Children with dyslexia and/or dyscalculia: “For them, school is often associated with painful defeat”


BERLIN. Today, September 30, is dyslexia and dyscalculia day – reason for VBE national chairman Udo Beckmann to demand from politicians that schools be staffed in such a way that teachers can support their students individually. The Federal Association for Dyslexia and Dyscalculia (BVL) and the German Children’s Aid focus on the legal confusion that prevails on the subject. Nationwide, uniform compensation for disadvantages is required for affected children and young people throughout their school years.

Dyslexia and dyscalculia can overwhelm children if the school does not address them. Illustration: Shutterstock

“More than ten percent of children and young people have problems with reading, writing or arithmetic. For them, school is often associated with painful defeats, for example through bad grades or humiliation. This has meant that many of the affected students suffer from psychological stress,’ says VBE head Beckmann.

He emphasizes: “The high level of individual support that would be needed to help them is hardly affordable given the dramatic shortage of teachers, the consequences of the ongoing corona pandemic or the challenges of integrating refugee Ukrainian children and youth. There is also a shortage of staff in the early childhood area, so that the children affected are denied the extra support they need even before they start school. The resulting learning deficits pervade the entire educational biography and they cannot exercise their right to education, regardless of their origin or illness or learning disability.”

“The acquisition of new and more teachers and educators must have the highest priority”

It also makes it clear that politicians must do everything imaginable to reduce this serious educational injustice and finally create the framework conditions that are essential for teachers to provide individual educational offers to each student. Beckmann: “The acquisition of new and additional teachers and pedagogues must have the highest priority. In addition, teachers and pedagogues must be better trained through appropriate continuing education and training for the earliest possible diagnosis, so that support can be ensured as early as possible. There is also a need for support through the use of multi-professional teams. They can help design offers that are tailored to the respective problem situation, which offer the necessary support for psychological stress and thus make a valuable contribution to more educational equality for the affected school pupils.”

“We are appalled by the arbitrariness with which children with dyslexia and dyscalculia are sidelined in our school system,” complains Rainer Becker, honorary chairman of Deutsche Kinderhilfe. “Every child who is disadvantaged in our school system needs our support and compensation for disadvantages in order to prepare them for education or university studies,” Becker demands. Each federal state has different school regulations for dyslexia and dyscalculia. More time for the exam, technical aids or personal assistance can help absorb knowledge without barriers and present it in the exam.

“It is absolutely incomprehensible to parents and unfair to their children that each federal state goes its own way. In some federal states, the framework conditions are currently even worsening. Education opportunities in Germany depend on where the parents live. It lacks all common sense,’ says Tanja Scherle, federal chairman of BVL.

“A person who wears glasses wouldn’t be banned from wearing their glasses in high school either”

In particular, it is difficult for students with dyscalculia to get through the education system, as in many states there is still no compensation for disadvantages (or it ends with primary school). “It’s unbelievable. A person who wears glasses wouldn’t be banned from wearing their glasses in high school either. Glasses should also be understood as a way to compensate for a disadvantage that no one has to fight for, since it’s natural to compensate poor eyesight,” says Scherle.

Compensation for disadvantage does not represent any preference or simplification, each student must achieve the same performance. There is sufficient scientific knowledge about dyslexia and dyscalculia to show how people with these disabilities can best be supported individually and how compensation for disadvantages should be designed accordingly.

Parents had to fight again and again to ensure that their child was compensated for disadvantages. They are often rejected at school because it is assumed that they want to make things easier for the child. “Deliberately discriminating against children, not providing compensation for disadvantages and simply looking the other way when they fail in the education system must be a thing of the past. Education policy must take up its responsibility and make it uniform across Germany, otherwise we will not be able to train well-qualified specialists, which we already lack today,’ demands Rainer Becker.

According to Scherle, people with dyslexia or dyscalculia receive compensation for their disadvantages during education and studies, but in most cases not at school. Our education system urgently needs to improve here to ensure uniform educational perspectives. “Strengthening strengths and breaking down barriers is the only right path to more equal opportunities,” emphasizes the association’s chairman. News4teachers

Dyslexia and dyscalculia: marginalized – why partial performance disorders receive too little attention

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