Re: DSM: students rights

Date: Wed Jan 23 2002 - 13:35:05 EST

In a message dated 1/23/2002 12:50:23 PM Eastern Standard Time, writes:

<< And even with the 12-year-old who CAN'T (or doesn't WANT to)
 read, one should also ask oneself: "What CAN they do?" and
 "What does he WANT to do?" -- rather than the opposite.
 Because suppose the young chap (or lassie) is great at painting, or
 photography, or playing the violin, or driving go-carts and winning
 every single race into which s/he enters: what does it matter, then,
 that s/he can't or won't read? S/He could easily make a living doing
 something which doesn't call for reading. >>

    Do you know, reading your e-mail, I was truly pleased at how you
generally hit the nail on the head. Essentially, you were pointing out things
that I had previously failed to convey. I was slightly disheartened, however,
later in your e-mail. My feelings specifically pertain to your paragraphs
contained in the top and middle of this e-mail. I will briefly explain.
    "And even with the 12-year-old who CAN'T (or doesn't WANT to)
 read, one should also ask oneself: "What CAN they do?" and
 "What does he WANT to do?" -- rather than the opposite."

    About this statement, I vehemently disagree. That is, assuming that its
is implying what I think it is. Are you proposing that a 12 year old who
attempts to learn to read, but cannot, focus on what they "can" do instead?
As if in the process of elimination? Indeed, I find this to be in striking
contradiction to your previous statements, specifically:

"If the 12-year-old WANTS to
read but can't, surely something needs to be done"

    I am of course assuming by this that you meant, perhaps, special tutoring
or perhaps special education. Let us not, on the issue, fluctuate to
drastically between personal interpretations of what qualifies as a "learning
disorder" and what can reasonably by diagnosed by a medical professional.
    Certainly, though I hold no specific expertise on the issue, I have had
limited personal experience with the (general) inherent fraudulence contained
within the disorder.
    I had a best friend at Sudbury years ago, who had to leave because his
mother pulled him out. Smart as razor, he was. Of course, contained within
the walls of a High School in Newton, they diagnosed him with a learning
disorder, and he was forced to engage in special classes for years.
    I just what overall clarification, which I deem of extreme importance:
Which do you mean? If child A cannot read, though he tries mightily, should
he (1) be more focused on the things he does well, or (2) is he entitled to
help from professionals outside of school? I am sure that all of the meaning
behind your statements was not conveyed, and I look forward to hearing the
true meaning from you.

-Travis W.


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