It is inexcusable in 2016 for teaching professionals not to use simple classroom accommodations for kids with mild learning difficulties.
I’m now sure that my son has some impairment of executive function capability, possibly in the category of ‘central auditory processing disorder’ abbreviated to CAPD. Whatever it is, it’s very mild and actually in population terms at his school he is ‘doing well’. He has passed 6 N5s and 2 or 3 Highers (depending on whether you think a D is a pass), which puts him in a zone nobody (except his parents) is concerned about.
But his father and I are both educated to doctorate level, so he is not doing as well as you might expect the biological child of such parents to do. You would expect 5 good Higher passes in one sitting. And the Scottish Government’s latest slogan regarding education is Getting It Right For Every Child (GIRFEC), so the school’s failure to recognise my son’s condition is frustrating.
At the beginning of every school year I tell my son’s teachers, “What you say to Stan [not his real name, obviously] is not necessarily what he ‘hears’ “. The word ‘hears’ here has the meaning of ‘understands’; in CAPD there is no hearing impairment. I ask the teachers to ensure that Stan has written down the homework task accurately and to take a moment to make sure he has taken in any important instructions. “Oh right,” they say while the thought bubble over their heads says ‘neurotic pushy parent of a lazy thick kid’. Then a few months later we get a report card home on which various teachers have written, “Stan, you often don’t seem to understand the task,” or “You often don’t answer the question that was asked,” or “Your work tends to be poorly laid out and untidy and you don’t write enough.”
TELL US SOMETHING WE DON’T ALREADY KNOW, for goodness sake.
Of course, I understand that Stan’s condition is incredibly mild and that the school has to deal with many kids with really severe learning difficulties. But, it is inexcusable that they first of all don’t bother to make basic classroom/teaching accommodations for my son, and then, criticise him for displaying the effects of the invisible disability that we told them about in the first place.
So you can see why GIRFEC has become a substitute swear word in our house, usually used when reading school report cards.