Consider this a hands-on, how-to-cope section. There is no quantitative data, no ratings, just practical suggestions. This section is about parents-35 of them-who share what's worked for their children from Kindergarten through 12th grade.

Kindergarten through 5th Grade: elementary school

Parents talk about staying up-to-date with their child's school progress, the criteria for selecting a private tutor, factors relating to their child's IEP, and out-of-mainstream issues i.e., should their child transfer to a special school for dyslexia or should they consider home schooling? (More than half feel that the decision-process is wrenching.) Parents also touch upon the financial implications of moving to a fee-paying school.

6th through 8th Grade: middle school

Strategies for homework, burnout, Special-Ed tutoring, technology use, and an incentive plan for report cards are some of the topics discussed in this section. In reality, parents look at different ways to keep their child "afloat" in the mainstream.

9th through 12th Grade: high school

Every "C" and "D" now shows up on an official transcript. The SAT and college-application process are also nagging points. Parents tend to be more worrisome here. Together, with their student, they utilize special accommodations and coping strategies that preferably don't cause run-ins with the school. For example, they try to schedule difficult classes during first and second periods (history, science etc.); create a study hall last period for homework assignments; and petition American Sign Language as the foreign-language requirement.

The how-to-cope section is jam-packed with pragmatic ideas. To all those parents who shared their family secrets, their family coping strategies, I thank you sincerely. Your ideas will make a difference for so many families.

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