Saturday, August 25, 2012


Don't Get Pushed Aside

When I went to school I did not have the legal safeguards which students have today. The option for my parents were to send me to the residential school for the blind in Pueblo Colorado or place me in public school with no accommodations. My parents decided not to send me 110 miles away. At the school for the blind I would have spent nine months out of the year away from home. Instead my parents placed me in our local public school. Any accommodations I received depended upon the creativity of my teachers.

Like most young students in first and second grade, I was oblivious to the differences between my fellow students and myself. I remember three things from the third grade. First, every day the teacher would have reading time where she would read to the class. During this time there was always a knock on the door. I would be asked to leave with a specialist to work on my reading. So I missed all the great stories and instead spent an hour of agony working on reading.

Second, I remember the teacher placing me in the back row in the furthest desk away from where she sat. In that back seat I couldn't see the blackboard nor could I read much of what was in my books. I spent most of the year lost in childhood fantasies not paying much attention to what happened in the classroom. At the end of the year I had made no progress This teacher told my parents that I was retarded and that I could not be educated. Fortunately, for me not until years later, after I graduated from college did my parents shared the reason for this teacher placing me at the back of the class.

Unfortunately students with hidden disabilities, like dyslexia, are often perceived as being unresponsive learners. Even with legal safeguards. these students are often pushed to one side. If not literally then figuratively, these students are placed at the back of the class. If you are the parents of such a child, you will have to work hard to make sure that this does not happen to your child. One of the best things to do this to talk with your child about what is happening in school every day.

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