Thursday, 21 June 2007

Education in NZ for children with Learning Disabilities GRRR GRRRR

I hear you thinking, ah there she goes again complaining about NZ. Don't get me wrong. NZ is a wonderful country and I met the most amazing people in NZ. One of them is Judy, on the photo next to me. She is the founder and coordinator of the Dyspraxia Support Group. Look at her website to learn about dyspraxia and to see how many good thing they are doing. I was in her committee for a couple of years and learned a lot. Yesterday at the AGM Anna Sterq, Director of the Seabrook McKenzie Centre talked to us about the current situation for children with LD in NZ.

NZ is an egalitarian society. Everybody has to be treated equally, everybody gets the same. Sounds fair he. "NO" says Richard Lavoie "Fairness means that everybody gets what he or she needs." Children with LD don't get here what they need. These children process information slowly. Their reading and/or writing for example is not automatic and therefore takes up all their working memory. Because the decoding (reading) is so laborious they don't get time to focus on comprehension. This is only one of the problems.
Anyway, when teachers would have knowledge about the problems of children with LD they could make accommodations and with extra help they might catch up. Nope, non of this. Children have to be 4 years behind at school before they get help. You might say; but high school students in NZ get a reader/writer to do the reading and writing for them when they have an not everybody. Anna told us that the rules are changed. Since November last year only children with an average IQ can get a reader/writer because as they reason (???)"children with a lower ability get an unfair advantage" (when they use a reader/writer)

To put it together; LD effects IQ negatively if these children don't get help. Therefore they might end up scoring below average. At the moment the children who need help the most don't even have a change to access a reader/writer to help them to succeed on an exam. They might as well quit school. This rule is Pure discrimination.
Take care for our children
Love Marja

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