DSM: Learning disabilities at SVS

bud & barb brooks (barbb100@sunet.net)
Sun, 24 May 1998 17:07:42 -0400

Hi Kathy and List,

I am a former public/private school teacher who latched onto the SVS school
in such a big way that I tried to start one here in Florida. Beforehand, I
went to Boston to visit the school and talk to the staff.. I read all
their literature and if I had little children today, I would want them in
this kind of environment. This is what I'd want for myself if I were a kid
again too.

Our school never really got off the ground. It's a very hard philosophy
for parents to embrace fully and in actuality it's hard to look at lounging
teenagers everyday who look like they're doing nothing. They're not doing
nothing but it looks that way.

Meeting government regulations burned me out more than the lounging teens.
I also found it extremely difficult to hold a clear vision while a group of
us tried to figure out how to get the thing going. Naturally everyone had a
different idea on how to do it and we didn't have a strong leader like
Daniel Greenberg. I eventually dropped out. One man continued this year
but he did it as a "homeschooling resource center,' whatever that is. It's
limped along and now a very liberal Science of Mind minister wants to have
it at her pioneering church under the church umbrella but as a SVS school.
We are all going to see if we can get that to work. Money is a big problem
and meeting the building code regulations will be a challenge.

> How are students that have learning diablities handled in the school?

In the SVS literature they claim in all the years they have been in
operation (almost 30 years), they have NEVER had a case of dyslexia. If
kids can learn whatever they want, when they want to and they do it because
of their own inner curiosity and drive, it makes sense to me that the whole
concept of a "learning disability" would fly out the window. It seems to
me all the testing is what identifies "disabilities". If you're not
testing, how would you know who has a "disability." As far as ADD etc, if
a child is free to come and go wherever, whenever and doesn't have to pay
attention to stuff he's not interested in, how could anyone say he has an
attention problem. The school environment creates these "disabilities."
I'm totally convinced of this. It's very sick and sad. We are killing
generations of creativity and curiosity.

> If the student learn when and what they want to learn do all of them
> learn how to read and write, just at different ages?

Yes, that's the idea. When I asked the founders of SVS, did you ever have
a student who didn't learn to read? They said no, so far they all had
learned to read but some of them not until age 13. I found it fascinating.
But as a parent you would have to be very strong when everyone around you
is telling you you're nuts to trust your child that much.

Barbara Brooks