As kids head back to school this week, CBC Calgary is looking into some of the problems students and their parents are facing in the public system.
One of those problems is in assessing learning disabilities.
Here are eight things you should know about learning disabilities in Alberta.
1. People with average or above average intelligence who have difficulty learning are defined as having a learning disability. According to research done in the UK, about 10 per cent of the overall student population has a learning disability. That includes dyslexia, dyscalculia and autism.
2. During the 2011-2012 school year, Alberta Education identified 19,283 students with learning disabilities. 80 per cent of those students have difficulties learning to read, including dyslexia
3. Many students with learning disabilities go on to post-secondary education. The University of Calgary has 324 students with learning disabilities.
4. Parents who are concerned that their child is having trouble learning can request a psycho-educational assessment. There is no cost to the parents, but there can be more than a two-year wait to get the assessment done.
5. The Calgary Board of Education (CBE) funds 48 full-time psychologist positions. The Calgary Catholic School District employs 16.
6. The same assessment by a private psychologist can cost $2,000 or more.
7. The CBE runs one school for students with learning disabilities. For Grade 3-9 students, Dr Oakley School provides an intensive literacy program focused on developing reading and writing. Other students are placed in the regular system with individual program plans (IPP).
8. Calgary has three private schools for students with learning disabilities:
- Foothills Academy: tuition $14,400.
- Rundle Academy: tuition $11,300-13,200.
- Calgary Academy: tuition $16,275.