Posts Tagged ‘learning disabilities’

Albert Einstein had a learning disability!

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

Many people who have a disability don’t let it prevent them from leading full and rich lives, indeed some are an inspiration to both disabled and non-disabled people alike. Below is a list of disabled people who have achieved outstanding success despite their disability.

1. Stephen Hawking is probably one of the world’s best known high achievers with a disability. He is an internationally renowned physicist / mathematician who suffers from Motor Neurone Disease. At 35 he was Cambridge’s first Gravitational Physics Professor and received the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics Award. He has written a best selling book which was later made into a film called A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes.

2. Franklin Delano Roosevelt became the 32nd President of the United States. He contracted Polio in 1921 which left him paralysed from the waist down. Refusing to accept his paralysis he tried different therapies and methods to try and walk and did master walking short distances using iron braces and a cane. He was careful not to be seen in a wheelchair in public. He established a foundation to help others with Polio and directed the March of Dimes program which eventually funded an effective vaccine.

3. Another successful politician, Pat Stack is a left wing revolutionary and part of the Socialist Workers Party committee. A child born from a Thalidomide pregnancy he uses a wheelchair. A great political mind and brilliant orator he holds meetings every year at Marxism in London and wrote ‘Stack on the Back’ for the Socialist Review until 2004.

4. David Blunkett was an MP, Education Secretary, Home Secretary and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions at various times. He has been blind since birth and has never let this fact hold him back in any aspect of his life.

5. Tanni Grey Thompson OBE is probably the best known disabled athlete, representing Britain in distances from 100m to 800m. She has won 14 Paralympic medals including 9 gold’s and she has broken over 20 records. She has also won 5 London Marathons as a wheelchair athlete and has become a TV presenter.

6. Marla Runyan is a legally blind marathon runner and has set several track and field records at the Paralympics in Atlanta, 1996. She has represented the US at the 2000 Olympics and became the first legally blind athlete to compete in an Olympics.

7. Itzhak Perlman is an Israeli-American violinist, conductor and teacher. He is a renowned musician who contracted Polio at age four and today uses crutches or a wheelchair and plays the violin while seated. In 1986 he received the Medal of Liberty from President Reagan. He is also an advocate for people with disabilities and promotes laws to allow easier access to buildings and transport.

8. Francisco Goya (1746-1828) was a Spanish painter who suffered an illness which left him deaf at 46. He went on to create some of the best known Spanish art of the 19th Century. He provided inspiration for the work of later artists including Picasso and Monet.

9. Helen Keller was an American author, political activist and lecturer who was blind, deaf and mute. She was the first deaf and blind person to be awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree.

10. Albert Einstein, the famous mathematician and physicist, had a learning disability and did not speak until he was three years old. He found maths and writing difficult at school but went on to become one of the best known scientists of all time winning the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1921.einstein

Inclusion or Illusion?

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

a studyThe first comprehensive nationwide study of national and special needs schools, reviewing education for primary school children with mild general learning disabilities and detailing the adequacies and shortcomings of the present system, was recently launched in Trinity College Dublin.( May 2009)

 

 

The book, entitled Inclusion or Illusion, is a comprehensive study of pupils with mild general learning disabilities, who are educated in mainstream and special classes in national schools and designated special needs schools throughout Ireland. These students form the largest section of Ireland’s special needs education population. Authors, Professor  of Education, Mona O’Moore of Trinity College Dublin’s School of Education and Dr Paul Stevens, School Principal of Scoil an Chroí Ró Naofa, Castletownbere, Co Cork, gathered data from over 900 teachers between 1989 and 2007 for this research.

 

 

The study illustrates improvements in school facilities, educational resources and an increase in the number of special needs teachers all directly attributable to government investment. Equally, the study identifies serious difficulties within the education sector, associated with systemic issues of inadequate capacity, structural deficiencies and unaddressed anomalies which are multi-faceted, intangible and complex. These include poor levels of inclusive practice, inappropriate pupil placement, and a severe lack of access to appropriate support services.

 

 

Based on teachers’ own experiences and combined with a history of state policy in the area of special needs education the book assesses the developments that have been made in this field so far, what the barriers are to progression, and what can be done to overcome these. 

“Special education is currently a key issue for society and the Government. The aim of this book is to provide readers with an understanding of educational provision in Irish primary schools for children with Mild General Learning Disabilities (MGLD)”, stated Professor Mona O’Moore. “More than half of the school-going special needs population falls into this category making this book an invaluable resource for teachers, student teachers, policy makers as well as educational and support professionals.”

specialchildren.about.com – a very good resource

Sunday, January 24th, 2010
One Term, Many Definitions:
“Special Needs” is an umbrella underneath which a staggering array of diagnoses can be wedged. Children with special needs may have mild learning disabilities or profound mental retardation; food allergies or terminal illness; developmental delays that catch up quickly or remain entrenched; occasional panic attacks or serious psychiatric problems. The designation is useful for getting needed services, setting appropriate goals, and gaining understanding for a child and stressed family.

Minuses and Pluses:
“Special needs” are commonly defined by what a child can’t do — by milestones unmet, foods banned, activities avoided, experiences denied. These minuses hit families hard, and may make “special needs” seem like a tragic designation. Some parents will always mourn their child’s lost potential, and many conditions become more troubling with time. Other families may find that their child’s challenges make triumphs sweeter, and that weaknesses are often accompanied by amazing strengths.

Different Concerns:
Pick any two families of children with special needs, and they may seem to have little in common. A family dealing with developmental delays will have different concerns than one dealing with chronic illness, which will have different concerns than one dealing with mental illness or learning problems or behavioral challenges. This Parenting Special Needs site devotes sections to the following specific issues: medical, behavioral, developmental, learning, and mental health.

Medical Issues:
Medical issues for children include serious conditions like cancer and heart defects, muscular dystrophy and cystic fibrosis; chronic conditions like asthma and diabetes; congenital conditions like cerebral palsy and dwarfism; and health threats like food allergies and obesity. Children with medical issues may require numerous tests, long hospital stays, expensive equipment, and accommodations for disabilities. Their families have to deal with frequent crises, uncertainty, and worry.

Behavior Issues:
Children with behavior issues don’t respond to traditional discipline. With diagnoses like ADHD, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, Dysfunction of Sensory Integration, and Tourette Syndrome, they require specialized strategies that are tailored to their specific abilities and disabilities. If those strategies are not developed and used, kids with behavior issues throw their families into chaos and are seriously at risk for school problems. Their parents need to be flexible and creative.

Developmental Issues:
Developmental disabilities are some of the most devestating for a family to deal with, changing visions of the future and providing immediate difficulties in caring for and educating a child. Diagnoses like autism, Down syndrome and mental retardation often cause children to be removed from the mainstream, and parents must be fierce advocates to make sure their children receive the services, therapy, schooling, and inclusion they need and deserve.

Learning Issues:
Children with learning disabilities like dyslexia and Central Auditory Processing Disorder struggle with schoolwork regardless of their intellectual abilities. They require specialized learning strategies to meet their potential and avoid self-esteem problems and behavioral difficulties. Parents of learning-challenged kids need to be persistent both in working with their reluctant learners and with the schools that must provide the help these children need.

Mental Health Issues:
A child’s problems with anxiety or depression can sneak up on parents; problems with attachment may smack them right in the face. Living with a child with mental health issues can put family members on a roller coaster of mood swings and crises and defiance. Parents have to find the right professionals to help, and make hard decisions about therapy, medications, and hospitalization. The consequences of missed clues and wrong guesses can be significant.