Susann Meinke; Bernand Rietberg; Leonie Badura; Alessandra Bremer; Chloe Lagesse; Onna van Cooten; Dominique Lindell; and Lisa Peters

Ginny’s Story

You’re the 2nd grade teacher at your school. A few weeks after the new school year has started, you notice that Ginny, one of your students, shows behavior that could indicate a developmental disorder. After discussing this with your school’s psychologist, Ginny gets tested. When the psychologist returns with the results, no diagnosis has been made. The psychologist tells you that although the shown socio-emotional and cognitive development of Ginny differ from the norm, it is not significant enough to make a diagnosis. You respect the authority of the school’s psychologist, but at the same time you feel like Ginny is not receiving all the help she needs.

It will take until 8th grade before Ginny finally gets diagnosed with ASD.

This chapter uses the terms sex and gender, which in literature are often used interchangeably. In the following segments, the term sex is denoted at the biological structures of the body. Whereas, gender is describing the societal characterisation of behaviour on the basis of sex (Edward, 2014).

By the end of this chapter, you will:

  • Understand the ways in which gender discrimination and bias have influenced the diagnoses of learning disabilities and behavioral ‘disorders’. This is very important for educators as we are often the first to observe and identify students who may need learning and/or mental health support.
  • Considers the ways that stigma not only affects the individual with the learning disability, but also affects the individuals they are close to, and what teachers can do to start the de-stigmatization process.
  • Learn some meaningful and practical strategies to help you provide all of your students with meaningful and equitable learning experiences.
Diagnostic Terms used in this Chapter

ADHD: Attention Deficit [Hyperactivity] Disorder (AD[H]D) is a disorder wherein symptoms of inattention, and impulsivity, and in the case of ADHD, hyperactivity, are present, affecting social and academic activities (Barkley, 2006).

ASD: Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a condition of impaired social interaction, restrictive and repetitive behaviours, and intense focus on specific interests and activities (Steer, Golding & Bolton, 2010).

Dyslexia: Dyslexia is a phonological coding problem, which presents as difficulty in recognition and decoding of words (Peterson & Pennington, 2012).  The chapter explores all of the above subjects through interactive reflection opportunities, engaging strategies for action, and suggested resources for further understanding.


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Inclusive Perspectives in Primary Education Copyright © 2021 by Susann Meinke; Bernand Rietberg; Leonie Badura; Alessandra Bremer; Chloe Lagesse; Onna van Cooten; Dominique Lindell; and Lisa Peters is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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