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June 18, 2013

School ignores advice from learning disability experts

Jay Matthews:

Stacie Brockman is the Prince George's County mother of lively twin 9-year-old boys. Her sons were born two months premature. She has done everything possible to deal with the disabilities that often impede the progress of such children.

She took them to the developmental pediatricians at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, one of the top U.S. providers of care for children with learning disabilities. They gave the boys many tests. They diagnosed mixed expressive/receptive language disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, dysgraphia (a writing disability) and dyslexia (a reading disability).

The doctors told Brockman that her sons need to be in small classes with research-based reading instruction and intensive math and language remediation. As the law requires, administrators at Potomac Landing Elementary School set up an individualized education program (IEP) team, which meets with Brockman.

As sometimes happens, these meetings have not gone well, Brockman said. Learning disability issues appear to be one of the greatest sources of friction between parents and schools. Brockman's account reveals how clumsy educators can be in communicating to parents what they are doing with their children, and why.

Both boys have IEPs, Brockman said in an e-mail, but the team chairperson dismissed some Kennedy Krieger assessments, "saying that all of KKI's reports say the kids are dysgraphic and dyslexic, thus suggesting that the reports have little or no validity."

Posted by Jim Zellmer at June 18, 2013 1:39 AM
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