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Learning Disability Identification

August 2, 2011 in Special Education Articles by Jess

What You Need to Know about the Discrepancy and Patterns of Strengths and Weaknesses ("Third Method") Models.

The special education process for identifying a student with specific learning disabilities is one of the greatest challenges the parent of a child with specific learning disabilities can face.  Not only do you need to understand how your district defines/identifies what a specific learning disability is, but you need to know how your child qualifies for special education services under their definition.  This challenge arises because we do not have a hard and fast definition of a specific learning disability.  You as a parent see that your child is not performing well in school.  It would seem to be cut and dried that your child has a specific learning disability of some sort or another.  However, there are many factors involved with identifying a learning disability, and not all academic problems are caused by a specific learning disability. Read the rest of this entry →

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Dear School Personnel, Community Members and Neighbors

July 16, 2011 in Special Education Articles by Jess

To Whom it May Concern,

I am the parent of a special needs child.  I was overwhelmed, confused, heart broken and struggling to unravel the complexities before me.

Please do not pass judgement of me without knowing why I did not attend the school PTA breakfasts or community picnics.  Please take a few minutes to understand why I did not take you up on your offer to have lunch or grab a cup of coffee.  Although we see each other in the supermarket or at school functions, I don’t think you really ever knew me, actually, I can guarantee that you did not know me because just as my child was different, so was I. Read the rest of this entry →

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Two worlds collide

May 25, 2011 in Special Education Articles by Jess

I am an organized planner. I need to plan things. I need to see where the trail is taking me before I begin the journey.

I thrive on familiarity. I am a hopeless creature of habit. I hate vacations. I am anxious going anywhere I've never been before, yet I love to explore new places and their possibilities.

I feel nauseous when I talk to someone new; especially if I feel somehow inferior to them. I don't know what to expect from a new person. I am anxious about the unknown.

I am uncomfortable with spontaneity even though I am in love with the idea of it. Read the rest of this entry →

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Getting organized when you are learning disabled

May 24, 2011 in Special Education Articles by Jess

An alternate title for this piece might be “Getting minimally organized to avoid total chaos”.

I am disorganized. I am disorganized in two ways: I am disorganized in space, and I am disorganized in time.

I am disorganized in space

Everything in its place? HAH. I’d never remember where everything goes! I’ve got thousands of items in my home. Heck, I’ve got thousands of BOOKS. Then there’s all that stuff in my kitchen! Plates! Pots! Pans! Knives! Oy vey!

That’s organizing in space. It’s hard.

My space is just not organized. I don’t remember where things are. I don’t remember how things look. I don’t remember where I put things. We had our apartment painted. After a week, I wondered: What color did the walls used to be? I don’t know. What color are they now? I’m not sure. When I was a teenager, living in a room I had lived in for 10 years or so, there was a blackout. My parents found me, 30 minutes later, crawling around on the floor, trying to find my way out.

The other day I came into the kitchen (where our washer-dryer is) to get pajamas for my son. I put them down to do something else. Then I forgot where they were and spent 5 minutes looking. Yesterday, my wife was out, and called me to ask if her glasses were on the bookcase. I went and looked and came back to tell her there was a pair of glasses there, but I didn’t know if they were hers or our son’s. “Well” she asked, “what color are they? I have a green pair and a purple pair”. “I don’t know, I’ll go look”….. “I can’t really tell”. “Well, are they half frames or full frames?” “Huh?” Half frames? Full frames? They’re glasses! She explained and I went back to look again.

I am disorganized in time

Then there is organizing in time. When to do what. How long do things take? When did things happen? During my adolescence, I got hit by a car and had surgery on my eyes. Which happened first? I have no idea. People ask me if my son was born before or after I got my PhD, and I have to think “Let’s see, he was born in 1996, I got my degree in 1999″.

Some solutions for getting organized in space
Every thing in its place” is a joke. But there are a certain few things that I have to know how to find. Each of those things has one of a few places to be. For example, my glasses are either a) On my face b) On my
nightstand or c) On the sink. NO WHERE ELSE. EVER. My keys are in my pants pocket or on my dresser. My PDA is either on my belt or on my nightstand. That’s about all. I don’t try to overload myself.

In the morning, when I do my morning routine, I work top down. Hair, face, underarms. So I can remember what I’ve done.

My books are organized by category. I’m never quite sure which category is where, but I can at least search for the right category, and then find the right book. And I’ve got them sorted by author within category. The reason that works is I only had to do it once.

Some solutions for getting organized in time

I always allow too long to do things. I’ve recognized now that that won’t change. So, I always carry a book (or two). And I resign myself to waiting.

I also try to calculate how long things will take – I’m not usually right, but at least it shrinks the error.

Peter Flom is a learning disabled adult.  In 1965, his mother started the Gateway School, and he was the first student.  He is very involved with learning disabilities, is working on a book on the subject, and has spoken about LD to several groups.  He also has a PhD in psychometrics, works as a statistician, and is a husband and a father.  His website is www.IAmLearningDisabled.com

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Language is not just about speech

May 12, 2011 in Special Education Articles by Jess

My friend Varda (SquashedMom) posted about language and speech and it got me thinking about language from the NLD (nonverbal learning disability) angle. Language has a lot more in it than speech – there’s a whole lot of nonverbal stuff that goes into it. And, since I have nonverbal LD, I am sensitive to that.

What else goes into language? Here’s a partial list: Read the rest of this entry →

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