Your rights Learning Disability Dyslexia and ADHD
1936: First known use of the term learning disability
According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of a learning disability is:
Any of various conditions (such as dyslexia or dysgraphia) that interfere with an individual’s ability to learn and so result in impaired functioning in language, reasoning, or academic skills (such as reading, writing, and mathematics) and that are thought to be caused by difficulties in processing and integrating information —called also learning difference.
According to The International Dyslexia Association, Dyslexia is:
“A specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.”
25% to 65% of children with dyslexia, have a dyslexic parent.
Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability characterized by difficulties with accurate and fluent word recognition, spelling, and reading decoding. People with dyslexia have problems discriminating sounds within a word or phonemes, a key factor in their reading and spelling difficulties.
ADD/HD and dyslexia are distinct conditions that frequently overlap, thereby causing some confusion about the nature of these two conditions. AD/HD is one of the most common developmental problems, affecting 3–5% of the school population. It is characterized by inattention, distractibility, hyperactivity and impulsivity. It is estimated that 30% of those with dyslexia have coexisting AD/HD. Coexisting means the two conditions, AD/HD and dyslexia, can occur together, but they do not cause each other.
When it comes to being a champion for your, whether as an adult or a child, awareness and self-advocacy are critical components for success.
Here’s the good news: if you suffer from learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or dyslexia, you are entitled to certain inalienable rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004 (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
These laws define the rights of students with learning disabilities, dyslexia and ADHD. These individuals are legally entitled to special services to help them overcome and accommodate their learning problems. These laws also protect people with learning disabilities, dyslexia and ADHD against unfair and illegal discrimination.
This means that – once you have been diagnosed – you are entitled to receive accommodations that will allow you to compete as a student at school or as an employee in the workplace. That’s the law.
But now the bad news: laws don’t work unless people advocate for them. Building skills for self-advocacy is important.Knowledge is power and understanding these laws will improve your or your child’s educational success and life!
If the individual is under 18 and is attending a public school, they can be evaluated and diagnosed with a learning disability and receive special services in their school by getting an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). If the individual is over 18, they can still qualify for many services but they need to have an evaluation and diagnosis that establishes they have a learning disability. They can also then advocate for appropriate accommodations at a workplace.
In High School, if a student has an IEP, the responsibility is on the school to provide appropriate educational supports and adjustments for the student. In college, however, the burden is on the student to advocate for these accommodations, and know precisely which accommodations they need. Receiving appropriate accommodations as an adult is a matter of civil rights.
Below are links to two websites that provide information about current laws and the rights for individuals with learning disabilities:
Click here if you are a parent looking to initiate an educational evaluation for your child.