Family Guide to Dyslexia: Secondary Schools

With your child’s school for support, you can develop a plan to address and monitor your child’s needs.

Concerned that your child has become frustrated or anxious about school? Worried about your child’s overall academic performance, reading and/or writing? Some level of anxiety, depression, or frustration in and out of school is not unusual for young adults, however students with dyslexia may demonstrate unexpected social and emotional challenges that stem from reading and writing difficulties. Turn to your child’s school for support. Together, you can develop a plan to address and monitor your child’s needs. If your child currently receives special education services, please consult with your child’s IEP team.

Talk to Your Child

Students are empowered when the adults in their lives involve them in exploring strengths and challenges. Consider these questions when talking to your child:

  • How do you learn best? What have you noticed about yourself as a learner?
  • How is school going for you this year? What is going well? What is difficult for you?
  • What aspects of reading and writing do you enjoy?
  • What aspects of reading and writing do you find challenging?

Talk to the School Counselor

A conversation with your child’s school counselor can help explore questions about your child’s academic experience.

  • Does your child have trouble completing reading and writing assignments?
  • Is your child behaving differently or anxious about school?
  • Does your child have difficulty learning new concepts with challenging vocabulary?
  • Does your child avoid writing or produce short pieces when writing cannot be avoided?
  • Is your child’s writing difficult to read due to poor handwriting or spelling?

School Action

Once you’ve met with the school counselor, he or she can initiate school action. The counselor will consult with your child’s teachers and collect work samples for review by the multi-disciplinary team responsible for planning and monitoring interventions. The counselor and team may review your child’s instructional history and current course enrollment to plan next steps. Next steps may include incorporating an intervention or a referral to the Local Screening Committee.1

1 If at any time you suspect your child has a disability, you have the right to make a referral to the Local Screening Committee. Visit https://www.fcps.edu/registration/child-find for information. 

Local Screening Committee

At any time, you may refer your child to the Local Screening Committee through the Child Find2 process. The Local Screening Committee will meet to review your child’s literacy performance, extra support, and progress. At this meeting, you will have the opportunity to share your concerns. Some issues the team may discuss include the following:

  • Review the impact of any extra support already received;
  • Determine if further evaluation is necessary;
  • Plan future supports that address areas of struggle;
  • Consider the need for a structured literacy program.

2 https://www.fcps.edu/registration/childfind

Connect with the Right Contact

If you feel you need additional support in identifying and meeting your child’s needs, you may connect with the appropriate regional point of contact for dyslexia. These points of contact can support you with the following areas of concern:

  • Dyslexia Identification & Evaluation
    • Regional representative from School Psychology Services
  • Core Instruction & Assessment
    • Regional representative from Instructional Services Department
  • Intervention & Accommodations
    • Regional representative from Office of Special Education Instruction

Additional Resources

For regional points of contact, a matrix of structured literacy programs, and additional resources visit the Dyslexia Information page.

For more information: Carrie Leestma, FCPS Dyslexia Specialist, csleestma@fcps.edu

  • PDF Version

    FCPS Family Guide to Dyslexia: Secondary Schools

The FCPS online dyslexia handbook provides information and resources to FCPS schools and parents alike as they support students with dyslexia.

© 2017 Fairfax County School Board. All rights reserved. This material may not be reproduced, displayed, modified or distributed without the express prior written permission of the copyright holder. For permission, contact the FCPS Department of Special Services, Office of Special Education Instruction, Willow Oaks Corporate Center, 8270 Willow Oaks Corporate Drive, Fairfax, VA 22031.