Parents frustrated with lack of support for dyslexia in schools

Parents frustrated with lack of support for dyslexia in schools

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A parent support group is frustrated with the lack of help for their kids in Region 8 schools.

The Northeast Arkansas Dyslexia support group wants schools to provide their children with the right support the kids need.

Back in 2013, the state of Arkansas mandated public schools meet the needs of dyslexic children.

Concerned parents say their children are not experiencing this mandate in their schools and are struggling every day.

Ashley Boles is a parent of two dyslexic daughters and said it has been a struggle getting them the help.

Boles said, like any parent, his goal is for his kids is to excel in school.

However, excelling is difficult when schools continued to tell his daughter to wait and see if she will finally catch on to the material.

"That is the worst thing you can do to them, say okay we are going to hold you back because you didn't learn how to read, but you're still going over the same material and you are still not going to learn to read," Boles said.

Boles said waiting to finally catch up is not the right way to teach a child.

"She got behind because of the wait and see," he said. "It is like if you are running a mile race and someone says wait and walk the first quarter mile and see how that goes. Then start jogging the next and maybe you will catch up. It just needs to be addressed early."

Boles said catching dyslexia early is key and so is the continued support.

He said it is the awful to see your child struggle each day.

"She would cry and say I am stupid I can't do this, and that is very disheartening as a parent to see your child go through that and not want to go to school," Boles said.

Boles and his family did their own research on the issue when they could not get help from the school district.

He said they paid out of pocket to have his daughter tested.

"Thankfully, we were able to pay an outside source and get a diagnosis because it wasn't happening for the school," Boles said.

Not only did he have to pay for the testing, he had to pay for tutors and assistive technology.

Boles said his daughters' tutors have been great and audio books are a wonderful tool, but he still wishes they could get support in school.

He said some parents do not have the means to pay out of pocket for testing or tutoring.

Boles said he knows the financial struggle that can come with dyslexia and he thinks schools need to help.

"In my opinion the funding is there, it is just not being used in the right ways and if we started early with these kids then by the time they were in junior high or high school the struggle wouldn't be near as bad," Boles said.

Region 8 News spoke with some superintendents and special education teachers Tuesday who said the financial burden is what holds the schools back as well.

The 2013 mandate was not funded, so schools did not get statewide financial support to help dyslexic children.

Schools said they are working on giving kids the needed tools, but it does take time and money.

Boles said he wishes the schools could get to a point where they have a written protocol for teachers on dyslexia, education on dyslexia for parents and teachers, testing for students and multiple support tools that kids could get in the beginning.

He said dyslexic kids are very bright; they just need the tools to succeed.

"We would list off these talented incredible people who are dyslexic and struggled just like our kids did and we try to point to the positives," Boles said. "I mean we wouldn't have electricity if it wasn't for a dyslexic person."

Boles suggests that parents who have struggling children in school should seek help from their local support groups.

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