My school does not recognize dyslexia as a learning disability. My principal says he/she has no one on staff trained to teach a student with dyslexia. My child's school system does not test/screening for dyslexia. What am I to do?
These are statements we hear from bewildered parents phoning or emailing our office and from their cries on social media sites. We hear from teachers, too, who are trying to meet the needs of all their students. I get requests from teachers and principals: "Come and just help us learn the characteristics." Others ask, "I have some training in teaching dyslexic students, but how do I incorporate that into my regular classroom?"
While progress has been made in recent years, the lack of information and misinformation is staggering. Dyslexia has been in Federal legislation since the passage of PL 94-142 in 1975, known as Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This law said that a free, appropriate education must be available for all handicapped children by September 1980-a well-kept secret?
In 2004,Congress reauthorized IDEA, adding stronger requirements. Many states, including my own, have or are passing specific laws which address dyslexia.
We have argued over terminology while students suffer. As I point out in my book, DYSLEXIA: A TEACHER'S JOURNEY, there's still is a vast amount of confusion with learning disability, specific learning disability, and dyslexia. I prefer dyslexia because a precise type of teaching is implied. However, the crucial factor is appropriate help NOW for those bright children who are thought of as lazy, dumb, pampered, and all those other inaccurate, derogatory terms.
Parents: know your rights and don't be intimidated.The law is on your side.
Watch for future blurbs on this issue.