NLA Discussion: LD -Reply
agorman at ala.org
Tue Nov 25 13:03:07 EST 1997
George -- and everyone else!
As you'll see from a posting of mine that must have crossed George's in
the ether, I don't disagree with a "total picture/wholistic" approach that
considers adult learners as a group and each individual as a total
I wanted to respond to two of your points:
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, differences, and "intelligences."
No responsible person that I know of in the LD community is saying that
phonemic awareness is "the" key difficulty, just the most robust one
that's been identified to date, and the one that's been followed through
some rigorous research to test what kinds of approaches (note: not
methods or philosophies) work. Researchers are working to find other
pieces to the puzzle of what make learning drastically different, and
painfully difficult in many typical learning contexts, for some people, the
people that we say have "specific learning disabilities" under the law.
I started to respond to your comment under "d" about "sharply
distinctive," then decided I needed to ask what you mean. I know that
the idea isn't to isolate and label, but rather to identify individual needs
and use whatever works to meet them. The hope is that, with
appropriate phonemic and other interventions, people can go on to learn
how to comprehend fluently, read with enjoyment (where possible), and
write and speak fluently so that they can fulfill their individual potential.
We do know that some people with learning disabilities frequently need
very specific help in learning to apply knowledge and strategies
acquired at one step or level to the next step in their development. I'll
look forward to your clarification. If it takes us away from policy issues,
I'll respond personally.
By the way, by definition, people with learning disabilities are of
average or above average intelligence. They experience the disconnect
between performance and ability very painfully indeed. Imagine what
it's like to be a little first grader expecting to learn to read and then
failing. Or the disappointment of an adult coming to a literacy program
that does the same thing to him all over again.
After today (Tuesday) I'll be e-mail-less til next Tuesday, so you may not
hear from me til then.
And a bountiful, peaceful and warm Thanksgiving to you and to all!
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