Learning Disabilities: “John”

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Our three children were classified by the school system as learning disabled. One as neurologically impaired and two as perceptually impaired. As a young mother I believed the school system wanted to help our children succeed and agreed to self contained classrooms for two of the three and supplemental for the third child.

This began a learning process, not for the children but for us as parents. Some of the things we learned were that as well meaning as the school system and most of it’s teachers are, they can only remediate a childs’ education if they are not working up to their capabilities. They can not fix the developmental steps a child may have missed. They don’t have the knowledge to help move a child along the developmental path that would lead to more organized learning patterns and more success. We learned they can’t even point us in the right direction for help because of financial liability.

We learned what prejudice is! We learned that the world would give up on our kids and pigeon hole them into vocational careers at the age of 7, 8 or 9. We learned that the label caused more problems that it solved; social problems, self image problems. We learned sadly that the first priority of the school was not our children’s best interest but the interest of bureaucracy, money, numbers and standardized tests. We were very fortunate to find NACD. Instead of remediating the education, Bob challenged the children, while bridging those developmental gaps they seemed to have missed. We crept and crawled and patched and plugged and sometimes wondered if this all was going to make a difference. It did! It built their self esteem and their confidence as well as their developmental stages and in time they began to succeed. Success builds success and today they are all pursuing careers in fields they are interested in. John works for Bob Doman evaluating children like himself and has gotten his Masters Degree in Special Education from Lehigh University. Jenny is a counselor in a home for boys that have substance abuse problems and is working on her Masters degree in social work at NYU (as well as our first grandchild) and Julie is getting her Bachelors degree this spring and will become an Occupational Therapist.

I thank God every day that we had the help of NACD.

Reprinted by permission of The NACD Foundation, Volume 10 No. 16, 1996 ©NACD