NLA Discussion: LD
GEORGE E. DEMETRION
gdemetrion at juno.com
Tue Nov 25 10:43:01 EST 1997
Thanks to Glenn, Audrey, Aliza and others for a stimulating discussion on
I liked Audrey's call to compare research [and,. I would add, conceptual
paradigms] from different sources and camps. I don't dismiss that
neurobiological factors influence how we learn to read, nor that phonemic
awareness is not an important component of reading mastery. What has
concerned me all along is a reductionism that might go something like
a) 40-80% of participants in adult literacy and ABE programs have
b) learning disabilities are neurologically based
c) the key deficit is phonemic awareness which can be "remediated"
through a highly structured format
d) learning disabilities and supportive pedagogies are sharply
distinctive from other difficulties, differerences, and "intelligences."
I advocate for more developmental, wholistic, and contextual approaches
to adult literacy learning, including support for those with learning
disabilities. I also maintain a certain skepticism of master or
foundational causes of illiteracy among the adult population. However,
I agree wholeheartedly with Glenn on the need:
"to incorporate persons with disabilities as full memebers of the
community and as persons fully involved in the development of service models."
And the following:
"So - perhaps that is a major thing we need to do - develop an overall
adult literacy paradigm that is built with disability included not
excluded - then we can see what types of overall models can be developed."
Certainly, continued research by scholars and practitioners on how adults
do and do not learn to read and the various difficulties they face along
the continuum from disabilities to alternative intelligences and
divergent socio-cultural practices, is a worthy endeavor for the
community of citizens invested in improving adult literacy education.
GDemetrion at juno.com
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