Learning Disabilities Early Diagnosis and Support Issues

PRE-PROPOSAL 1. Media Artifact

Link to your media artifact(s) giving background on the issue:

My infograph - Special Education Needs..Equal Access

2. Persona and POV statement Persona: Persona name: Peter Johnson Age: 8 Years Old School/occupation: 3rd Grader at Freeman Elemenarty School Location: Flint, MI   Quote: "Why can't I read?"   About:
  • Mother and father both work full-time jobs until 8pm every weekday
  • Has been diagnosed with Dyslexia, so he has trouble in English
  • Loves to play baseball
Goals:
  • Wants to be a sports GM eventually
  • Keep up with classmates in English
  • Go to college

 

POV Statement:
  • User
  • Peter, a struggling and motivated 3rd grade student...
  • Need 
  • ...needs a way to get more personalized attention at school...
  • Insight 
  • ...because he cannot read yet due to his dyslexia and his parents are too busy with work
 

 

3. Potential Solutions:

Describe three reasonable, feasible potential solutions or approaches that would help address this problem.

SOLUTION 1: Having mandatory meetings for parents with kids going into kindergarten to make them aware that their kid might have a learning disability, notifying parents early on that they could help their kids in a major way.

SOLUTION 2: Create job action groups for kids with learning disabilities. The leaders of these job action groups will be successful college graduates who suffered from learning disabilities throughout their lives, inspiring and motivating kids with learning disabilities.

SOLUTION 3: Using the state of Massachusetts schools as a precedent for how Michigan schools should operate. After doing research on the Massachusetts Advocates for Children, Massachusetts should be looked at highly.

 

BACKGROUND AND RESEARCH PROCESS Context

Reference to a current Michigan bill or law that relates in some way to your proposal:

Senate Bill 0202 (2019)

Why this proposal will make a difference in the lives of students of all ages across Michigan, or a significant subgroup (by age, background, economic status, and/or region, etc.) of students in Michigan:

This proposal will make a difference in the lives of students in Michigan, especially those students in elementary and middle schools because teachers will be further evaluated on monitoring the students with disabilities, to better help all of their students.

How and where did you learn about the issues underlying your proposal?

I learned about the issues underlying my proposal from researching it extensively, as well as talking with the SSD office at the University of Michigan and parents with learning disabled kids.

How has your service activity influenced your thinking about this proposal?

My service activity is to mentor students in the SSD office who want to find out more about resources at SSD or help them out with school work. This goes hand in hand with my proposal as both focus on further helping out the learning disabled community in Michigan.

Link to your media artifact(s) giving background on the issue:

My infograph - Special Education Needs..Equal Access

Consultations

Talk directly with at least 3 real live people who have special knowledge about this topic or the impact your proposal would have, and summarize their comments. These may include people appearing in your media artifact (video, podcast, etc.).

CONSULTATION 1: Dr. Alfred Kellam (Interm director of the SSD office at the University of Michigan). My talk with Dr. Kellam appears in my media artifact, but I will reiterate my discussion with him. We talked about learning disabilities, and different issues he sees in the SSD office here at the University of Michigan. One interesting quote he said was he said “every learning disability is different whether it’s dyslexia, aspergers, or due to a medical condition.” Dr. Kellam was referring to the fact that there are many different causes where a student is deemed learning disabled and in need of accommodations. This makes it incredibly hard for the state of Michigan to correctly diagnose a student.

CONSULTATION 2: Julia (Massachusetts Advocates for Children): While doing my research, I came across Massachusetts as a state that has been dealing with learning disabilities in a positive way. As a result, I thought that it would be a great idea to talk to someone from the Massachusetts Advocates for Children. My conversation with Julia revolved around her telling me that they have done a good job dealing with learning disabilities due to support from the state. She brought up the new proposal signed by Governor Charlie Baker in October this past year. With this new proposal, there will be even more of an emphasis for Massachusetts to focus on helping those with learning disabilites, as 20% of the children in the state are affected with learning disabilities. 

CONSULTATION 3: W.C. (Parent with child at Abbot Elementary School): this source wished to remain annoymous, but has a child in 2nd grade who has a learning disability. While her child was diagnosed a year ago and has been receiving extra help in school, it is very hard for her to help with her child's homework when both her and her husband have jobs. She said that she is fortunate that the school helped diagnose her child early on, but her child is not motivated in school as the extra help is not quite enough assistance. Additionally, she noticed that other kids in the class could potentially have undiagnosed learning disabilities, as she got that information from her daughter about other kids who struggled.

 

Reaction or advice from a Topic Coordinator:

You must solicit a critique from a topic coordinator, and explain the impact that advice has had on the final draft of this proposal.

Stefan Santrach helped me narrow down my proposal, in terms of the the feasibility of my solutions and the allocation of funding. In addition, Stefan helped me expand my media artifact to become more specific and include statistics.

Research process:

Describe your research process — indicate who you talked to (including but not limited to consultants), what you read, what your thinking was, how it changed over time, and how your consultants changed your thinking. This description of your research process definitely could include “dead ends,” or ideas you had that didn’t ultimately bear fruit.  In short, we want to know what you did and how it led to your legislation, and we also want you to give us a window into your thought process.

My research process definitely evolved over time. I initially started by talking with Dr. Kellam early in the semester, as he has a lot of experience working with learning disabled students. Dr. Kellam talked about how some lower income students do not receive testing for accomodations once they get to college since it is privatized and funded by the university. As a result, this was the initial issue that I researched, but then I found out it was more of a federal issue rather than a state issue. Therefore, I went back to the drawing board and found a few good articles describing Michigan's lack of structure in helping learning disabled students. From there, I was able to direct my proposal to focusing on the problem of parents not communicating with elementary schools early on to get their kids tested for learning disabilities. By preventing the issue earlier, I was able to come up with a few solutions that are listed below.

In addition, I had a few consultations with Michael about how to pinpoint funding. He suggested that I call a few advocacy groups, so during one of my consultations with Michael we called a bunch of different advocacy groups. When we talked to an advocacy group in Illinois, they suggested that I then call public schools to get a better estimate of funding. After that we called the Ann Arbor Public Schools, but the person who has the information was on break this week, so hopefully I can find out funding estimates next week. This part of the research process took a lot of due diligence and relentlessness.

Author contributions: All work of Matthew Nabi

Please delineate--in detail--who made what contributions to the process and to the finished proposal? Who took on which responsibilities in researching ideas, drafting language, etc.?

 

FORMAL PROPOSAL

The sections below should comprise your final proposal language, submitted for consideration by your peers and potential inclusion in the MSC Platform.

Preambulatory clauses

These set up the PROBLEM, but not the solution.

WHEREAS....approximately 13.1% of Michigan students have a learning disabilitiy, providing a challenge for them in school and once they graduate and enter the workforce.

WHEREAS....scientists estimate that between 5 and 12 percent of children in the US have dyselxia, but only 4.5% of students in public schools are diagnosed with a specific learning disability.

WHEREAS...29% of kids with disabilities dropped out of school and only 63% graduated with a regular high school diploma.

WHEREAS....Michigan is one of 2 states that needs intervention according to failing to meet the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

(Add more "Whereas" clauses if necessary.)

Operative clauses

These describe in detail, the solution you are proposing (not the problem itself; those should go in the "Whereas" clauses above).

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED....

1. Develop dyslexia and other learning disability screenings early on that help with preventing lingering affects from untreated learning disabilities.

2.  Create a 2 year pilot program for the learning disability screenings in a Detroit elementary school and a Flint elementary, as the learning disabled community makes up 16.2% of the district's population vs. 13.1% statewide.

3. Encourages teachers to work with parents if their kids are diagnosed after the learning disability screening, with the goal of not leaving kids undiagnosed.

4.  An assessment will be made after the 2 year pilot program to see the direct impact of the learning disability screenings and determine whether these screenings should be adopted in other public schools in Michigan.

(Add more "Resolved" clauses if necessary.)

Counter-arguments:

What are three reasonable arguments against this proposal?

1. Parents will overlook the problem and not buy into the idea that their child might have a potential learning disability and need extra assistance at school.

2. Students need to be pulled out of class during testing, and could disrupt their normal learning. 

3. There are a wide array of learning disabilities, so having a standardized diagnosing process might not be seen as helpful since each disability requires a different set of accommodations.

Costs and funding:

What will your proposal cost (in direct expenses, lost tax revenue, lost economic opportunity, and/or non-monetary costs)? How will you pay for your proposed legislation? Where will/could the funding for your proposal come from?  Who might object to dedicating resources to your proposal (competing interests)?  

As I mentioned in the research part of my proposal, I had a few consultations with Michael about how to pinpoint funding. He suggested that I call a few advocacy groups, so during one of my consultations with Michael we called a bunch of different advocacy groups. When we talked to an advocacy group in Illinois, they suggested that I then call public schools to get a better estimate of funding. After that we called the Ann Arbor Public Schools, but the person who has the information was on break this week, so hopefully I can find out funding estimates next week. This part of the research process took a lot of due diligence and relentlessness. There is no real funding estimate at this moment, but I am hopeful that my call with the Ann Arbor Public Schools will produce an accurate funding estimate for each school district and each student.

References:

These can include websites or other information you have found about the issue.

https://www.salemnews.com/news/local_news/baker-approves-plan-for-dyslexia-screening/article_7856998f-ffb5-5345-bc3d-04ad4ef9d642.html

https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/education/2018/07/16/feds-michigan-needs-special-education-intervention/788247002/

https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/detroit-city/2018/07/10/detroit-schools-target-ailing-special-ed/739582002/

https://www.apmreports.org/story/2017/09/11/hard-to-read

https://www.understood.org/en/family/managing-everyday-challenges/financial-challenges/10-resources-for-finding-a-free-or-low-cost-private-evaluation-for-learning-and-attention-issues

 

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
Total votes: 18

Contributors