Monday, November 1, 2010

Report says 3 Canadian provinces don't provide proper services for students with ADHD

From The Montreal Gazette:

A first-ever report card into how Canada's special education systems "recognize, identify and support" students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, has given Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia failing grades.

The report, released yesterday by the Centre for ADHD Advocacy Canada, found students diagnosed with ADHD in those provinces don't qualify for official "exceptional student" status unless they have a second learning disability or another recognized disorder. That means they won't receive special accommodations in terms of how they're taught or evaluated, the study found.

Heidi Bernhardt, the centre's national director, who raised three children with ADHD, said that has a huge impact. "They won't be able to access things like extra time to write their tests or exams, having assignments broken down for them ... instead of potentially doing 30 questions, they could do 10," she said, adding what takes most students 45 minutes to do takes two to three hours for those with ADHD.

Students also won't benefit from preferential seating close to the teacher, additional breaks during the day and special consideration when their behaviour or grades are being assessed, she said.

"If deemed an exceptional student, it allows the principal ... to view the disability or disorder and see if it may be impacting what they're doing or not doing," she said. "The other thing with this is it sets a view of ADHD as not being a legitimate disability or an important disability. That can significantly impact learning."

It can be very frustrating for parents, Bernhardt said, adding some have launched human-rights complaints or found sneaky ways around the system.