Re: “Students with special needs diagnosed too late — or never”:

I was a public school teacher (primary grades/reading consultant) for 34 years, and my experience in Washington was that teachers, even of kindergarten children, were well aware of children with learning disabilities. Because of the discrepancy model, testing before third grade was a waste of time and resources. As a result, lower-grade teachers cobbled together help for these students with remedial reading teachers or aides, parent help and more targeted instruction by the classroom teacher. Teachers did the best they could, but the interventions provided could not substitute for strategic and consistent instruction provided by a certified learning disabilities teacher.

I taught in Connecticut for 16 years in three different school districts, and when a child (even as young as kindergarten) needed help, the intervention team met to plan a course of action to help the child. Federal laws apply to Connecticut and Washington, yet Connecticut managed to provide help while Washington didn’t.

Marilynne Scott, Bothell