“I’m just starting my sophomore year in college…. I first knew I had a learning disability when I was in first grade. A learning disability is like any other disability, but in this case it’s the learning process that is disturbed. There is something that’s stopping me from learning in the average way. I know it’s not that I can’t learn. I can, but I learn differently and it’s often much harder for me…. This in turn means that I have difficulty with reading and spelling, and also with remembering what I hear” (Wren 3).
Like Cory, almost 20% of children, of the total school population, suffer from different types of learning disabilities. There are an even larger number of students that go undetected with L.D.s. Most of these, undetected students are male (Maniet 11). This might explain the unbelievable number of famous males that have succeeded in their professional careers, while suffering from their disabilities.
Thomas Edison, Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, da Vinci, Beethoven, and Tom Cruise are only a few of the well-known males who have dealt with a learning disability. These famous males had problems in the areas in spelling, grammar, and math (Maniet 20). Students without learning disabilities face problems like these, but these areas become increasingly difficult when you have trouble interrupting such everyday subjects. Since, a majority of these men were alive before a time when learning disabilities were a documented problem, most of them flunked out of school or had to repeat grades (Maniet).
Like, a building without handicap entrances, school is a major hurdle for a student with a L.D. (Levine 210). School can also bring on some social problems that go along with a learning disability. Words like stupid and retard are thrown around groups of classmates, but to a special student, these words can be damaging and very hurtful. Kids need to be taught that words like these need to be ignored. This is especially true in L.D. children (Levine 210). What most L.D. students and their parents don’t know about themselves is that most L.D. students have average or above average intelligence (Maniet 15). There is a block aid that is blocking that vast information.
In the same area of social acceptance, there is the problem of discrimination, because most people think that a disability is more visual, like being in a wheelchair. People think that these students will be a strain on their time. Fellow students and teachers sometime think that L.D. students are not paying attention or hyperactive, think that they are slow, and think that they get special attention (Maniet 49). Children often feel frustrated and embarrassed and this makes a student feel like giving up. Giving up is an easy thing to do, but for a L.D. student giving up is made easier when a student feels worthless.
Parent’s sometime feel broken hearted because their children feel worthless. Parents feel that it is their fault that their child has this problem. In some instances, it is thought that this gene can be passed from the parents, but it can also be the result of an early childhood illness (Levine 4). It really is uncertain what really causes a learning disability. What some people do not understand is that a learning disability can not be fixed. Like everything else in life, it is something that you learn to deal with and it is the L.D. teacher’s job to teach this lesson.
An L.D. teacher must have a deep understanding of what it takes for a student to grasp a concept. Mainstreaming is one of the most practiced types of educating disabled kids. This means that the students spend most of their day in regular classes and only a few hours in a special education classes (Lerner 132). Skills that are needed to succeed in the general education classes are taught during this time. These classes can be much like a strategy time to figure out of that specific student’s way of learning best.
Learning disability teachers spend much of their time trying to help their students adapt to what are called the “normal” classes. What would it be like if a “normal” student tried to learn like a L.D. student does (Maniet 182)?
Write your name on a piece of paper, using your best handwriting. Now write it again, but this time, move your left foot on the floor in a counter-clockwise as you write. Compare the handwriting.
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