Fixing a Broken Model, Part 1

This student-authored post is part of a series that highlights student perspectives around learning and executive function in the classroom. 

The majority of people have a physical appearance that is unique. Yet on an anatomical level, the components of each face are the same. Your eyes, for example, are in the middle of your face, about a nose width long and a nose width apart. The distance from your chin to the middle of your lip is the same as the distance from the middle of your lip to the corner of your eye.

Yet it is the small differences that shape your likeness, making you unique. The human brain is the same — even though we’re all human, there are a variety of factors that make everyone’s brains different.

In school, people tend to be defined by a few characteristics, and as someone with dyslexia and ADHD, my differences have always seemed to define me. I feel these differences every day.

I started to feel the impact of my dyslexia in first grade, before I was even diagnosed. Like many students with learning differences, I was misunderstood at school, and similar situations led me to feel annoyed, confused, and fearful. All of these emotions came from the message that school was instilling in me, that something was wrong with me.

In my experience, schools ignore, suppress, and neglect the things that they don’t understand, and that leads to students being neglected. When teachers don’t work to understand their students’ differences and how they learn best, it can leave students with the belief that they are inadequate and they will ever be able to do what is expected of them. That mix of emotions can be excruciating.

Thirty-three percent of educators believe learning disabilities are just laziness. This harmful stereotype is a perfect example of how the education system needs to change. The bottom line is in order to create a healthy learning environment for students with learning disabilities, these students need to be fully understood and that starts with education. It starts with ending the belief that learning disabilities are laziness or something that can be easily controlled.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this post. 

  • C. Solomon, Student Contributor

SMARTS Executive Function Curriculum:

Research Institute for Learning and Development:

The Institute for Learning and Development: