Status quo unacceptable for learning disabled – Opinion/Letter – Status quo unacceptable for learning disabled
March 12, 2009

Re: Testing 1 2 3, March 5 to 7

Kudos to the Star and reporter Andrea Gordon for a comprehensive and extremely informative series on the barriers faced by parents and children with learning disabilities.

The stigma attached to “special education” came across loud and clear. Unfortunately, this situation involving “Josh” and his family is not an isolated case. The minister of education has been made aware of the enormous challenges faced by many families but has not addressed them adequately.

This student could have easily had his needs met through the timely provision of effective teaching practices as outlined in the ministry’s standards, policies and resources. Valuable educational time was wasted by the system’s denial that the student had a disability.

Sadly, there is no accountability within the school system nor within the ministry of education to address situations such as this. Boards of education refer parents to the ministry and the ministry sends the parents back to the school system. Meanwhile the student is left in the middle without appropriate and adequate programming and support and continues to lose confidence and self-esteem and is left more vulnerable and open to incidents of bullying.

The families we support sincerely hope that the province takes this series to heart and accepts that there are serious problems that must be addressed. Obviously the status quo is unacceptable.

Janis Jaffe-White and Reva Schafer, Toronto Family Network

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