 wasn’t even sent to the parents initially. Instead, it arrived six weeks after it was crafted with a brief apology from the school counselor!

This is only one of a number of recent cases that SOS4Students has been assisting with—and it’s one of the most egregious ones we’ve seen. The boy’s mother asked, “How do people who don’t have an advocate or a knowledgeable consultant move forward and get their kids the help they need?”

Here’s the short answer:

  • Getting help is difficult. The laws are complex and districts often don’t understand or explain parent options effectively.
  • Many districts themselves don’t know the laws, what’s allowed and what isn’t, or how to craft a learning plan.
  • Private schools are not obligated to conform to the same federal laws, so support and knowledge can vary widely on campuses.
Support Is There If You Know How to Access It

I’ve been fortunate to have worked with some fantastic learning specialists and resource teams at schools in the Bay area who really want to do what is best for the students. Even then, though, getting help is sometimes harder than it should be.

All parents need to be equipped to collaborate effectively with their student’s school to ensure they are afforded the accommodations and services they are due and should rightly expect.

On February 25, SOS4Students Coach Kelsi Kane and I are hosting the second part of our parent workshop series, Partnering with Your Teen’s School: Must Have Tips. I invite you to join us to learn best practices for collaborating with your teen’s school, whether public or private. And keep in mind, for customized help, you can always reach out to SOS4Students to set up a consultation in our office or online!

Strategies for Success

In the meantime, here are some things you can do right now:

  1. Have your teen drive communication with the teachers directly. Older students can request accommodations that may need to be added to support plans.
  2. For public school families, it’s important to know the difference between a 504 plan and an IEP, including how students qualify for each. Learn about organizations that support parents in this process, including the Council of Parent Attorney Advocates (COPAA).
  3. Students need to know what their accommodations are. For instance, book extended time well in advance for APs and SATs through the College Board directly, not the school.
  4. Most importantly KNOW that SOS4Students can play a key role in helping you help your student. Contact us for advocacy support!
Recommended Resources

You can also check out these additional special education resources we love:

Got Questions?

If you have any questions, feel free to email us at or call us at (510) 531-4767.

Share with Others