The Supreme Court Ruling & Budget Cuts May Help and Hurt Students with Learning Disabilities and Dyslexia
Mimi Cochran, the new President and CEO of the National Center for Learning Disabilities, recently wrote an excellent article titled, “What is ahead for students with learning disabilities“. The picture is not encouraging for students with dyslexia and learning disabilities.
Ms. Corcoran notes the new Supreme Court Ruling on students with disabilities should help. This will definitely help, because it rejects the concept of minimal progress for students with significant disabilities. For students with dyslexia and learning disabilities, the requirement for meaningful and appropriate progress may not result in anything different unless …
Below I will discuss what advocacy groups should consider — but I want to start with what a parent should know and do.
What a Parent of a Student with Learning Disabilities and Dyslexia Should Know
1- The present situation in Florida and most other states often results in delayed identification and often never identifies students with dyslexia and learning disabilities.
2- For students not yet identified, parents need to aggressively and collaboratively expedite the process. We have laid out the steps on our “The RTI Trap” page, where we explain the Response to Intervention cannot be used to delay or deny evaluations and that parents need to write a letter with the appropriate documentation — this is all provide at The RTI Trap.
3- You need to manage this process — schools may balk, they may move slowly, but they often respond well to a collaborative parent who stays on top of the situation.
4- IEP Goals are often written in a way that drives me crazy. Too often the goals are focused on phonics, the sounds of words, and reading fluency (how well a student reads out loud). These goals are OK, but I believe that for 90%+ of the students with dyslexia and learning disabilities, reading comprehension is the key. I believe parents should insist on the present level of performance for reading comprehension with passages equal in length to what they are tested on, a goal that gets them either to or closer to grade level and the necessary actions to accomplish these goals. I have been told, “That is not what we do at our school”. Personally, I believe it is imperative for most kids to have the right present level of performance, goals and actions to achieve grade level reading.
For a $25 donation to our foundation we will provide an online assessment of reading speed and comprehension, your child’s vocabulary level, and a note to your school. Just call us at 561-361-7495
Parents, advocates and advocacy groups push hard for truly significant gains — with the goal of moving as many students as possible to grade level proficiency.
Advocacy Groups Must Work together to help students with Dyslexia and Learning Disabilities to Succeed
Ms. Corcoran’s efforts to work collaboratively with the Department of Education to insure schools get the required funding for general and special education and professional development are right on point. The President of the United States has sent mixed messages — first saying there will be a significant cut in education funding and later responding to corporate pressures, he indicated there would be much more support for education.
Students with Dyslexia and Learning Disabilities and Dyslexia Need BOLD Goals, an Increase in Funding and a Fundamental Mindset Shift
Over the last 5 years there has been no gains in proficiency for students with learning disabilities and dyslexia – with only 13% of our students now being proficient. I have met with Florida’s Commissioner of Education and the State Director of Special Education and I am very pessimistic that we will see a concerted drive towards:
- Higher proficiency rates for all students with dyslexia and learning disabilities
- Much higher rates of Success by Third Grade for students with dyslexia and learning disabilities — third grade being a year that is critical for students
- An improvement in early identification and effective remediation for our students
The National Center for Learning Disabilities, the Learning Disabilities Association of America, the International Dyslexia Association and all other groups need to work together with government and school districts to set BOLD Goals for our students to succeed – we need to start with a mindset change, new goals and then provide the funding and support for our students to reach grade level proficiency.
For help with your child, you can take our online assessment and call us for a no cost strategy session at 561-361-7495.