We’ve talked a lot about dyslexia this month, and how brain-training programs such as Wilson Reading System can successfully help parents and children overcome reading and learning disabilities. But I wanted to take a different approach today and talk about how Hawaii’s public school system is handling dyslexia.
I was reading these Civil Beat articles from 2013 Part One: “Cracking the Code: Are Hawaii Schools Doing Enough for Dyslexic Students?” and Part Two: Private Schools Fill Gap for Hawaii’s Dyslexic Kids – But At High Cost.” Although these articles may not be recent, I think that they are still good, two-part series that investigates whether our public schools are doing enough to help students with dyslexia.
These articles make it clear that the issue goes beyond the local scale. Our federal law does not do enough for dyslexic children because there are no specialized interventions for different kinds of learners, despite the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Here’s a quote:
“The problem is that there’s a great deal of variability and inconsistency in providing for the interventions that students should be receiving,” said Rebecca Aldred, a member of the International Dyslexia Association’s board of directors. “Most often it does not hone down into the determination of dyslexia, and the treatment could be very different than what the children should receive.”
So what can schools start implementing education policies that support IDEA? The article suggests policies such as:
· required distribution of informational handbooks
· universal dyslexia screening and awareness campaigns
· certified reading specialists
· …and possibly most important of all, proper teacher training.
According to Aldred, most teacher preparation programs across the country don’t give their students the training they need to accommodate dyslexic students in the classroom. Today, the Hawaii Teacher Standards Board is currently considering whether to offer a literacy specialist license, which would extend responsibilities beyond those of a reading specialist to include specific comprehension skills, such as problem-solving and communication.
You can read the full articles in the links below. We still have a long ways to go, but change starts with you and I, as parents of children who have dyslexia.
· Part One: “Cracking the Code: Are Hawaii Schools Doing Enough for Dyslexic Students?”
· Part Two: Private Schools Fill Gap for Hawaii’s Dyslexic Kids But At High Cost”