Assessing the needs of dyslexic students through shared stories

    New Jersey families are having a hard time getting public schools to recognize dyslexia in their children and to provide appropriate resources for them. What are your experiences with dyslexia in the school system, either for your child or for yourself?

    New Jersey families are having a hard time getting public schools to recognize the symptoms of dyslexia in their children and to provide approprite resources for them.

    That’s one thing we learned at a town hall forum in Cherry Hill on Monday.

    About 40 residents from the surrounding communities met up at NewsWorks’ invitation at the Cherry Hill Public Library to sound off about the topics they want us to cover in the places where they live. Education was a major topic of discussion, and schools’ response to dyslexia popped up frequently.

    We want to open up a discussion for readers: What are your experiences with dyslexia in public schools — in New Jersey, Pennsylvania or Delaware? Are you finding access to the resources you need for your child? Are you coping with dyslexia yourself? 

    Share your story in the comments below.

    The essential problem is summed up by one mother on the The Dyslexia Center of Princeton website: It comes down to the difference between a “therapeutic diagnosis” and an “educational classification.”

    Therapeutic diagnoses are made by doctors so they can help a child succeed in all aspects of life. The public schools’ interests, however, lie in maintaining a certain standard in the classroom only.

    If a child’s learning style restricts academic potential, he or she may be classified as having a learning disability. But a grassroots movement known as Decoding Dyslexia – NJ holds that the “learning disability” classification doesn’t go far enough and doesn’t give students access to the specific tools and strategies that will help.

    A New Jersey Reading Disabilities Task Force has been set up to research current services available to New Jersey’s students who struggle with learning to read and is expected to make recommendations to the governor in July.

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