In a couple of hours, my brother-in-law, who was born with Down Syndrome, will fly home from Los Angeles to New York on his own. This is quite an accomplishment for a guy whose parents were told when he was born, not to even bring him home from the hospital.
Rob has been all over the world. He knows how to be a part of a family. He is funny and well-behaved. He attends concerts and church. He conducts Sousa music like a champ. And he can fly around the country to visit his siblings without mishap. All because his parents never gave up.
My mother-in-law expected Rob to take responsibility for the things he was capable of doing. He was expected to speak nicely, wait his turn, and help around the house. And his parents were extremely persistent about getting him the services he needed to be the best that he could be. In fact, they were so persistent that thousands of children and adults have been better served over the last 50 years because of their work with the New York State ARC (Association for Retarded Citizens).
Rob is not representative of the students that we serve at Stowell Learning Center, but I certainly run into parents who are relentless in trying to find solutions to their child’s learning challenges. They sometimes feel bad about how “pushy” they have to be. But who else will advocate for your child like you? Good for you, for never giving up!
Children and adults with learning and attention challenges can and should become comfortable, independent readers and learners. These individuals have at least average to above average intelligence and absolutely have the ability to learn more easily and confidently in school.
The key is to quit trying to find ways to cope with the learning problem and identify and correct the underlying learning/processing skills that are causing the problem. Once the brain is efficiently getting the information it needs to think with, reading, spelling, math, and writing can be remediated so that the learner can go on to thrive in school and pursue the dreams they have for their future.
So I say, “Hooray for persistent parents who refuse to settle for compensations and accommodations when they know their child is capable of more!”
Enjoy the last few days/weeks of summer vacation,
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