Klinefelter Syndrome and School
In school, children with Kleinfelter syndrome often benefit from smaller classrooms, vocabulary-building exercises, and auditory recall exercises. These children also may need help with their expressive language abilities. Several advocacy groups provide information on children with Klinefelter syndrome, and school systems may offer courses in educational advocacy for parents.
Although there are exceptions, children with Klinefelter syndrome are usually well behaved in the classroom. Most are shy, quiet, and eager to please the teacher. But when faced with material they find difficult, they tend to withdraw into quiet daydreaming. Teachers sometimes fail to realize they have a language problem, and dismiss them as lazy, saying they could do the work if they would only try. Many become so quiet that teachers forget they're even in the room. As a result, they fall farther and farther behind, and eventually may be held back a grade.
Boys with Klinefelter syndrome do best in small, uncrowded classrooms where teachers can give them a lot of individual attention. Parents who can meet the expense might want to consider sending their sons to a private school offering special education services.
Parents who cannot afford private schools should become familiar with Public Law 94-142, the Education of the Handicapped Act -- now called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. This law, adopted by Congress in 1975, states that all children with disabilities have a right to a free, appropriate public education. The law cannot ensure that every child who needs special education services will automatically get them, but the law does allow parents to take action when they suspect their child has a learning disability.
Chances for success are greatest for parents who are well informed and who work cooperatively with the schools to plan educational and related service programs for their son. For in-depth information on Public Law 94-142, parents may contact the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY).
Parents may also wish to contact their local and state boards of education for information on how the law has been implemented in their area. In addition, local education groups may be able to provide useful information on working with school systems. Parents should also consider taking a course in educational advocacy. The local public school system, the state board of education, or local parents groups may be able to tell parents where they can enroll in such a course.