Everyone learns differently. We can fill a room with people and divide it into all types of learners. Learning is not black and white.
If we’re going to do this scientifically, not only will there be all kinds of learners, but in each category there would be subcategories for people to learn.
There are those that are hands-on, versus those that are visual learners, audible learners, and literary learners. You’ll even have out of the box thinkers, and those that can’t even comprehend past what’s in front of them.
Some will grasp the concepts on the first go around, and others will need it repeated over and over again in many different ways.
Within each of these learning groups there could be other challenges (for example ADD, ADHD, Dyslexia, LD, etc.), and each group will need to be taught differently to all reach the same goal.
However, since we all learn differently, we all need to be taught differently, and that right there is the problem in today’s school system.
Not only are our teachers frustrated with the fact that they mostly have to teach for the tests that grade them and the school system, but they are not catering to those that are different learners and maybe even much smarter than some of the “normal” learners; let me explain.
Once a task is taught and it’s time to implement it, that is when you’ll find the separation between what is labeled “normal” & those labeled “disabled”.
This is when the “disabilities” will stand uneven against the “normal” people.
Why? You may ask. Because the “normal” person gets it on the first go around. They learn pretty black and white.
However, the disabled may have obstacles to overcome and in doing so become the hard workers, the organized, out of the box thinkers, gaining more skills than the “normal” person on their journey and preparing them for the real world.
Some of the “disabled” are the most successful because they laugh at the defeat and the adversity that they meet and they learn to never give up on their goals. It may take them longer to achieve, but they do that because they believe they can. They chose to not let the labels define them!
So my question is, in a room filled with such diversity why is “normal” labeled normal and all others who have disabilities (like ADD, ADHD, Dyslexia, LD, etc.) labeled with such negative connotation? Why do we study the brains of the “disabled” as if we can’t comprehend how they were so brilliant and successful, but labeled dumb and stupid and treated as such. Why not study the normal brain to discover why they struggle more to succeed in the real world?
I have Dyslexia; I think, I learn, I teach, I mentor, I coach, I work. I may learn slower than some, but in no way does it mean I am not capable. Although, if I listened to my grade school teachers, by all accounts I should be a bum who couldn’t even finger paint, had no future, and that would amount to nothing, rather than a successful business woman who graduated valedictorian of my High School and won awards for my art as well.
So why am I meant to feel inferior, incapable, or not “normal” by society’s standards?
Who is determining what is “normal” in such a world filled with diversity?
Well, whoever “they” are, I’d like to challenge them. I am “normal” for me and “you” for you. Maybe having a disability of any kind is normal and being “normal” is a disability.
Every day we meet challenges and we all have our own struggles, but why is it not “normal” to struggle.
Struggles bring learned knowledge. How we all handle our struggles will define us as an individual. We are not all wrapped up in either a “normal” package or in a “disabled” package. Life is not that black and white.
I have seen “normal” people fail and succeed as I have seen those with disabilities do exactly the same.
It’s a mindset and how the brain is fed information. So the brilliant person being told he can’t succeed from family, friends, teachers, etc. will never succeed unless he or she chooses to turn a deaf ear on the negativity. The mind is so powerful; what you feed it, it will believe.
What should define us as people are our abilities as a person to handle adversity, compassion, integrity and the skill set we all seek to function in society, the work place and our daily lives; no matter what label you have been given to achieve and attain the goals needed for survival.
No matter the roads we take, the hurdles we jump, we will all end up in the same place in the end. And we are defined by what we do and how we overcome those struggles and obstacles.
I believe some of us are born with the tools to start to succeed, to comprehend, and easily navigate the rough terrains in life; and others need to be taught these tools first to get to the same goals. However, that does not make us “dumb,” “stupid,” or “incapable” of succeeding.
So next time you go to classify someone as “normal” or “disabled,” think twice because in my world normal is dyslexia, LD, & ADD.
Disabilities are far more normal than one might think, and many top successful people have made it to the top by learning to use the tools to think outside the box and to just plain old persevere; and that is “normal” to me.
My name is Sherri, I am Allen Weinstein’s daughter and through him I was given the tools needed to succeed and was never allowed to be defined by my disabilities. Instead I was encouraged to believe in myself which gave me the tools to succeed in all aspects of my life, including raising four children, all with different disabilities.
For the record, may father and I do not like to use the word “disabilities” (we prefer differences), but for the purpose of this article I wanted to emphasize the unfortunate reality of how our education system still uses the word “disabilities” to classify us with learning differences.