In Why Can’t We Blame the Teachers, Part 1 we learned about some of the challenges our teachers and school districts face when teaching students with learning disabilities. If you didn’t get the chance to read part 1 yet, please start here.
Now the question is:
Is Anybody Listening?
Has anyone else noticed this travesty problem since Walsh, Glaser, and Wilcox reported their findings back in 2006?
The answer to that is yes. People are talking. People in power like Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) are listening to parents and educators advocating for so many children who are falling through the cracks. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods. According to James H. Wendorf, Executive Director of the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD),
Though Senator Cassidy’s amendment to the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015 was not adopted, it served as a pivotal moment in this conversation. Senator Cassidy’s amendment would have allowed states and school districts to use federal funding to train educators to better understand, identify and address the early indicators of learning disabilities, including dyslexia.
Okay, so it’s a start. But are we back to square one? Even if the amendment had passed, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is woefully underfunded. Per NCLD, even with proposed budget increases, the total congressional share is still far below what Congress promised back in 1975.
To see Senator Cassidy championing the need for better services, watch this enlightening video shared by The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity (5+ minutes):
With all of that in mind, do you still want to blame the teachers?
Yes, they are in charge of providing your child with a free and appropriate education. They are doing that quite well for the children who already learn with ease. For the approximately 1 in 5 children with learning and attention challenges, our teachers may be just as frustrated as parents are. They simply may not have the proper tools.
Who Is Responsible?
Realizing that we can’t, in good conscience, blame the teachers for our children’s difficult education, what can we do?
In a perfect world, children’s learning disabilities would be identified early and teachers would know exactly which intervention strategies to implement. But that’s not where we are now. The onus of helping your own child is on you.
To protect your child from feelings of inadequacy and even hopelessness due to learning challenges, get him the help he needs. Find an educational therapist. If that’s cost prohibitive, become your child’s best learning coach.
Learn about learning disabilities and strategies that help. Invest in materials that will improve your child’s ability to learn with ease and confidence. Learn to be targeted and specific in helping your child, and if you have questions, ask a specialist.
If you have any questions about where to start, you can always connect with me here. And please, please, do make your child’s teacher your ally, not your enemy. You’re all in this together.