Looking for Private School that is supportive of dyslexia

Hello Parents,

We have a child at a private Oakland K-8 school. Our child has dyslexia and our school doesn't think that they can support him much past 3rd grade- it's not their "niche" as it was put to us. We are wondering if there are folks out there with dyslexic children that are supported enough to thrive at a private school? We looked into Raskob, but it didn't seem to be a good fit. Our child seems to be a mainstream kid who just needs extra support. We want to find a place that takes their pledge to diversity a step further and not only be inclusive of neuro diversity and learning differences, but also celebrate them. Is there a private school in Oakland that is paving the way for children with learning differences? 

Thank you!

Parent Replies

New responses are no longer being accepted.

Hi there.  My kid is a mainstream kid who needs extra support and he's at Raskob, so not sure what metric you are using.  We were at a couple of private schools, some were better than others supporting kids with learning challenges. The good ones do well in the lower grades but what can happen is that either the supports aren't as good in the higher grades, and/or the demands get higher and what was working before for mild LD no longer does and the kids flame out.  We have a lot of kids come in at 6th and 7th grade at Raskob because their LD looks worse as they get older. Anyhow, to answer your question, if you want to keep your kid in a private elementary school you can try Berkwood Hedge or Aurora.  They're pretty good for younger kids with LD.  If your kid needs more support later on you should look at Raskob again.  Lindamood-Bell has a school, Stellar in  Hayward is good for dyslexia, Hope Academy in Concord, and if you don't mind a commute there's Charles Armstrong on the peninsula. Hopefully, though, your kid can get by with minimal support.

Though we can't recommend a school in Oakland, we also have a dyslexic child in private school, and can speak to the fact that this will be the case most places you go, unless you switch to public school, and then the resources will vary district to district. Our child was diagnosed after 2nd grade, and we started having them work with an educational therapist right away. Now our child, with few accommodations, is at the top of their class, still in private school and thriving. It's a very expensive way to go, but if you are able to manage it (we never vacation and forgo other luxuries) and are committed to private school, it may be your best option. Good luck!

I highly recommend the Berkeley School. My daughter is dyslexic and she flourished and loved her middle school years at the Berkeley School. She is in high school now. She was prepared well and ready academically and socially for high school. The teachers at the Berkeley School were great and accommodated my daughter's needs. It was the perfect fit for her. All the best and good luck! -frank r

My son was diagnosed with Dyslexia and ADHD ( inattentive) in first grade. He was attending a “ progressive “ private school in Oakland and they were unwilling and unequipped to provide support for my son - as are most schools. The problem is that most learning specialists are not trained in the proven methodologies that support and instruct kids with Dyslexia. In fact, the trend these days is for learning specialists to support teachers - not necessarily students. You might get a “ pull-out” a few times a week but that wont help your child.  Early intervention is crucial. Many studies have shown that early intervention can even “rewire” neuro pathways. Check out UCSF’s brain imaging study on Dyslexia.

We sent our son to Charles Armstrong for three years and it was well worth the sacrifice. He is now a 6th grader at The Berkeley School and thriving. TBS is a wonderful community and a school that really and truly embraces diversity in all forms. The school is working on more ways to support neuro-diverse students because the leadership understands that a diverse classroom helps develop deeper learning.  TBS also has a project based curriculum, which really works well for Dyslexic students. Our son still needs some outside support but the school makes it easy and welcomes all types of scaffolding that students depend on.

If you are not going to send your child to a school that focuses on remediation of Dyslexia, then I encourage you to hire an educational therapist who is trained in Making Math Real, Orton-Gillingham, and or Slingerland. The Berkeley School provides an environment where your child’s strengths will be highlighted and their challenges will be supported. Unlike many private schools - they welcome students who learn and think in different ways. I encourage you to contact Stephen Cahill ( learning support coordinator) at the Berkeley School. He welcomes the opportunity to discuss the school’s strategies for different learners - I’ve never encountered a more engaged and forward thinking educator !