U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan issued the following statement on Learning Disabilities; Dyslexia; and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Awareness Month:
October serves as an important period of awareness across our country for the one in five public school students who experience learning disabilities and attention issues.
This is a time for parents, educators, and policymakers to understand how these disabilities impact students and their families, to reflect on the significant achievements that these students have made, and to renew our commitment to creating a stronger future for them.
Approximately 2.5 million students in the U.S. are identified as having a specific learning disability—such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia—and as many as 6 million students are identified as having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Students who live and learn with these issues often experience challenges in school related to reading, writing, mathematics, and focus; but these students also have great strengths and enormous potential.
In fact, over the last four decades, since the passage of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, students with ADHD and learning disabilities such as dyslexia have graduated from high school in greater numbers, and more have gone on to college than ever before.
While we should celebrate these accomplishments, we also must recognize that there is more to do to ensure that students with learning disabilities, dyslexia, and ADHD have every opportunity to fulfill their potential, attain higher education, and obtain good jobs at the same rates as their peers.
To reach this goal, later this month, the U.S. Department of Education will release information that will assist states and local school districts in recognizing the unique needs of students with learning disabilities—such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia. Supporting students with learning disabilities so that they may thrive in school is a critical responsibility each of us shares if we are to help all students achieve their dreams.