Monday, September 14, 2015

The Elephant in the Classroom - Decoding Dyslexia Arizona

The Elephant in the Classroom - Decoding Dyslexia Arizona:



The Elephant in the Classroom

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Responding to the concerns of parents from across the United States that the word "dyslexia" is not being allowed into the IEP process, a coalition of disability groups recently sent a request to the U.S. Department of Education asking for guidance to be issued on the subject.  Several members of Congress sent a similar request. In response, educator and school groups followed up with a letter expressing concerns about use of the word "dyslexia."

As parents, we believe use of the word "dyslexia" in public schools helps steer discussions toward timely identification of our children, as well as toward appropriate interventions and accommodations.  For those reasons, Decoding Dyslexia groups in every state in the country recently sent a joint letter asking the U.S. Department of Education to clarify that the word "dyslexia" may be used in IEP meetings and related documents.

The following is an excerpt from the parent letter:


Our concerns

As parents, we are often told that dyslexia is “not recognized by school districts,” “is just an umbrella term,” “does not exist,"  "is a medical issue,” or “is not something schools are required to diagnose or address."  We are also told in IEP meetings that schools are "not required to put the term dyslexia in IEPs.”  In many cases, we are even told after years of failed efforts at reading instruction, that we may not discuss or include “specific methodologies" in an IEP to address our children's reading struggles.

Rather, more often than not, our children receive only the broad classification of "Specific Learning Disability" or, at best, “Specific Learning Disability in Reading” and are placed in general resource rooms with students who have different issues and needs.  Some of these students with different needs may even fall under the same Specific Learning Disability “umbrella,” while others may have disabilities that fall within entirely different IDEA disability categories.   Our children with dyslexia then receive interventions that are neither peer-reviewed nor targeted to their specific, individual challenges.

For example, a student with good word decoding skills who struggles to comprehend the meaning of print material may have markedly different learning needs from a student who struggles to comprehend print material because of a weakness in decoding.  Both may have the same "Specific Learning Disability" or even "Specific Learning Disability - Reading" label, but their needs are entirely different.  The result is an unnecessary and often indefinite delay in the identification and use of effective "specially designed instruction" and interventions students need and to which they are entitled as part of an appropriate education.

Use of the term “dyslexia” is consistent with the language and intent of the IDEA

The term “dyslexia” is explicitly included in the IDEA as an example of a “specific learning 
The Elephant in the Classroom - Decoding Dyslexia Arizona:


CURMUDGUCATION: Forgetting History

CURMUDGUCATION: Forgetting History:

Forgetting History






So it's not 9/14, a date that carries no particular power. And after sitting in the cultural silence that follows any powerful observance, I'm reflecting again on 9/11.

Friday was a day not much different from many others. The social studies teacher whose classroom shares a door with mine was playing a documentary stitched together from footage of That Day. But teachers are already aware of what civilians are slowly realizing-- students in school, right now, have no memory of that day. My juniors were two years old. Some of my freshmen hadn't been born yet. To my students, who think of me as a thousand years old and their own elementary school years as eons ago, the September 11 attacks are as distant to most of them as the Vietnam War or World War II.

And I can't decide if that's a good thing or not.

I am seriously attached to the study of history. My student teaching kept me from minoring; the state of Pennsylvania's elevation of "social studies" over history kept me from adding it to my teaching certification. My class is shot full of it. I think human beings are absolutely hardwired to do history, to try to draw a consensus on what happened, why it happened, what it means. We do it for 9/11, for Vietnam, for the Great European War, and for the fight between Ethel and Mia last night at the restaurant.

My students deride history as the most worthless class they take, a class that has nothing to do with their present or their future. My students also like to drag out and rehearse their favorite stories of Things That Happened in Grade School.

We are hardwired to do history, and yet we also seem hardwired to forget it, if we even grasp it in the first place. I've watched my students for over three decades, certain that the world sprang into existence when they were born, unable to imagine what it will do when they die, and absolutely rocked to their core when someone does die.

We're a small place, but it happens. Accident. Disease. Suicide. The school is an entirely different 
CURMUDGUCATION: Forgetting History:

Special Nite Cap: Catch Up on Today's Post 9/14/15 #FightForDyett


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