Guest Post: Learning Challenges are an Advantage


Learning Challenges are an Advantage

By: Joe Cook 

            As educators and parents we spend so much time trying to help students with learning challenges adapt to the world around them, to gain skills that will help them overcome those challenges, and well we should. We all know that to compete, they need certain skills.

But while that is important, it is worth noting that in a world that often ostracizes difference, that same world rewards difference as well. This occurred to me one day while listening to sound poetry before a session with a student. (Yep, I’m that guy: a full-fledged word-nerd!) I suddenly got the thought, “These people are weird! And amazing! And beautiful! I could never have thought to do anything like that.” And that’s when it hit me—they have a different outlook on the world and language than I do and were able to turn that different perspective into something unique and breathtaking.

I made my next two students listen to it. (Yep, I’m that guy too.) We talked about perspective. We talked about art. Most of all we talked about EFD, ADHD, and Dyslexia as not only being a challenge, but also an advantage. We talked about their ability to see the world in a way different from everyone else, not just artistically, but even in fields like business or politics. History has shown us that the people who make the most difference often are those who see from a distinct perspective different from the masses.

In that perspective is power.perspective

They will still have to get to class on time. They will still have to turn homework in on time. They will still struggle with reading.

And that is the challenge. But with that challenge comes something most of us wish we had; the gift to see the world differently.

And that’s worth remembering.


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