Students raise money for Learning Disabilities Month

Kailey Blunk, Staff Writer

Not only has the month of October been recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but it has also been Learning Disabilities Awareness Month since 1985 when former president Ronald Reagan released a proclamation declaring it so.

“Awareness of learning disabilities is one of the most important advances in education in recent years,” Reagan said. “As more and more Americans become aware, our citizens with learning disabilities will have even greater opportunity to lead full and productive lives and to make a contribution to our society.”

Since 1985, more and more people have been able to open their eyes and have become more knowledgeable and understanding of how people learn differently; however, the public is still learning.

There are many learning disabilities, such as dyslexia, a form of reading comprehension disability; dysgraphia, a written expression disability; dyscalculia, a math calculation disability; executive function difficulties, which cause problems with organization, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, which is a disorder that causes an inability to retain focus and attention.

“[Some learning-disabled students] might be really good at math, but they really struggle with reading, and vice versa. [Another student can be] an excellent reader, but for some reason, they’re unable to learn the math skills as easily as other people do,” Joseph Schertz, special education administrator, said.

According to Schertz, there are around 200 learning-disabled students enrolled at Plainfield Central. The special education department provides programs for students who are in need of the extra help.

“They can have an IEP, and they would be able to get individualized assistance through a special-ed teacher. It could be they have a class where it’s taught with only special-ed students, or they can be in REI classes where there’s two teachers: the gen-ed teacher and the special-ed teacher, where they might not need as intensive accommodations,” Shaina Shaver, learning behavioral specialist, said.

Along with IEPs, the school offers 504 plans who are in need of lighter accommodations, according to Shaver.

In order to help advocate for Learning Disabilities Awareness Month and one of its common disorders, dyslexia, seniors Alyssa Hauert and Kennedi Jackson will be running a week-long campaign through National Honor Society.

“There is a special education program here at Plainfield Central, and they don’t necessarily get money budgeted for them, so they can’t always get new equipment or new textbooks or technology that will assist in teaching the students who are in the special education program,” Hauert said. “The money that we raise is going to go to them and they can use it as they see fit.”

In order to raise money for the special education department, Hauert and Jackson, along with the volunteers from the National Honor Society, will be collecting money at the volleyball game on Oct. 16 and the football game on Oct. 20, holding a bake sale during lunch on Oct. 19 – 20, and hosting a carnival-themed fundraising event on Oct. 21.