My own experience of the education system was around 60 years ago and it was in the UK, but from what I hear, it is much the same now and maybe worse when it comes to performance and disabilities.
In many instances the system is ‘one fits all’, whereas children, as are all of us, individual beings with our own distinct ways, so one fits all is not suitable.
Teachers, and I am not blaming, for it is the system tend to assume we are all the same and plan their lessons structures accordingly. So, when a student appears to be underperforming it is assumed that it is not the fault of the system, but the student, when, in reality, it could well be the system. Another factor is finance for like most areas in the UK there are great degrees of underfunding.
So, it is hardly ever, that other factors will be considered, is the current teaching appropriate, for some students will need more than others, and more importantly why do some need more input.
If a disability is visible then, that maybe considered, but not always, but when it is invisible disabilities, it will not be, for it is more than likely unknown.
But, whose responsibility is it to discover the invisible disabilities, well in effect it is everyone the student comes into contact with, but parents may not have the knowledge, especially if it is not already known to be there with other family members.
There is the family GP, but as much of a diagnosis is by way of communication to the GP by the child and their parents, if they are not aware, then how can they mention it.
So, the next area of regular contact is the school and especially the student’s teachers, but they are not necessarily looking for invisible disabilities, when it could be said that they should be, but is the possibility of invisible disabilities within the training of being a teacher, I fear not.
So, it is more than likely that the system is mostly to blame, and therefore these students are receiving a disservice which should not be so.
The system needs to change, and this has to be done in all areas, in the training of teachers, in teachers’ appraisals, more education of families and GPs. So, when a student is seeming to be failing, it may, most likely not be down to student attitude in not wishing to learn, but many other factors with invisible disabilities being one, but could well be that they are a young carer, family situation is not good for the student and many others.
Students have rights and these should be adhered to and blaming them should be a last resort, if at all and not the first, which the system dictates to.
Source: School Leaders With Disabilities: ‘It’s Important to Share That You’re Not Alone’