Re: DSM: Learning disabilities at SVS

bud & barb brooks (
Mon, 25 May 1998 15:39:08 -0400

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

I felt they did but then I feel we are ALWAYS learning no matter what we
are doing. The challenge in our society is the old puritan work ethic and
the idea of production. It did not "appear" that these kids were doing
anything productive but of course getting in tune with yourself, observing
the world around you, relating to others, gathering steam for a project,
whatever one is doing is very productive, it just doesn't look that way.
What most people want to see is something concrete like interesting
activities going on, books, paperwork and test scores. We had interesting
activities from time to time but no test scores.

The whole philosophy is to allow the kids to initiate but it was very
difficult to allow that. As a staff member it is so tempting to say,
"Would you like to do this, or would you like to do that or what about
this?" etc. This is NOT in harmony with the philosophy.

When visitors came, there was an inward urge for the adults to try and
"look busy" and get the kids to look busy. We knew we were being
ridiculous because we did understand the philosophy but you don't
understand the pressure until you're in it. Kids just messing around "doing
nothing" can be VERY disturbing to the average adult.

Reminds me of a tee shirt one kid had that said, "Jesus is coming, look