Re: DSM: Learning disabilities at SVS

Jan Freed (
Mon, 25 May 1998 10:33:08 -0700

Dear Barbara.

As I understand it, a pillar of the SVS approach is that young people will
learn if given an "open field". What about your "lounging teenagers"?. Did
they ever learn anything, other than the pleasures of lounging?

bud & barb brooks wrote:

> 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