The first step in getting a child approved for special education services in the local school district is to go through a thorough assessment. This is often performed by the school psychologist but may also include several other professionals to create a well-rounded assessment of all the child’s needs. However, because school staff is often overextended these days, much of these assessments are hurried and inadequate at showing the full extent of the child’s needs. Therefore, many needs are under-identified in schools, and many children who do require special education services are left to stumble through the general classroom setting with their peers. This results in students getting poor grades and giving up on learning.
One of the most under-identified issues is dyslexia. Dyslexia is often thought of as the inability to see letters in written words in correct order, but it can actually include many issues with reading or understanding words. While the child’s intelligence level may not be affected, he or she may find it difficult to succeed in school because so much learning is done through the written word. They may also struggle on quizzes and on standardized tests unless they are allowed to have special help. However, these special bits of help are only allowed if the child has been cleared for special education services.
If a child’s special needs are not properly identified, they will not be allowed to access the materials, resources, teachers, and classes that they would with a proper diagnosis. They may simply be labeled as a difficult student or as a slow learner. Not only can this demean them psychologically, but also it can keep them from succeeding all the way through high school and into college or the workforce.