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Hector’s Story

Fourteen-year-old Hector now enjoys reading and writing, but just two years ago, he was unable to write full sentences and was reading only at a first-grade level. Hector began receiving special education services for a learning disability after being held back in second grade, but he continued to struggle and made little academic progress throughout the rest of elementary school. Hector’s mother was concerned he was not receiving enough help or the right services, and so when he was in sixth grade, she had him evaluated through Columbia University Medical Center’s Promise Project, one of AFC’s partners through our Robin Hood project. The evaluation found that Hector was performing far below his cognitive abilities due to delays in his reading, writing, and language skills. Hector had also developed anxiety and low self-esteem due to his academic struggles. Promise Project referred the family to AFC for help obtaining intensive remediation and a more appropriate school program.

At an Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting, Hector’s teachers and speech-language therapist agreed that, given his lack of progress, Hector needed specialized instruction and more classroom support than they were able to provide. However, rather than recommending a new program, the Department of Education (DOE) ignored the information contained in the evaluation and the IEP and left Hector in the same setting that had not worked for him for years. AFC intervened and successfully secured placement for Hector in a specialized non-public school that could provide the individualized attention he needed. Given the DOE’s failure to provide Hector with appropriate instruction for so many years, we also obtained intensive one-on-one reading tutoring outside of school to help him catch up. After many hours of hard work, Hector is now making progress in the eighth grade!