Time to act: Understanding dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia

first_imgVermont Business Magazine Last October, Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Michael Yudin, sent a letter to states reminding them to use the terms “dyslexia”, “dysgraphia”, and “dyscalculia” in Individualized Education Programs and in evaluations determining a student’s eligibility for special education services. Since then, talk has been more frequent in regards to how these diagnoses can benefit the development of programs to support students with learning disabilities. Before Yudin released the letter, many states and schools did not openly acknowledge an identified diagnosis of dyslexia. The National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) provided guidance to the Office of Special Education Programs and found that the same was true of dysgraphia and dyscalculia. The tireless work by the NCLD, Decoding Dyslexia, and many other organizations across the country has successfully brought this issue center stage, where it should be. In Vermont, people are taking action, where organizations such as the Stern Center for Language and Learning are preparing to launch a three-part symposium series on January 29th to further clarify the complexities of these terms and identify best practices in classrooms. Janna Osman, Vice President for Programs at the Stern Center for Language and Learning stated, “We have an opportunity to work with educators, psychologists, educational leaders, and others on how to develop a common understanding of “dyslexia”, “dyscalculia” and “dygraphia”. The goal is to develop a deeper understanding of what students with learning disabilities need to be successful. This is an idea we have always been dedicated to, which is why we provide grants through our Cynthia K. Hoehl Institute for Excellence to assist educators the best we can.” Out of the 6.4 million students who receive special education, 2.5 million (35%) are diagnosed with a specific learning disability, resulting in the largest disability population in the United States. Specific learning disabilities impact reading, writing, speaking, and listening, as well as mathematical calculations and reasoning.  It is important that educators have as much information as possible about these conditions and are provided with research-proven strategies in order for these students to access an appropriate education. Now is the time to take action and learn more about how to best support these students as they pursue their academic paths.last_img

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