Learning Obstacles

Taking Out the “Dis”

As I’m writing articles about disabilities for this “Learning Obstacles” section, I cannot stop thinking about the fact that most kids I tutor with disabilities have heightened abilities. I think that maybe my students feel a stigma attached to their learning challenges because the word disability starts with the negative – emphasizing what they are not – rather than what they are.
   
We all have learning strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes, people are given the label of a disability, which does not capture the whole person. When you see a student leaving the classroom to get extra help or when you notice how it takes longer for a classmate to read aloud or work through a math problem on the board, or if you see that a person cannot express on paper what is in his/her mind, I challenge you to look further than the “dis,” and you will see a person with an elevated ability that can be beyond exceptional.
   
Keep in mind that when I write the following articles about dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, etc … that I am talking about students I have worked with who are are some of my highest achieving students.  My mission is to take the “dis” out of disability to enable those with learning challenges to feel inspired to work hard on their weaknesses and to know that we all recognize their gifts.