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How do you define "Learning disablility"


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Joined: Jun 13, 2003
Posts: 330
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Posted May 05, 2005 at 2:39:43 PM
Subject: How do you define "Learning disablility"

I bring this up because LDonline has a link to an article about the actor who is playing the new Doctor Who. He is a spokesperson for what is called an organization for the learning disabled. If you read the article however, and trace it back to the actual organization, it is mainly for people with Down's syndrome and Fragile X syndrome, two things I do not consider LDs.

People who have been around for a while will remember I gave a British poster...er...problems....because she equated LD with mental retardation.

English is a living language and as such changes over time.

I have finally decided that LD now means something other than what I once thought it did.

So....what is YOUR defination of "Learning Disabled."


Barb

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victoria
Joined Jun 13, 2003
Posts: 1784

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Posted:May 05, 2005 3:21:41 PM

This is a problem I've responded to before also, under the category of *creeping euphemisms*.

People don't want to say "die" so they say "pass away"; then they don't want to say "pass away" either, so now they say "pass" -- wonder what the next one is going to be in that area??

People don't want to say "moron" (which once was a legitimate word!!) so they said "mentally retarded"; then they didn't want to say "retarded" so they said "slow learner"; then they didn't want to say "slow learner" so they have co-opted the term "learning disabled".

It appears that in England the waters have been so muddied that a different term is going to have to be invented, quickly.
I have also seen in England the term "dyslexia" being broadened to cover almost anything, to the point that it is rather meaningless.
I don't know about the US, whether the distinction is going to be possible to preserve or not.

Yes, LD is officially defined as a person of normal or higher intelligence with a limited/specific disability in certain areas. But when people decide to co-opt a term, the official definition gets lost.

It is normal in English for the meaning of words to change over time. However the continual invention of new euphemisms is a problem -- makes it very easy to badly misunderstand readings from even ten years apart or a different country at the same time, for example.
This is a constant difficulty with historical studies -- do the words mean what we now think they mean? Often not. Just for one example, "red" up to the last century meant rust-coloured; what we now call "red" was called scarlet or crimson. Changes your picture of some things, doesn't it?

So, what new term can you invent that is both pronounceable and clearly distinct from cognitive delays? Make up a good one and we'll all start to use it . . .

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bgb
Joined Jun 13, 2003
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Posted:May 05, 2005 4:00:02 PM

LOL!

I'm not one to coin a new phase.

Thank you for posting!

Barb

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Jerry
Joined Mar 11, 2005
Posts: 67

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Posted:May 05, 2005 6:36:44 PM

I think LD is more of a lagalistic definition. LD does not address the neurological impairment that causes the symptoms of LD

It is like if you take your car to a mechanic because it is sputtering and stalling and when you ask his what the problem is he call it CDRG or Car Don't Run Good.

LD simply is what it says Learning Disablility, Learning Difficulty or Learning Differences. By that definition anyone from stroke patients to TBI victims to the mentally retarded can be called LD.

They LD industry needs to zero on on more accurate and universal definitions that would place an emphasis on cause as wll as symptoms or they should at least be specific.

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geodob
Joined Feb 06, 2005
Posts: 265

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Posted:May 06, 2005 5:38:39 AM

Disorder, Disabled are simplistic terms for defining the other?
Not the standard model?
Where I would suggest that the real definition of LD is Learning Diversity.
Which reflects the diversity of ways in which each of us learn!
A diversity that should be valued for the variety of ongoing contributions it has made to the evolution of humanity! Bringing fresh insights and perspectives.
Rather than a weakness, it should be recognised as spectrum of specialised strengths?
Geoff.

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PT1
Joined Mar 07, 2005
Posts: 34

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Posted:May 11, 2005 9:40:21 PM

[Disorder, Disabled are simplistic terms for defining the other?
Not the standard model?
Where I would suggest that the real definition of LD is Learning Diversity.
Which reflects the diversity of ways in which each of us learn!
A diversity that should be valued for the variety of ongoing contributions it has made to the evolution of humanity! Bringing fresh insights and perspectives.
Rather than a weakness, it should be recognised as spectrum of specialised strengths?
Geoff.[/quote]


Hi Folks,

I am an adult with NLD, ADHD, Dyslexia and god knows what else who also works in the MR Field. Victoria, I thought that Developmental Disability was the politically correct term for MR. As a person with NLD, which is also considered a developmental disability, I don't like being lumped in with MR.

No, I am not putting down people with MR as these folks are alot more intelligent than anyone gives them credit for. But by throwing in NLD and other LDs in with MR, that causes people to take people with LD alot less seriously.

Victoria, you're also right about Dyslexia being a pretty useless term in England. But there is an active group of people with CAPD who are working to get that disorder recognized on its own merits instead of lumping it in with Dyslexia. Also, it seems that more parents are posting from England on NLD Boards.

Jerry, excellent points as usual. I have nothing more to add since you summed the relevant issues up very well.

Geoff, I save your points for last other than commending the initial poster for asking a good question. I understand what you're saying about appreciating learning diversity.
In our society, everyone is expected to march to the same drummer and if you don't, you're seen as weird. Now, if you are successful enough, then society embraces you as that wonderful person who dared to be different. Unfortunately, alot of people who are different don't have a wonderful success story to share.

On the other hand, I am a person who is not afraid of the "D" word and feels that the term "learning diversity" minimized my difficulties. Having to consciously decode every non verbal action that most people subconciously do and don't give a second thought to, is not a learning diversity. Not being able to see something right in front of me that everyone else can see is not a learning diversity. I could go on but I think you get the picture.

Also, we don't say that someone who is blind has a seeing diversity so why should learning problems be any different?

Additionally, you can't receive accomodations for a learning diversity. In fact, one school that I was considering attending several years ago, made that specific point on their website.

I don't mean to be a naysayer as I have enjoyed reading your posts. But I had to chime in on this.

PT

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JohnBT
Joined Mar 14, 2005
Posts: 42

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Posted:May 12, 2005 12:07:55 PM

Interesting discussion.

As a professional working with individuals with disabilities (except for the blind), I'd like to say that the phrases Learning Disabled and Learning Disability drive me nuts. Been driving me nuts since the LD diagnoses were invented and put into daily use. Can I say nuts? ;)

Anyway, to assist in the planning of a career, job training, job placement, etc., what I really need to know are the specifics of the problem or problems. If I get one more referral from a so-called professional that lists the diagnosis as L.D... <beats head on desk>

Which L.D. for goodness sake? In the beginning they were called Specific Learning Disabilities. What's the problem or problems: reading, math, etc., etc., etc. I hope it's just laziness and not ignorance. After all, the DSM still lists specific diagnoses that refer to specific problems.

Sorry for the rant. :) It's not just about LD either. I also see referrals that list, for example, the disability as Loss of Arm. Which arm? The one they always wrote with? Problem solving is all in the details.

John

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PT1
Joined Mar 07, 2005
Posts: 34

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Posted:May 14, 2005 9:06:29 PM

<<Anyway, to assist in the planning of a career, job training, job placement, etc., what I really need to know are the specifics of the problem or problems. If I get one more referral from a so-called professional that lists the diagnosis as L.D... <beats head on desk>>>

Hi John,

Let me give you the other side of the coin as a person with NLD who is active on NLD lists. A major complaint of adult NLDers who have dealt with voc rehab counselors is that they assume NLD is exactly like Dyslexia when actually, it is the totally the opposite. My profile of having both is unusual as an aside.

With the exception of one person whose voc rehab counselor was willing to learn about NLD and how it affected her, the other NLDers, including me, have not had a good experience with folks in your profession. Too bad they didn't have your attitude.

PT

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JohnBT
Joined Mar 14, 2005
Posts: 42

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Posted:May 16, 2005 12:26:16 PM

I understand and I'm not going to make excuses for some of the counselors. So, I agree with you.

Different people have different kinds of problems as a result of their disability, including learning disabilities (and head injuries, and hearing impairments, and spinal cord injuries, etc.) The rehab process, if done the correct way, requires the counselor to get diagnostic information - medical reports, etc. - to determine eligibility and begin the planning process on what job, job training, or education to pursue.

This process works the same way for LD, deafness, mental illness, amputations, spinal cord injuries, etc.

The report or reports should include information on
1)diagnosis,
2)prognosis,
3)limitations, and
4)recommendations for treatment.

The doctor or psychologist needs list the SPECIFIC problems and possible solutions for the INDIVIDUAL. Without specific information on what the person can do, can't do, might be able to do and even should try to do, the counselor is stumbling around in the dark. It's hard to free up money for services when you can't document why and what you're hoping to accomplish.

The individual situation and problems of someone with a diagnosis of NLD should be addressed in the report from the person who diagnosed it. I seldom see this done in adequate detail. As a result I often I see the counselors sort of lumping everyone together under Learning Disabled, Learning Disability, etc. Of course, the federal requirement to get the eligibility done within the mandated time limit encourages quick, and sometimes hasty, decisions.

A major problem is that the American Psychiatric Associations's DSM-IV-TR doesn't list NLD, only Learning Disorders such as Reading Disorder, Math Dis., Dis. of Written Expression and Learning Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. I know there are diagnoses of NLD being made, but it is not widely used or recognized by the 'system' at this time.

I need to get some lunch before my afternoon appointment. Let me end this by saying the counselors don't and can't know everything about every diagnosis and condition (not to mention folks with multiple diagnoses - I recently saw a man with 17.) Sometimes I think medicine, psychiatry and psychology are expanding faster than anyone can keep up with.

Education (and research, demostration grants, etc.) is the solution, and things are improving, but never fast enough.

Before the 'invention' of Supported Employment 20+ years ago the majority of persons with mental retardation had their VR cases closed as Too Severe. Sometimes it takes new approaches, but meanwhile we all feel like we're running in place.

Okay, no time to proofread, gotta go.

John

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PT1
Joined Mar 07, 2005
Posts: 34

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Posted:May 16, 2005 9:19:31 PM

Hi John,

Don't worry about proofreading as I am the last person who should be criticizing anybody for typos. Anyway, thank you for a well thought out post. Pretty good for someone who was in a hurry.

You're right, voc rehab counselors can't possibly know about every disability. But what I think what irks NLDers is the attitude of many voc rehab counselors and lack of interest in the disorder and how it affects somebody. Then again, people in your field aren't the only professionals who don't get NLD.

PT

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geodob
Joined Feb 06, 2005
Posts: 265

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Posted:May 17, 2005 2:35:36 AM

Hi PT,
To pick up on your earlier statement: "Having to consciously decode every non verbal action that most people subconciously do and don't give a second thought to, is not a learning diversity. Not being able to see something right in front of me that everyone else can see is not a learning diversity. I could go on but I think you get the picture. "
I've been reading an article in the current Scientific American Mind on Creativity. Which would question your statement?
Where it picks up on your point of having to consciously decode what others subconsciously do, and don't give a second thought to.
The crucial difference, is that being required to give a 'second thought', provides a far deeper awareness of what others have always just taken for granted.
Whilst one will initially be unable to see something right in front of one that everyone else can see. After consciously decoding something, the table often turns? Where as a result, one now has deeper understanding than others. So that the NLDer now sees what others have never seen, right in front of them.
Most discoveries and inventions have simply been a result of seeing what is quite obvious. Yet, most people dont take the time to decode things and look deeper. As it doesn't happen naturally to them.
Yet for NLDer's this is a standard model of thinking.
So it appears that their maybe an advantage?
To being a Conscious Learner.

Geoff.

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victoria
Joined Jun 13, 2003
Posts: 1784

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Posted:May 17, 2005 9:26:26 AM

Geoff, if you think it's so great to have perceptual problems, I will gladly lend you my glasses for a day. If you can last over ten minutes I will be very very surprised. And the social trip-ups are even worse than the physical.

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