Not everyone likes the same kind of pizza. Some people believe that putting pineapple on pizza should be a criminal offense. People can’t agree on the same colours, clothing, music, shoes, hairstyles, or games. Ever been caught up in an argument about whether cats or dogs are better pets? Why do lizards always get left out of the discussion?
Vive la difference! (Long live the difference!)
Why can’t we agree? Because all brains are built differently! Every brain has different things it is great at and some things it struggles with.
If we aren’t the same in our understanding of pineapple or kittens, why are we all expected to learn things the same way? Or be interested in learning the same things?
When we first created school, it was designed to teach to a narrow band of learners who all learned similarly. If your learning style didn’t fit in this narrow band, this would be called a Learning Disability, Learning Difference, or Learning Disorder.
Thankfully, today we understand that we can teach different brains the same information in different ways. Then we can find out how much those brains learned by asking them different questions in different ways. This is what a Psychoeducational Assessment does. It tells the school and the teachers how brains best take in knowledge and how they best express what they know.
The IEP, or Individualized Education Plan, is what the school creates from the Psychoeducational Assessment. Now that they have the information on how a specific brain works, they can create a plan for teaching and testing that specific brain.
It feels awful using the term “Learning Disability.” It feels like a negative label. We have to use the term Learning Disability because this is how the government asks us to refer to these types of learning that don’t fit the typical learning model.
It might be helpful to remember that a diagnosis of a Specific Learning Disability is simply a diagnosis of difference. It just says that your brain learns differently, and we will help the school understand how you learn so that you can succeed!