Sunday, January 29, 2012

Disability labels (and any other kinds of labels) do not dictate a child's future

I read a truly inspiring article, "Annette Jenner: Brainiac" by Juliette Weiland on the Smart KIDS with Learning Disabilities website. It's about a woman named Annette Jenner who triumphed over her dyslexia "label" by pursuing higher education and earning a Ph.D. She is now a teacher and brain researcher. Because of having dyslexia she was predestined not to go to the college.
"As a high school freshman with dyslexia, she was told she wouldn't be able to go to college. Instead of college preparatory course work, she was taught how to fill out job applications for McDonald's. Today, she's a brain researcher and professor at Syracuse University. Take a look at her story."

Never let someone tell you that your child's disability or anything else dictates what they are capable of accomplishing in life!

This article reminds me of the importance of setting high standards for our children. It also brings to mind that schools and parents need to explore alternatives for children to help them learn and progress. Within all school systems are obstacles, but obstacles can be broken and alternate paths can be found. The parents have a huge responsibility to seek out what is appropriate for their child.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Coloring inside the lines

Today my daughter is at home sick. I had to cancel her occupational therapy appointment. There were no make-up dates available that were not during school time. To attend during school time, they pull the child out of class. I am opposed to "pull out" because I don't want her to miss out on class time and fall behind. We opt for before-after school appointments. So far this has not been a problem but I can see issues when she starts attending school a full day. Many teachers prefer to hold sessions during the regular school day. I asked the therapist what I can do at home with her this week? She suggested two activities:

One activity..."Practice writing. Her pencil grasp needs work." OK, will do. We do that almost every day anyway.

The other activity..."Practice coloring inside the lines. She colors outside the lines." I found myself thinking a second about that one and felt I needed to blog about it. My daughter loves coloring, but she doesn't understand why she has to color between the lines. Is it to teach her motor control? Or to conform to rules? She doesn't enjoy coloring at all when the method is forced on her. It limits her creativity. If I force her do things too uniformly, I am stifling her creativity. I can see the need for learning to be accurate, but not with art. Art is supposed to be enjoyable, a passion, an outlet for expression.