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(New Zealand) Time to recognize the "neurodiverse learners"; calls for nat'l screening

Nov 1, 2018, Newsroom: Thousands of students with special needs, but no data About 80,000 school-aged children are believed to have dyslexia, but the Government can’t be sure because there is no centralised data on those with greater learning needs. Laura Walters reports. … Martin is currently working on the Government’s Draft Disabilities and Learning Support Action Plan. This plan is a rethink of how the education system recognises and supports students with disabilities and those who have become known as neurodiverse learners – people with dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, and those on the autism spectrum. … “We know nothing, absolutely nothing,” Martin said. Dyslexia has been officially recognised in New Zealand since 2007, but there is no centralised data collection, no standardised assessment or screening, a lack of professional development and training, and private diagnosis can cost about $2000. A Parliamentary inquiry, which reported back in 2016 and received about 400 submissions, found as many as one in seven people have dyslexia. That’s as many as 80,000 school-aged children. … The plan is to put in place standardised screening across the country, to pick up on learning difficulties when kids started school. By the time they are six or seven, they would be able to be screened for dyslexia by teachers. Standardised screening would allow the Government to collect data and identify where further tools and resources were needed, Martin said. …


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