Re: DSM: Learning disabilities at SVS

Elizabeth Barr (
Mon, 25 May 1998 21:30:58 -0500

I am enjoying this discussion, and would like to jump in in the hopes of
hearing peoples thoughts on some questions I have.

>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.

It seems unnatural to me to stay totally hands off. Thinking of the
analogy, often used in alternative education: babies learn to walk and talk
without classes....why not continue to allow them to learn in their own way
once they are school age? That makes total sense to me, and I see that in
SVS. Yet, when babies are learning to walk and talk, we are not merely
observers.....most adults love to make goofy sounds to infants, and hold
their chubby little hands while they walk, and encourage them in all sorts
of ways. Fortunately we don't usually see the need to force them to do
things they don't want to do (well, I guess we do sometimes), and we usually
resist giving them grades on their efforts.

Why wouldn't subsequent learning be the same way? The adult might make
suggestions which the child would be free to take or let go. I do
understand that there could easily be a problem with the adult not being ok
with a suggestion being let go, but if one was careful not to let that
happen, why isn't that ok? Couldn't it be like recommending a book to a's up to her whether she reads it or not?

OK, enlighten me everyone. Thanks.