Q. Does insurance cover dyslexia screens or diagnosis?
A. No. Most insurances refuse to cover these services because they are considered educational testing and not medical. However, most health savings accounts will allow you to use HSA dollars for these expenses. Also, you should check with your tax accountant because this can be a tax deductible expense.
Q. Is dyslexia tutoring covered by insurance?
A. No. Again, insurance companies consider this in the realm of education, and so they do not cover it. For many people, however it can be covered by health savings account dollars, or a tax deductible expense. These are all avenues to investigate for some savings.
Q. Will my child have the same tutor every time?
A. For ACT and Math tutoring, and Summer Enrichment Programs yes. For dyslexia tutoring, our goal is to provide the same tutor for every lesson. At the most, the child will only have two different tutors. Aspire Academy is staying small to ensure tutor consistency.
Q. Are all Aspire Academy dyslexia tutors certified?
A. At Aspire Academy, we keep up with the latest dyslexia teaching techniques and research. All of our tutors receive training directly from Wilson, at Groves Academy in Minneapolis, MN. All attend 18 hours of direct instruction from Wilson Certified personnel at Groves Academy, and all staff have access to the Wilson Reading System Intensive Training Web site and resources. No other dyslexia learning center in Iowa provides this high level of training and investment in their personnel. In addition, Heidi Kroner is one of only 12 people in Iowa certified as a Level 1 Wilson Instructor, and she is currently working on her Level 2 Wilson certification. We have caring, compassionate, expertly trained staff. Quality instruction is our number one priority.
Q. Cancellation and Inclement Weather Policy.
A. If Urbandale or Des Moines Schools are canceled due to weather, Aspire Academy will be closed. If your child is sick or leaves school due to illness, please call within 4 hours of the lesson to cancel at no charge. All other cancellations require a 24 hour notice. You will be charged the full lesson price for no-shows.
Q. Does Aspire Academy diagnose dyslexia?
A. Currently, Aspire Academy only screens for dyslexia. Screening is an inexpensive, and quick way to determine if the reading, writing and spelling struggles your child is experiencing is due to dyslexia. We screen for the major symptoms, and our screen will also be used to check your child’s yearly grade-level improvement. We recommend that every child who is screened and tests positive for the warning signs of dyslexia undergo a full educational-psychological evaluation. We will provide a list of evaluators who throughly understand dyslexia and the other conditions that can co-exist with the learning style. A diagnosis is valuable because it will allow your child to receive 504 accommodations in school such as extra time on tests, the ability to access audio books for reading material, and other dyslexia appropriate accommodations.
Q. What is a 504 Plan?
A. A 504 plan is a legal document that provides a child with a diagnosed learning condition the ability to have accommodations that help them succeed in school. A child who has a diagnosis of a learning disability such as dyslexia, is eligible for a 504 Plan under the Federal Government Educational laws. Any child with a diagnosed learning condition, regardless of grades and test scores, is eligible for a 504 plan. 504 plans allow a child to have classroom accommodations that are of no-cost to the school, but allows the child to succeed and keep up with peers. Parents are expected to be an active part of the development and adherence to the 504 plan. Aspire Academy encourages ALL parents to read a book on the 504 and IEP process to best advocate for their child. Aspire Academy can help write 504 plans and IEP goals upon request.
*Source: “Dyslexia Advocate: How to Advocate for a Child With Dyslexia Within the Public Education System” by Kelli Sandman-Hurley, Copyright 2016. Policies may change under the current president.
Q. What is an IEP?
A. An IEP is an “Individualized Education Plan” that children receive when the school system has identified them as a Child in Need of Assistance according to FAPE and Child Find. It is not a diagnosis of a learning condition, as schools do not diagnose. However, children who do receive IEPs and are identified by a school as a child in need of assistance should get a formal diagnosis from a educational psychologist if the parent can afford it, so they can best advocate for their child. Special Education services at schools are vastly under-funded and stretched to the limit. Please educate yourself on this process if your child has an IEP.
Q. Do I need a dyslexia diagnosis if I have an IEP?
A. To receive extra help in school, no, but to advocate correctly for your child - yes. If your child has an IEP, it would be best parenting practices to find out what is causing the learning issue. Learning issues in need of an IEP will often cause difficulties through high school and even college. By knowing exactly what is causing the learning issues, parents will have the information needed to help their child through their entire academic career, if needed. Many people with IEPs or 504s have gone on to be doctors, lawyers, and other highly rigorous careers.
Q. What are the benefits of a 504 Plan or IEP?
A. The benefits are that your child will get the accommodations they need to thrive in school, if the 504 or IEP is designed effectively. Parents are expected to be actively involved and knowledgeable in the development of the 504 and IEP process. This comes as a surprise to ALL parents, and may even seem unfair, but it is how our current system is designed.
Q. Should I be cautious of having a “label” put on my child?
A. In the opinion of most dyslexia advocates, no, because the label provides a reason to the child for their learning difference. When explained correctly, the child will come to understand that many successful people have or had dyslexia, and thrived. Also, having your child diagnosed should provide a road map to the correct interventions that will help the child thrive in school instead of hitting roadblock after roadblock. Do not be afraid. If your child had cancer, you would want to know the exact kind, and the exact treatment. When you understand how your child learns, you can ensure they are treated fairly in the educational system, regardless of whether it is public or private.