Monthly Archives: June 2011

Simulation Stimulation

June 15

The exercises we did in class tonight to simulate the experiences of a person with LD were fascinating, interesting, eye-opening… and frustrating!

I read the story about the fiddler (or was it a rabbit) with great wonder.  Not because it was a riveting story, but because I could read it at all!  Written backwards, in mirror image, it was a challenge, but once I realized what the pattern was, I felt like I was able to make a switch in my brain to compensate.  I am normally a fairly slow reader; I was the one the teacher was usually waiting on to finish when we had to read things in class.  Yet tonight, I was the first one to finish reading the story about the fiddler.  This made me wonder if I maybe have a bit of learning disability in me that I have learned to accommodate without even realizing it.

I understood what Dr. Gerber was trying to do by creating that feeling of pressure to finish reading the selection.  I have been on the receiving end of that pressure many times because of my slow reading pace.  I watched the angst growing on the faces of my classmates as they struggled to read the paragraphs, and I could see the sense of urgency when Dr. Gerber would ask who needed more time.  I remember times when I would start skimming what I had left to read so I wouldn’t hold up the rest of the class any longer, and then while the teacher would ask questions about the reading passage, I’d go back and try to finish reading it.

During our discussion of this exercise, we talked about how we all employed some type of strategy to decipher and decode this story.  I felt as though the strategy I employed was very deliberate, and I started to appreciate what someone with dyslexia does every time they read something.  Then Dr. Gerber said something that stopped me in my mental tracks – when a child first experiences these reading problems, before they understand that they have dyslexia, they don’t have any available strategies to help them decipher what they’re reading.

Я предполагаю, что походил бы на меня пробующий прочитать это предложение на русском языке.

(Translation:  I guess that would be like me trying to read this sentence in Russian.)

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Posted by on June 26, 2011 in ADLT 688


Why This is Personal for Me

June 13

I recently went to my nephew’s high school graduation, and of course I’m going to say he’s a bright kid, because he’s my nephew.  But he is very smart.  He took 5 AP classes – including AP Physics – in his senior year.  He was a member of Beta Club, an honor society that recognizes high academic achievement.  He was in National Honor Society.  He graduated with a Commonwealth Diploma, the highest honor diploma given out at his school.  Oh, and one more thing about my nephew – he has dyslexia.

My nephew’s story is a good one.  His dyslexia was not formally diagnosed until he was in fifth grade, but with great credit to Hindman Settlement School, he was afforded the opportunity to spend six weeks of his summer in a program that was specifically designed to teach him how to accommodate his different way of learning.  The program was not only for the kids, but for the parents, too, to understand what their kids were going through and how they could help them.  (You can read Robert’s story here.)

My nephew is 18, an adult, now.  He’s leaving home to attend college in Michigan.  While he’ll still be in an academic environment that probably has a good understanding of what it means to be learning disabled, he’s also going to be living much more independently in a world that may not always understand how he learns differently.  He may experience the manifestation of his LD in new ways as he embarks on his adult life, but he has such a good understanding of it, and he has never been ashamed of it.  In fact, as my sister wrote, “he often wears it as a badge of honor!”

So, that’s what I’m hoping this class is for me – a chance to understand how it is different for someone with a learning disability and what I can do to enhance the interactions I may have with adults with LD.

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Posted by on June 26, 2011 in ADLT 688