The National Center for Learning Disabilities and Understood.org teamed up and surveyed 1,350 teachers and also put together focus groups, looked at teacher certification requirements, and analyzed how best to teach students with mild to moderate disabilities. These include dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, ADD, ADHD, processing disorders, and other language-based disabilities.
Not included in the study were autism spectrum disorders, oppositional defiant disorders, or unrelated emotional issues.
Based on the survey, the upshot:
- Only 30% of the general education teachers feel “strongly” they can successfully teach children.
- Just 50% believe such students are can reach grade-level standards.
- At least 33% said they’d never received any related professional development.
- 25% believe that an ADD/ADHD diagnosis is caused by poor parenting.
- Just 56% believe IEPs [Individual Education Plans] are of any value for students.
- Only 38% believe IEPs improve instruction.
It was also found that fewer than 10 states require specific coursework focused on teaching these kids, even though “every general education teacher will surely have students with these high-incidence disabilities in their classroom.”
As for the special education teachers in the survey, less than 15% believed their general ed colleagues are highly prepared to work with these students.
If they’re right, as they may well be, this survey/study raises very real concerns for impacted students and their teachers, too.