The State of Learning Disabilities: A New Report

Identifying learning disabilities and providing needed services are a critical child welfare issue.

This very important report seeks to inform the public of the issues behind learning disabilities, conditions that are as misunderstood as they are misdiagnosed.

The National Center for Learning Disabilities, a leading advocacy group, just came out with a report, The State of Learning Disabilities: Understanding the 1 in 5. That figure, one in five, or 20 percent, refers to the number of students who have a learning disability, such as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or dyslexia. This population is very much misunderstood; all too often, these children are (mis)labeled as lazy or unmotivated or just not as smart as their peers. More often than not, these labels are untrue. Not only are these students at risk of failing school, but also they all too often struggle finding or keeping employment and are disproportionately represented in the prison population.

Despite one in five students having some sort of learning disability, according to this report, only one in 16 receive proper special-education services with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and only one in 50 receive services under Section 504.  This detailed report covers the following:

  • The neuroscience, stigma, and federal laws concerning these students
  • How to identify struggling students
  • Supporting academic success
  • The social, emotional, and behavioral challenges these students face and pose
  • Issues regarding the transitioning to life after high school
  • Recommended policies.

The report provides summaries for each state, with “key data points and comparisons to national averages in several areas such as inclusion in general education classrooms, disciplinary incidents and dropout rates for students with learning and attention issues.”

The bibliographic citation for this report is:

Horowitz, S. H., Rawe, J., & Whittaker, M. C. (2017). The State of Learning Disabilities: Understanding the 1 in 5. New York: National Center for Learning Disabilities.


A Caring Teacher’s Heartfelt Sentiments to Her Students with Autism

“Thank you for who you are.”  This is the sentiment of a very caring teacher from California (and now living in Oregon), Sheila Chako, who writes a blog, Srinkle Teaching Magic.  How often do children (and adults, for that matter) with disabilities hear these words of unconditional love and acceptance.  “Dear student with autism,” begins Sheila’s letter, “You brighten each and every day.  You may not know this but I look forward to school because of you.”  I do not want to give away the rest; please go to Sheila’s page and read it for yourself  An here is a TV interview with Ms. Chako:  


One great reason Janusz Korczak is my hero is that he spoke about unconditional love for the child – taking joy even in a child’s most difficult moments.  Ms. Chako exemplifies what Dr. Korczak was thinking when he wrote “How to Love a Child” and “The Child’s Right to Respect.”