Special Education

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Parents' Views: Although more parents are becoming educated about learning disabilities, many say they would not want their children's problems formally identified that way, according to a new survey.

Forty-eight percent of parents surveyed said they feel the "learning disabled" label is more harmful to a child in the long run than dealing with an undiagnosed problem, the Roper Starch Worldwide firm found in a recent telephone survey.

That has advocates for the learning disabled worried that children suspected of having such a disability will not get the help they need. Early intervention, most experts say, is crucial to helping those children keep up with their peers in schoolwork and other activities.

The survey, commissioned by the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation in Meriden, Conn., randomly polled 1,000 adults across the nation plus an additional 700 parents of children under age 18.

For More Information

Read an overview of the survey, or download the entire report (requires Adobe's Acrobat Reader).

Some misconceptions also came to light in the survey. For instance, 56 percent of respondents said they believed that learning disabilities are caused by the environment in which a child is raised, and 48 percent said learning disabilities are sometimes the product of laziness.

"The challenge this nation faces is to convince parents and those who care for children that early interventions for L.D. do work," James H. Wendorf, the executive director of the National Center for Learning Disabilities, said in a written statement.

High Unemployment: Many individuals with disabilities have not benefited from the strong economy and civil rights protections, an independent federal agency has reported.

For More Information

Read the report, "National Disability Policy: A Progress Report" online.

More than 70 percent of disabled people are unemployed, and slightly more than half of all special education students are not being mainstreamed into regular classrooms, the National Council on Disability says in a new report, "National Disability Policy: A Progress Report," released this month.

The group believes that disabled people have made incremental progress on inclusion and becoming self-sufficient in the past year, said chairwoman Marca Bristo. But she is still concerned about recent attempts to weaken such laws as the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

—Joetta L. Sack [email protected]

Vol. 19, Issue 38, Page 14

Published in Print: May 31, 2000, as Special Education

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