I agreed to write this article, after initially refusing, because I believed my story could help parents manage their LD children. Almost every week I see an undiagnosed or untreated disabled child express their frustration in an antisocial way. I can stay at this place. Without loving, caring and involved parents, my frustration at not being able to stay in class and to some extent on the playground would have manifested itself in the same self-destructive way.
Schools and courts have failed to fulfill their responsibilities towards LD children. When I was younger, they didn’t recognize the problem. Now they can diagnose and treat LD, but they haven’t dedicated the resources to doing what needs to be done.
I hope the FCLD benchbook will have a significant impact in the juvenile courts. For the first time, juvenile court judges will play a formal role in helping deal with young people at risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Hopefully, this will lead to remedial programs to prevent the escalation of conflict between frustrated, angry and impatient youngsters and their exhausted and helpless father seeking to socialize his children and integrate them into peer groups. They are unable to do so. Often in the past, the solution was to put the child into foster care, an unsatisfactory and unprofitable solution that may do more harm than good.
Schools are key to avoiding the kind of conflict we see in family courts. Early diagnosis of the problem and an integrated treatment plan, which includes not only helping the child, but also advice for parents, will prevent many children from getting lost now. Unfortunately, many schools have not focused their attention and resources on the problem, and research proposals for finding ways to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease early are being lost.
It is an improvement. Education programs such as the FCLD Lawyers’ Grants and Judges’ Handbooks are raising awareness of the problem and the horrific waste it causes, and more LD children are identified and supported. Unfortunately, the process is painfully slow.
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