Suffern parents to Board of Education: Do more to help kids with dyslexia
A group of parents of kids with dyslexia in Rockland County are calling on the Suffern School District to put together a plan to better identify the disorder and raise their kids' reading levels.
The parents came out to last night's Board of Education meeting to demand that the district to implement early screening, develop literacy programs and hire certified staff to support all types of learners.
October is Dyslexia Awareness Month; the disorder affects roughly one-fifth of the population, making reading more difficult for people and significantly impacting their lives.
One parent says her ninth-grade daughter is reading at an elementary school level because of the lack of services offered by the district and calls this an urgent problem.
"We can't wait for a meeting two months down the road, revisit this next spring, or for them to figure out a plan for the future. This needs to happen now. This needs to happen quickly," said Kim Peters, parent of a Suffern student.
"Words, whenever I try to read them, constantly fuzz up in my brain - it just does not comprehend what they are saying," says high school freshman Ben Grossman.
Grossman says he was diagnosed back in the first grade and that he's worked with instructors within the school over the years. But Ben says that just made the situation more difficult. "It's just been a struggle because I've been doing three times the work as normal kids, with less of an outcome. "
Suffern Superintendent of Schools Dr. Erik Gundersen acknowledged their concerns and promised changes.
"It is important for me to continue learning about the struggles of our students as we develop a comprehensive plan on how to better address the challenges that our dyslexic students face," he said.
More than 400 members of the Suffern community have signed an online petition urging the district to put a plan together.
Dr. Gundersen says he will meet with the parents Thursday to go over their concerns and address the changes over the coming months.