Poll Shows Educators Misinformed About Learning Disabilities

most children with learning disabilities have average or above average IQ

Poll Shows Educators Misinformed About Learning Disabilities
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Poll Shows Educators Misinformed About Learning Disabilities

A poll released today from the New Haven-based Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation shows that parents and educators are woefully misinformed about Dyslexia and other learning disabilities. WNPR's Ray Hardman has more.

The poll was conducted by GFK Roper earlier this year, and interviewed a random sample of 1,000 adults, 700 parents, and 700 teachers and administrators nationwide. Among the startling results - seven out of ten parents, teachers and administrators wrongly linked learning disabilities with mental retardation, when in fact, most children with learning disabilities possess average or above average intelligence. A majority of those polled wrongly believe learning disabilities are a product of the home environment, or a result of laziness.

Stuart Hudson, President of the Tremaine foundation, says these misconceptions ultimately hurt the learning disabled,  who may not get early intervention:

"Connecticut has a huge problem with the achievement gap, and if we're ever gonna narrow that, we have to understand that 5-10% of all school kids anywhere in any school district, will have Dyslexia or other learning disabilities."

Suzanne Lang is the mother of a 13 year old with Dyslexia. She's has heard all of these misconceptions before:

"I ran into that myself, I was told my son was young, he would grow out of it, it's a boy thing. They're finding now that that is not true, children who are not identified and remediated early never grow out of it. So it's really, really important that we get that early identification."

One bright note of the poll revealed that almost 80% agreed an universal Pre-K program is key to helping children at risk for learning disabilities.

For WNPR, I'm Ray Hardman.