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Lesson Plans

LD and gifts ( a personal story)

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Sat, 1 Feb 1997 06:31:12 -0500 (EST)

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Hello Charlotte and ALL of you,

I would very much like to have information on the brain gym.

I might as well jump in here ( I haven't written to the list for a long

My son has a learning disability. He's 12 now and the disability wasn't named
until 4th grade. It's called a visual/motor processing disability. I'd like
to describe some of his characteristics.

First- he's smart. He's got a high IQ and has been in the gifted program
since he was in 2nd grade. We stumbled into that- I think the schools tested
him for several reasons. One was that he was spaced out and day-dreamy the
other was that I'd blown the whistle and let his teacher and school counselor
know that his dad was an alcoholic (also a painter) and that there were a lot
of problems and tension at home... and that he could use some extra support.
Scared the heck out of me to let the school in on it... but ultimately it
helped. The only distinctions that were reveled at the time were that he is
very creative (Torrence test) and intelligent... and otherwise "normal".

The typical LD profile is that there are very high areas and very low areas.
He cannot spell nor do math facts, his writing is crummy looking chicken-
scratching with a few reversals. His drawing skills are good. He's got a
serious aspect- and great knowledge of history. I'd say he's a 12 year old
combination of Jim Carey and Abraham Lincoln :-). Last year his teacher said
that if she had to pick the best thinker in the class (a class of gifted
kids- he was the only gifted/LD child) it would be Colin! In 4th grade he was
reading at the end-of 11th-grade level.

Colin is very forgetful. He can remember information that may be interesting
and insighful... but couldn't tie his shoes well until a couple of years
after his friends and classmates could. He has a great synthesis of
knowledge... and he can't walk across the room without forgetting where he's
going half the time. His problems are very distinct and pronounced... and so
are his gifts. Highly organized creative teachers are his lifeline in school.
Some of his teachers only see his weaknesses... and he suffers considerably
from embarassment over his forgetfulness and has hesitation to ask for
accomodations for the things he really can't do. It's as if a kid who can't
walk can only use a wheel chair if the teacher "believes in" wheelchairs. For
Colin, using a tape recorder to remind himself of work... and being able to
answer tests orally is very helpful. He knows the information most of the
time but his ability to get it across in writing is very weak.

I love this kid. The struggles he faces scare me. He's very lucky to have had
his abilities identified before his disabilities were identified. If the
reverse had happened- which is much more typical- it would be harder than it
is now.

There's a wonderful school in Washington DC called The Lab School of
Washington. They do highly prescriptive work with the kids in the morning...
and then the afternoon is dedicated to the arts... visual, dance, theatre,
music... If anyone would like the address there are some great tapes and
books available through them. They also have workshops. One of our favorite
things (don't sceam) is a coloring book something along the line of the
visual/informational/historical things that Bellerophon puts out. It's full
of stories and pictures of people with learning disabilities who are very

One of Colin's favorite examples of a person who struggled is General George
Patton he could read nor write until he was 12. When he went to West Point he
had to have someone write for him.

Thanks to all of you for the help you give me every day with my work. Single
parenting is a trip and so is being an art teacher ( for 14 grade levels).
These days I don't know how I'd do it without you guys.

Kathy Maloney Johnson
Father Lopez High School and Our Lady of Lourdes School
Daytona Beach FL

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  • Maybe reply: Griswold, Charlotte: "Re: LD and gifts ( a personal story)"