I have recently run into a series of IEP teams that all seem to have been making the same claim that students with intellectual challenges can not learn to read beyond the most rudimentary level. When faced with lack of progress even on IEP goals, I am told that students "like that" just do not progress. It is enough to make my head explode when faced with the bias of low expectations. Schools feel that they have a literacy loophole that negates any need to show progress on a basic area of academic developement--literacy.
Pam Labellarte, an experienced special advocate and a parent of a child with Downs Syndrome who works for me, authored the following first person account of her struggle with school to recognize that her daughter can read if taught appropriately, and her wonderful success in recent years with the SLANT method. At the end of the first person account is her tutor's Masters thesis on her work with SLANT with students with Downs and her data. It is good stuff and should help in the future when faced with the same argument that students like that can not learn to read.