Is Georgia failing to identify and test for learning disabilities?

A DeKalb parent sent me the letter she wrote to the governor and the local and state school superintendents about delays in diagnosing her son’s dyslexia.

Even after her son’s diagnosis, the mother discovered at a “Meet the Teacher” event this week that his high school teachers were unaware he now has a 504 plan in place. A 504 plan details the modifications and accommodations students diagnosed with special needs must have to succeed in school.

downey0505The parent urges Georgia to “reconsider its practice of testing only testing students for learning disabilities when they have fallen a grade level behind to a mode where students are screened when teachers first notice discrepancies and problems.”

The mother points out her son compensated for his learning disabilities for years, something parents often tell me is the case.

Here is her letter:

Governor Deal,

You state on your website that a strong education system leads to a strong economy. You recognize that for Georgia to remain an economic leader in the Southeast, Georgia must not only produce an educated workforce, but most also ensure that every student receive opportunities to reach their full potential.

I want to let you know, based on my experience with my child, that the school system is failing to ensure that every child is able to reach their full potential.

My son joined the DeKalb County School System in the fourth grade, after years at a Montessori school. His new teachers noticed that he was deficient in spelling and handwriting and struggled to write coherent narratives. From fourth grade to ninth grade he made mostly A’s. He would occasionally forget his work, or a teacher would not be able to read his handwriting and he would receive a zero, but it was not constant, so we did not worry. And, we took the stance that he was learning from his mistakes.

Everything changed his sophomore year. His grades slipped — he would do his work, carry it to school, and forget to turn in assignments even when students around him were turning in their work. He went from an A student, to an F and C student. We enrolled him in a study skills tutoring class, we met with teachers, and we met with his counselor. We heard things like “He just has to decide to do the work,” and “We see this at this age,” and “This is typical.”

We asked the assistant principal of testing and the counselor about testing for ADHD and were told that DeKalb County did not test for ADHD. Luckily for us and our son, we have the means to finance independent testing. Not every parent and child in Georgia have that option.

The tests showed conclusively that my son is dyslexic and has ADHD — and if the decision had been left to the county, he would not have been tested. We were shocked, but the puzzle pieces fell into place. The awful handwriting and spelling are indicators of dysgraphia, itself a hallmark of dyslexia. And the forgetfulness regarding assignments was a result of sensory overload.

We took the findings to the school and after a few weeks’ delay, we met with some teachers about the findings. When they saw the results, they were surprised that he had not been diagnosed already. You see, my son is a bright kid, and had so far had managed to squeak by.

But he went years without that diagnosis, and this is how he has been disadvantaged. If my son had been tested in the fourth grade—or even earlier in his sophomore year—his GPA may not have suffered.

He wants to go to Georgia Tech to study architecture or engineering. And while we will still work toward that goal, as it stands, from what I understand of Georgia Tech’s incoming freshman class, my son will not be a candidate. He will be lucky to even get his GPA back up to a standard where a second-tier college in the state would consider him as a candidate.

So Georgia has lost all of that potential.

My heart aches for the thousands of children, who like my son, have been compensating and have developed coping mechanisms to mask their disabilities, only to hit a point where they are finally overwhelmed and their coping mechanisms fail them. To teachers, like the ones my son had in 10th grade, these students can appear disinterested, indifferent, and lazy. If these children do not have parents who can be advocates, who are savvy enough to navigate the system, and who have resources to independently test their children, many of these children, and all of their potential, will wither. And I know this to be a fact, because if the decision had been left up to DeKalb County my son would never have been screened for learning disabilities.

I urge you to consider adopting a program like the one implemented in Mississippi that screens every single student for dyslexia and related disorders at a young age. As the result of a 2012 law, Mississippi requires that kindergartners or first-graders be tested for dyslexia.

I urge you to adopt standards that reward school systems that do more than the bare legal minimum standard of screening children for learning disabilities only after a child has fallen an entire grade level behind the standard or have become disruptive to the classroom. If more students like my son were screened earlier — when teachers first suspect issues may be present — rather than after a child has flunked and fallen dramatically behind, then more students will thrive, and isn’t that the goal?

If you truly want Georgia to achieve your goal of having a strong education system that provides a foundation for a strong economy, Georgia cannot continue to allow its school systems to do the bare legal minimum regarding screening children for learning disabilities.

 

Reader Comments 0

187 comments
Kpsnell
Kpsnell

The Department of Education in Georgia sets the guidelines by which school are able to determine if a child has a disability. The school's hands are tied by the laws and so people need to lobby to lawmakers, etc if they want changes. As a school psychologist, I understand everyone's frustrations, but we have to follow the law and attempt to make the best recommendations we can for every student. I can't tell you how difficult it is to tell a parent that wants help for their child that they don't qualify for that help under the law. Or conversely, try so hard to make a parent understand that we are seeing difficulties and the help is there for them, but they don't want the label on their child. In addition, if RTI is implemented with fidelity, less than 5% of the students should require more support. The problem is that teachers aren't given extra time to work with the students or given in depth training. Believe me when I say we are doing the best we can with the resources available to us. Funding for more school psychologists would be amazing, as some of us have upwards of 3 schools in this state.

pepesme
pepesme

Dyslexia is a LEARNING disability.  In Gwinnett county, they test for Autism, but they do not test for dyslexia.  If you go to the school about it, they will tell you it is a medical condition and needs to be diagnosed by a medical doctor.  But insurance agencies say it is a learning "difference" and not related to the brain.  So insurance does not cover testing for it. For complete testing that both confirms dyslexia and rules out all other issues that might look like it, you will pay from $800-$1200! This leaves students who come from a low income family out of luck. What parent has that kind of money sitting around?  In Gwinnett County, even if you fork out the funds and are able to get a diagnosis for dyslexia, the school system only provides accommodations, not intervention.   What's the difference?  Accommodations say, "You can't read, we will let you record your teacher teaching" or "We will provide you with recorded textbooks".  Interventions say, "You can't learn to read the traditional way, so we will use another proven method to teach you that will allow you to learn."  It is like telling a child who is struggling to walk, "We won't help you learn to walk.  Here, use this wheelchair you entire life."  This is what most counties within our state do to children with dyslexia.  It needs to stop.


The orton-gillingham method is proven to improve reading ability in those with dyslexia.  There are MANY different programs that use this method.  The NIH has stated that between 15-20% of the population has dyslexia to some degree.  We beat teachers over the head and make children "study to the test" for weeks on end to get good test results.  But consider this: If we just helped those 15-20% of our children who are struggling to read, how much would test scores increase?  Reading is the cornerstone of learning, and our children cannot afford for us to neglect that foundation for them any longer.  Screening for dyslexia must begin to take place for all students at an early age, and those who have it, should be trained to read with a proven method and given accommodations that allow them to learn. 


I stand with this mother.  Laws need to be passed that require screening.  Teachers need to be taught to recognize ALL the warning signs of dyslexia as many do not relate directly to reading.  And we need to require more than accommodations.  Intervention needs to be put in place. 15% of our school population is struggling needlessly.  They are children and I will join with this mother and speak for them.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@pepesme 

One concrete, true example, for you, for reflection.  A student was about to drop out of school at age 17 in the 11th grade.  This student's psychological test results (administered by the school system upon the SST request) indicated that this student had a severe visual memory problem recalling Dolch Sight words in written form on 2nd and 3rd grade level.  This was a specific learning disability which caused this student not to be able to read. This student had average intelligence, overall.  This student would never be able to change the phenomena in his brain function that caused the specific visual memory problem.  Dyslexia, in its purest form, simply means "cannot read."  (See the GDOE link provided by "Ifollowtherulessoshldyou," under the subheading for "Specific Learning Disabilities," and then under "dyslexia,"which states this same "definition" in its purest form for dyslexia.)  This student was labeled as having a "Specific Learning Disability" and was able to work with Special Education Teachers to help compensate for this lifelong disability.  This student graduated from high school at age 20 with a Special Education High School Diploma.  This student did not drop out of school.  That stands on his/her record to this day.  This student is married with 2 (or more) children and was working in a hospital, the last I had heard.


What was important to diagnose, or to assess, with this student was the particular brain function going on in this student's brain which interfered with being able to read which was severe visual memory impairment with words.  The term "dyslexia" would have been too vague to have addressed this visual memory impairment with compensatory instructional strategies effectively.

pepesme
pepesme

@MaryElizabethSings @pepesme Mary, I don't need a "true example" of what a child with dyslexia goes through because I live it with my son EVERY day.  Your words are nice, but they helped my son not at all in Gwinnett County.  Whatever the "cause" of a child's dyslexia, if it is never diagnosed and no interventions are given, they WILL FAIL to reach their true potential.  If children receive no screening, no intervention, no accommodations, they cannot succeed.  And if teachers don't know what dyslexia symptoms look like, they will not notice it.  My son had ALL the non-reading warning signs of dyslexia, but is highly intelligent (98th percentile on his CogAT).  This allowed him to read up to a point.  In second grade, he was reading two grade levels above his grade.  In third grade, he read one grade level ahead.  In fourth grade, he was reading at grade level.  In other words, he hit a brick wall by third grade and made no progress in reading skills.  His teachers recognized all his "non-reading" dyslexia symptoms as problems - dysgraphia (although we weren't allowed to call it that since labels are 'bad'), inability to memorize math facts, inability to memorize spelling words, typos SO bad that even spell check doesn't pull up the correct words most times, dropping small words like "the, to, it, for, etc" when reading and writing, difficulty memorizing dates for history, forgetting left and right, difficulty tying shoes even in fourth grade, struggling to read aloud which showed in non automatic reading with unknown words randomly guessed at - but never recognized that they were all caused by his dyslexia.  He was given accomodations to help with his issues, but NO intervention because dyslexia wasn't even on their radar.  He wasn't diagnosed until we left Gwinnett public schools and enrolled my son in a state funded charter school.  His teacher in fifth grade recognized the warning signs the first week of school.  He is now getting tutoring with an orton-gillingham modeled reading program and his reading has improved dramatically since then.  When I went back to our local public school to see what kind of interventions would be provided for his dyslexia, I was informed NONE.  See, they aren't required to provide intervention, only accommodation.  


This is my son't story, but he is not alone.  Since he was diagnosed, I have talked to so many parents whose story is just like mine.  This MUST change.  Children need to be screened and intervention given while they are still learning to read and before they are "reading to learn".  My son has improved by leaps and bounds, but is having to unlearn all the bad habits he taught himself to cope.  If his dyslexia had been caught in his early years of learning, he would not have struggled without the proper support.  And he would not have convinced himself he was stupid.  See, that is what happens when a child it told over and over they need to "try harder" or "your test scores show you are smart, so I know you can manage this work".  As a parent, I should not have to battle to get my child what he needs.  Parent and school should be working together.  I should not have to prove my child is "squeaky" enough to get the grease he needs to succeed.  The current system fails children with dyslexia.  Period.  It needs to change.  And I will do everything in my power to make sure that no other children have to suffer like my son did in a school model that is designed to let them fall through the cracks.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@pepesme 

I agree with your post.  What you have given are concrete specifics regarding your son's developmental history and you should continue to share it for it needs all of the publicity that his story can engender.  The point of my post was to look at specific - not vague - generalities such as "can't read," and you have tackled that.  I am on your side.


May I suggest that you provide a link or two for this reading audience regarding the "orton-gillingham method," which you have found to be successful with your son's difficulty?


I spent my entire 35 years in public education (through 2006) doing "everything in my power to make sure that no . . .children have to suffer. . . in a school model that is designed to let them fall through the cracks."  We are on the same side.


Keep your hope and courage high.  Have you consulted medical brain specialists, such as neurologists and neurosurgeons, also?




hssped
hssped

@pepesme @MaryElizabethSings

As a parent you should have given your child what he needed and not waited for someone else to intervene.  If you saw that something was wrong early on then YOU should have done something about it.  Don't rely on others.  If the school said they'd give you accommodations and not interventions then you step-up to the plate and give said interventions.  If you don't know how to administer interventions then you google it. Anything is better than nothing.  This is YOUR child.  I would not have waited around for the school to do something.  In fact, I didn't.  When I found out my child was LD I got both a Master's degree and Specialist's degree in spec ed so that I could supply interventions to my child.  I wanted to learn everything I could about it.  I didn't wait.  My child was worth it.  I went to extremes, but you get my drift......


If you are late for the bus do you continue to stroll to the bus stop while praying to God to make the bus late? No, you run to the bus stop while praying.  

popcornular
popcornular

@MaryElizabethSings

Have YOU consulted with 'medical brain specialists'? Some interesting, though controversial, procedures I might recommend for you. I'll pay!

ScienceTeacher671
ScienceTeacher671

@pepesme


What you are advocating for is exactly what RTI is SUPPOSED to be!  Early diagnosis and intervention, before a child is trapped in failure and feeling stupid.  

Ifollowtherulessoshldyou
Ifollowtherulessoshldyou

ADHD is a medical condition and MUST BE DIAGNOSED by a medicla doctor.  Schools do not test for ADHD. A DOCTOR MUST TEST FOR IT - which consists of questionnaires,information provided from the school (on the questionnaires that the doctor provides to the parent and then the parent provides to the school for completion and return to the parent who then returns it to the doctor).  Dyslexia is not on the Georgia list of eligibility categories either.  Instead, here is the list that special educators work within:

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Ifollowtherulessoshldyou 

Thank you for sharing this information with readers, which is consistent with the eligible categories for special education work when I functioned as a high school SST Chair in Georgia through the late 1990s.

In order to better inform the public, I have copied the category into which dyslexia falls, from your link provided, with the specific information given below:

"Specific learning disability is defined as a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell or do mathematical calculations. The term includes such conditions as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia and developmental aphasia. The term does not apply to students who have learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing or motor disabilities, intellectual disabilities, emotional or behavioral disorders or environmental, cultural or economic disadvantage."

bu2
bu2

@MaryElizabethSings @Ifollowtherulessoshldyou 


ADHD and Dyslexia ARE COVERED and districts are required to provide special education services.

If you just read that link you may not understand that.  I had to ask an expert to interpret it for me when I first looked at it in regard to IEPs and 504s.


Without referencing my notes, I think ADHD falls into the same broad category as dyslexia, but it does clearly fall into one of the categories.

class80olddog
class80olddog

Another aspect of this problem involves newer educational policies. In The ADHD Explosion, Stephen Hinshaw, PhD, demonstrated that educational accountability policies in schools have had a significant influence on ADHD rates.9 In the 1990s, policies such as “No Child Left Behind” (signed into law in 2001) began to incentivize schools to boost test scores.

Those states in which this occurred saw the largest increases in the diagnosis of ADHD. After all, with limited educational resources, what better way to quickly increase results than to simply give more children psychostimulants?

Finally, I believe the ever-increasing stress on the average American family is contributing significantly to this problem. Imagine the single-parent or two-working-parent family taking their sons and daughters to school or sometimes early school, working all day as the children go to after-care, and then rushing home to pick them up. They then try to get a decent dinner on the table before homework and bedtime.

The stress on both parents and children is very high. This stress can result in children who may have been able to cope under different circumstances, but who appear to have ADHD in this context (and that also doesn't consider the influence of poor nutrition on these children, which is a subject for another day and another column).

class80olddog
class80olddog

Overdiagnosis or a True Rising Trend?

A school nurse from Ohio took a strong stand that ADHD is being overdiagnosed and that many children simply suffer from "brat syndrome." They have "parents who are ineffective in their jobs and have been for years [and who] wait until the behavior becomes annoying or the physical assaults begin to hurt before trying to stop it."

Another nurse agreed and added, "Instead of medicating alone, perhaps evaluation of the entire family structure needs to occur to include educating parents on how to handle their children."

Another pediatrician saw parenting as the primary engine of the prevalence of ADHD and even broke it down along cultural lines:

I have yet to diagnose ADHD in a Japanese or Indian child. They sit still in my office on the chair they are placed in and do not speak before they are asked to, whereas American kids dismantle my office and act like maniacs on drugs... I can walk into a classroom in Europe and see order compared with the complete chaos in my kids' school here... What is needed is discipline from birth and not medications.

April 2014

class80olddog
class80olddog

"But Dr. Allen Frances, former chairman of the psychiatry department at Duke University, is wary.

"The numbers shouldn't be taken at face value. The history of psychiatry is a history of fads, and we are now suffering from a fad of ADHD," Frances said. He says the rates have tripled over the past 15 years because of sales pressure from pharmaceutical companies selling stimulants to treat ADHD.

"We are medicalizing immaturity and turning childhood into a disease," Frances said.

Susanna Visser, lead author of the study, says she understands Frances' concern. She pointed out that according to the survey, more than half of ADHD diagnosis were done by age 6.

"A lot of symptoms of ADHD, like hyperactivity, can also be appropriate developmental markers of age," she said. "You have to see a more 'wait and see' approach. Can they better be attributed to other things: sleep, divorce, trauma? A lot of things can look like ADHD, and once those symptoms aren't appropriate for a child's age, then we need to get treatment."

bu2
bu2

@class80olddog @OriginalProf 


Little doubt that it is over-diagnosed.  But it is real.  Sounds kind of like those school nurses have "Brat" syndrome and could use some training on how to handle children.


If it was a fiction, stimulants wouldn't lower their hyperactivity and help their concentration.  It would have the opposite effect and make them more hyper.  But for those who truly have it, the stimulants calm them.

popcornular
popcornular

Simply hire a 'Nurse Ratched' for every elementary school. Before the bell, all boys will line up at her office window and receive their daily medication in a little paper cup. 

'Everyone will feel better, now', says the nurse with a sweet smile.  

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@popcornular 

I'm wondering, not for the first time, what your own elementary school experience was like. I suppose you were one of those "rambunctious boys" who was tamped down and expected to be quiet, and punished if you weren't. And rarely called on in class although you had questions to ask. A lot of old bitterness seeps out in your "amusing" quips. 


I've posted this before: why don't you write an essay for Maureen about this? Never mind attacking anyone, just express the boy's point of view and what you think should be done. You might help other "lil fellas," as you have called them.

cinthea
cinthea

I think this thread is a testament to how we treat individuals with learning "disabilities". 


I encourage people to watch "the big picture - rethinking dyslexia" - it is a testament to how individuals were treated. some were lucky to overcome their hardships in a traditional learning setting to become amazing individuals. it speaks to 35% of entrepreneurs being dyslexic and they detail how their "different" way of thinking and being had such an impact on their creativity, etc. 


To me, her letter is not telling people how to be and how to diagnose kids - it is about recognizing that individuals all learn differently and that should be recognized and encouraged. 

cinthea
cinthea

@MaryElizabethSings @cinthea I guess some people have the mentality,"if you're not like me, if you dont learn, read, and think like I do -  you're wrong (oh, and lazy/dumb)" - and the sad thing is, they couldn't be further from the truth. 

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@cinthea 

Somehow, it seems, at least to me, some fear that the concept "all men are created equal" might actually be a spiritual truth within our universe, and that we can all learn from one another, from the most damaged to the most whole.

From Rudyard Kipling's "L'Envoi": (Last Stanza)


"And only the Master shall praise us, and only the Master shall blame;

And no one shall work for money, and no one shall work for fame;

But each for the joy of the working, and each, in his separate star,

Shall draw the Thing as he sees It for the God of Things as They Are!"
 

bu2
bu2

@cinthea 


Studies show that ADHD kids are far more likely to end up in jail.


However, if you looked at executive suites, you would probably find that they are over-represented there as well.


Executives and entrepeneurs tend to be hyperactive and all over the place.  It can be a benefit to be constantly mentally multi-tasking.

class80olddog
class80olddog

Of course, in today's world, NOTHING is ever just the responsibility of the student.  He can't be lazy, or defiant, or just slow - his behavior MUST be because of some disease over which he has absolutely no control.  It is like when criminals are brought up on trial and they describe his childhood and all the things he went through - no thought to "he is just downright mean and evil" (like a 20/20 episode where the perp killed a girl "just to see what it felt like").  This way we can all excuse ourselves and we are never responsible for our actions.  Plus add in the teachers' benefit of drugging all those rambunctious boys - less "classroom management" to do with your 35-student classrooms. (you do realize that if fewer students were diagnosed a LD, you would have more money to lower classroom sizes, don't you?)

And NO ONE has explained to me how a superteacher can handle 35 kids in a classroom and know the details of every 504 plan and IEP for each student in each class.  It is INSANE!

MiltonMan
MiltonMan

So it is up to the schools/teachers to diagnose something that the parents should have done earlier in the life of THEIR child?????  God this country is slowly slipping away.

PITTFAN
PITTFAN

@MiltonMan 

Amen!  That was my first thought too.  Even the Montessori school should have picked up on that.

gapeach101
gapeach101

@MiltonMan

I had my child tested six years ago.  It cost $3.600.  Not everyone can come up with those $$$$

taylor48
taylor48

ADHD is a medical diagnosis. I'm not even allowed to tell a parent I suspect their child has ADHD because then the school could be held responsible for paying for medication. If I have a parent who asks if I think their child has ADHD, I tell them to head to their doctor with their concerns.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@PITTFAN @taylor48 Yes--for real!  If you want to see someone become apoplectic, have an administrator sit in a conference where a teacher suggests to a parent that they might need their child evaluated for ADD.

popcornular
popcornular

Will some educator explain to me why the overwhelming numbers of schoolkids on 'medicine' are boys? Coincidentally, taught by minimally educated female teachers? Could the environment created by these uncreative people be inducing ADHD in our boys? Maybe cuteness has dangerous side effects.  

TheCentrist
TheCentrist

@popcornular 1. Doctors, not teachers, must explain why more boys are on medicine. 2. We have mininally educated female teachers because it is now a degraded, under credentialled, low pay,profession. 3. The environment is created by uncreative people and parents who have a not-my-type-of-child mentality.  This is the dagerous side effects of those who feel that access to mental health resources is a priveledge, not a right. 

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@Quidocetdiscit

Imo, his purpose is to degrade teachers, especially female teachers, and his tactic is to perpetuate a negative caricature of teachers (which bears no truth) and then react to the caricature he had created.

Comments such as yours expose to the public his toxic intent. 

popcornular
popcornular

@MaryElizabethSings

I wonder how many boys staggered out of your class, brain bent like a pretzel, after a year of your toxic head games. I hope they recover. 

popcornular
popcornular

@TheCentrist

Boys are on medicine for one reason. They can't focus/get along in the classroom without it, Bottom line, it is in a female taught classroom with the least academically qualified people that are accepted to/graduate from college. What could possibly go wrong, if one is a boy? They wouldn't even go to a doctor unless there were problems in this environment. 

Maybe the problem is with the environment. 

MiltonMan
MiltonMan

@MaryElizabethSings


...says the hypocrite who blasts everyone who does not agree with her.  Crawl back into your hole grub worm

newsphile
newsphile

I believe some kids slip through the cracks and don't have access to the extra support they need.  I also have seen kids labeled as leaning disabled when all they needed was structure, routine, and a little discipline. 

OldPhysicsTeacher
OldPhysicsTeacher

I sympathize with the parents and kids.  On the other hand, how is the student going to survive without this help out in "the real world?"  Yes, I'm all for helping the kids TO LEARN TO COPE with their disabilities.  In fact, it should be a DEMAND.  Physical and mental disabilities need to be "handled" in a learning atmosphere.  But if all you do is give the student more time, is "the real world" going to allow that to continue?  If you read the questions to him/her, all you're doing is forcing the child to get a job where reading isn't important and verbal instructions are all that can be given.  At some point the student will need to learn to PERSONALLY cope with their problem.  This is not unnecessarily cruel; it is necessarily cruel.  If there's a better way, I'm all for it.

I remember, a long time ago, I saw, for the first time, two sightless individuals in college.  One had to be guided by the arm everywhere he went.  The other had to be shown ONCE where all the locations he needed to go.  After that, he went all by himself - and carry on a conversation while walking.  Only one of them had a true "disability," and he had trouble gaining employment after college.

bu2
bu2

@OldPhysicsTeacher 


Would you have them fail because they couldn't focus when they actually knew the material?

Would you have them fail everything while they are learning to read?  How would you even know what they know on any subject other than reading?


There's plenty of time for life in the real world and there aren't a lot of one hour tests. 

There's only one chance to get an education.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@bu2 @OldPhysicsTeacher 

Many people who haven't experienced a disability themselves simply cannot imagine what it is like.  "Everyone else can do it, so there's no reason why you can't," seems to be their thinking.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@OldPhysicsTeacher 

I agree to an extent. But some learning disabilities are simply going to require continued medication into adulthood to cope, such as ADHD.

OldPhysicsTeacher
OldPhysicsTeacher

@bu2 @OldPhysicsTeacher No I wouldn't!  I have no problem with HELPING them to learn,and TEACHING them to adapt to their disability, but holding their hands and making adjustments to the world so they have to have them forever is not helping them.  As for "one-hour tests," I am in complete agreement.  They need a hand up - not a hand out.

OldPhysicsTeacher
OldPhysicsTeacher

@OriginalProf @bu2 @OldPhysicsTeacher 

Maybe you need to re-read my comments.  Nowhere did I say we needed to ignore the problem.  Adapting the world to their disability is not a long-term solution.  HELPING them to learn to adapt, IS!  Are there going to be exceptions, Yes!  Are people going to set up straw-man arguments and use that to achieve 100% of their demands, also yes.  BUT that does a disservice to the individual. 

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@OldPhysicsTeacher 

That we live in a world in which we each have a pull within our own souls for self-survival and compassion to help others also to survive.  We must never simply see humanity and life in terms of survive on your own or die, as was implied in your story of the two different blind men.  That way of seeing is too hard and too cruel a world to envision.  Each person has to make choices in that on-going internal conflict with how much can I give to others and how much must I keep to help myself survive.

I believe our world is evolving toward seeing how interconnected we all are on Earth, including with plants and animals.  That is why some corporations, like Tyson Chicken, are cutting their connection with chicken farms which have practiced animal abuse.  We are growing in compassion so the balance is shifting toward survival of all, not simply survival of self.  We are growing toward the Godhead, ever so slowly but surely, imho.

OldPhysicsTeacher
OldPhysicsTeacher

@MaryElizabethSings @OldPhysicsTeacher 

Maybe you read a different post and attributed it to me.  I have no problem helping kids.  I have a problem with trying to alter reality, rather than helping them to learn to adapt to the world.  Like the blind guy that took control of his life rather than letting people DO for him.  He learned to DO for himself. Now can everyone do that, no!  But that's no reason to treat them like they're less of a person and the world must be altered to them.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@OldPhysicsTeacher 

I sense judgment more than compassion in your words. We are not that far apart in our thoughts of helping others, but in terms of compassion, I believe we are.  Here is what I just wrote another poster on Bookman's blog, if it helps to clarify what I see in your words:

We all must assess (for we all have minds with which to reason) but the act of "assessing" carries a more compassionate connotation than "judging."  Read what the Dalai Lama wrote on "Compassion," below.  That part about thinking of ourselves as "above" others is what happens when we judge rather than simply "see" or assess.  We all kill people daily (maybe not their bodies but their spirits, which later can take its toll on their bodies) in ways we do not even understand in the mystery of life.  Only God knows the reason for and the extent of our various sins.  Only God can truly judge.  That is why in the Bible is written, "Vengeance is mine (not yours)," said the Lord (although vengeance is not the same as judgment and is more intense than judgment, there, nevertheless, is a connection between judgment and vengeance).We must be wary of judgment for we can never know what another is going through, only God knows that.  With your two blind men, one may have had much higher intellect than the other, but he is not more human than the other.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@OldPhysicsTeacher @bu2 

Reading over this entire conversation, I think that you are talking in a general way about helping those with disabilities to cope on their own, and bu2 and I are both thinking of the specific disability that had been under discussion--ADHD. Those with this problem need some sort of medication, and it's not "holding their hands" to see that they get the medication.


Always, such help depends upon the specific disability. Students can be taught to compensate for having dyslexia. But they can't with ADHD.


I must leave...have a good evening, all.

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

@OldPhysicsTeacher 

I am reminded, upon reading your post, of the story of Helen Keller's life, who was both blind and who could not hear.  Yet, she was able to make tremendous contributions to our world. She, however, did need someone to give her support all of her life.  Early in her life, her nearly blind teacher, Anne Sullivan, helped the child Helen Keller to make the connection between letters drawn on her hand and word meanings.  That small step opened the door of learning and then enlightenment for Helen Keller.  The moral of that true story is that we are all our brothers' keepers, and he is ours, too.  In her old age, Helen Keller looked out on the world with blind eyes, but there was illumination written all over her face as she waved to crowds.  (See the 1960's film, "The Miracle Worker," for the story of how Sullivan helped Keller move from a world of isolated darkness to one of communion with the people of this world and to the light of higher consciousness.)

popcornular
popcornular

@class80olddog

When in doubt, diagnose. How would you like both big Pharma and big Education united against you as a young boy? It would be so much easier and cheaper to just drug the teachers. 

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

@class80olddog @OriginalProf @OldPhysicsTeacher @bu2 

Well, bingo. That is up to the medical doctor who diagnosed them. Seriously, since you had this doubt with your own son, I would have gotten a second medical opinion. 


The usual test is to see how the person reacts to the medication. If there are still the symptoms, something else is the problem.