|Scooped by Mary Perfitt-Nelson|
What makes them tick: Supporting (and encouraging) student's strengths
In my recent scoop from the New York Times entitled "Defining Dislexia" (http://sco.lt/50a4g5) I read a particularly interesting piece:
"Traditionally, a diagnosis is something devised by distant experts and imposed on the patient. But I believe we must change our understanding of what role we should play in defining our own diagnoses."
It's a funny thing. The people doing the diagnosing are basing their decisions on scientifc "facts". Indeed, "facts" are more often proved wrong by science, for one reason or another, over time. Science is more art than the scientists want to believe. New information over time changes how we understand the world.
If you want to understand something like dyslexia (or ADHD, for example), you will need to live it; live "with" it or observe it with a keen eye, firsthand, and over time. Only then will you see the gifts that "come with". They are plenty.
I have questioned the deficit model with which we view these things for decades. This view is a straight jacket for the person being observed. It is a 'glass is half empty" approach to a situation in which the school environment is most often a poor match for those things that are the individual's livelihood. The high-stakes testing and increased requirements for core academic content compound the misery for certain populations of students.
If your training/experience and expectations from your employer cause you to grab a Wechsler to understand the student, please consider spending an equal amount of time learning who the student is; what makes them tick; what are they passionate about; how do they spend their free time. Recommendations should reflect a plan of support that celebrates, supports and encourages the strengths. After all, this is what will carry them long after they leave the halls of our schools.