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Tracy Plante had to pay privately for a psycho-educational assessment of her son after the school board refused. (CBC)

A Calgary parent says the public school system is letting down children with learning disabilities.

There are reports of two-year waits for school-based assessments — forcing some parents to pay for the help they believe their children need.

When Tracy Plante's nine-year-old son started having problems, she asked for a psycho-educational assessment.

"He was saying ‘I don't understand what they're saying. I feel so lost in school,’" she said.

  • Listen to the full interview from the Calgary Eyeopener

The same test led to a learning disability diagnosis for both her daughters.   But according to Plante, the school refused her son, saying his case wasn't severe enough.

"There was all these barriers. ‘No you can't have this, no you can't have that’. It's heartbreaking."  

Janice Nelson, executive director of the Learning Disabilities Association of Alberta, said the number of parents calling with similar concerns has jumped 60 per cent in four years.

"There aren't enough psychologists within the school system or enough money to contract out service, if that's necessary, to provide the number of assessments needed," she said.  

That means parents like Tracy Plante are paying up to $3,000 for private assessments.

"I was shocked," Plante said.   Her son's test showed several learning disabilities in addition to ADHD.

"Do I think the schools should be doing this? Absolutely. It’s a no brainer. If we're going to educate our children, we have to educate them properly."  

Plante is now fighting to get the classroom supports Louie's psychologist said he needs.

The Calgary Catholic School board told CBC News it has, at most, an eight-week wait for assessments.