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View Full Version : What would you do? Not political but not for the masses either.


Neserk
Jul 19, 2004, 10:43 PM
As some of you know I'm working on my teacher credential. Back in January when I took my first class we were learning about phonemic awareness (ability to hear distinct sounds in words and manipulate them). One of the activities is to remove the sound from the center of a word and replace it with a new sound. This isn't done in writing but purely auditorily. Example: delete the /e/ in send and replace it with /a/ to get sand. I was trying to do this and I can't! I can do initial sounds but not middle sounds and struggle with end sounds. I thought "If I can't do it how can a 1st grader?" But sure enough, they can rattle them right off!

Then I started this Special education class and found out there is actually a learning disability that relates. I also have problems following verbal directions that have more than 2 steps and have problems remembering a name 5 seconds after someone introduces themself to me. Obviously if I have a learning disability it is mild and only effects me on a day to day basis with the name thing and following verbal directions. I've learned to cope with other issues (like not being able to hear a lecturer/teacher unless I can see their lips moving-- I sit in the front of the class). And it never affected my ability to read. (although it may explain some the whether/rather problem).

So here is my question: If you were in my shoes (oops, no shoes on right now) would you get yourself tested to see if you have a learning disability or not? Why?

I'm not sure I want to know. But if there are coping strategies beyond what I already do then I'd benefit from them. Not being able to remember peoples names is very embarassing.

LethalWolfe
Jul 19, 2004, 10:56 PM
The right thing to do, IMO, is to get tested. Of course the natual reaction is not to get tested (the always flawed, "What I don't know can't hurt me" thought process). If you get tested and you do have a learning disability you can learn more about and learn better ways to compensate for it. That and you won't always be having the inner "should I/shouldn't I" struggle.


Lethal

pseudobrit
Jul 19, 2004, 11:01 PM
I thought "If I can't do it how can a 1st grader?" But sure enough, they can rattle them right off!

Remember that young children's mind's are not yet hardwired like ours.

Then I started this Special education class and found out there is actually a learning disability that relates. I also have problems following verbal directions that have more than 2 steps and have problems remembering a name 5 seconds after someone introduces themself to me. Obviously if I have a learning disability it is mild and only effects me on a day to day basis with the name thing and following verbal directions. I've learned to cope with other issues (like not being able to hear a lecturer/teacher unless I can see their lips moving-- I sit in the front of the class). And it never affected my ability to read. (although it may explain some the whether/rather problem).

So here is my question: If you were in my shoes (oops, no shoes on right now) would you get yourself tested to see if you have a learning disability or not? Why?

I'm not sure I want to know. But if there are coping strategies beyond what I already do then I'd benefit from them. Not being able to remember peoples names is very embarassing.

Oh, boy. When I was a kid, I found a medical encyclopaedia in my house and read it voraciously. Of course I was convinced -- much to my unfolding horror -- page by page that I was afflicted with about 30% of the disorders and diseases described. I think that's what happening here.

When you learn something new, to tend to apply it to things you can relate to or have experienced in order to better understand how it should fit in your memory banks.

I wouldn't call what you describe as a learning disability so much as a learning style.

I learn the same way -- visually and not aurally. I can't remember names; I'm absolutely awful in that regard. I do remember faces and people, I just can't verbally pinpoint who they said they were.

I can't remember things people tell me, but if they write them down, it'll be seared into my memory for at least a week; it's almost photographic.

Neserk
Jul 19, 2004, 11:05 PM
Oh, boy. When I was a kid, I found a medical encyclopaedia in my house and read it voraciously. Of course I was convinced -- much to my unfolding horror -- page by page that I was afflicted with about 30% of the disorders and diseases described. I think that's what happening here.


That is what I'm wondering, too. But the last time I ignored something like that it ended up being true. So....


I wouldn't call what you describe as a learning disability so much as a learning style.


That is how I feel. I'm trying to figure out if I should still rule out "disability." OTOH, at this point I've gotten a MA already, so does it really matter if I do have one?

I do need to get my hearing checked, though.

Neserk
Jul 19, 2004, 11:06 PM
The right thing to do, IMO, is to get tested. Of course the natual reaction is not to get tested (the always flawed, "What I don't know can't hurt me" thought process). If you get tested and you do have a learning disability you can learn more about and learn better ways to compensate for it. That and you won't always be having the inner "should I/shouldn't I" struggle.


Lethal

ALso what I'm thinking. We need a tie breaker :p

blackfox
Jul 19, 2004, 11:06 PM
Neserk, I am still trying to get a handle on what you actually had to do in classroom...say "s-eh-nd" then "s-ah-nd" and so on...

If that is the case, it does seem rather easy (but so does writing, and tell that to a dyslexic). That said, however, do you just have trouble saying it out loud, or is it a gap in the conceptualization process?

The reason I ask is that because I grew up in the UK and had a strong English accent in my youth, then moved around the US and picked up different regional accent hints, I have a slight speech defect (or others have a hearing defect)...my accent is still fairly English, and I have trouble with long vowel sounds (like mall and ball, for example)...I am unable to clip the vowel for a crisp ending, so many people hear "mall" as "maaaaahhhh...l"...and I am unable to speak these words in a different way w/o great concentration...

Just trying to figure out the problem you're having...

IJ Reilly
Jul 19, 2004, 11:10 PM
This is easy for me to say because I'm not a teacher, but I think this "learning disability" thing is a bit overplayed. We all have talents in different measures. For the most part, our disadvantages in one area are compensated for elsewhere.

I was thinking about this very thing the other day when Bobby Fischer turned up in Japan, and I found out what he'd been up to all these years. Being a complete idiot, apparently. For a guy who is possibly the greatest chess player of all time, a certifiable genius, he seemly can't reason himself out of a paper sack where human beings are involved. Remarkable.

Personally, I'd recommend not worrying too much about this stuff unless it becomes a major issue for you. I've got a lifelong name-face problem myself, which can be embarrassing sometimes. I've learned to compensate pretty well by trying to associate the person's name with some else about them. It wouldn't help me to know that clinically it might be called a "learning disability;" I'd have to work out a way to cope with it, just the same.

jsw
Jul 19, 2004, 11:12 PM
I can do the sound replacement thing, but my auditory memory sucks. I hear what someone says, I acknowledge it, and then it's as though it was never said. Not always, but often enough. And I can't remember names to save my life until I've used them often. Still, I've gotten along fine in life. I think that some people are simply more visually inclined, and we're in that group.

If there's a test for this, then by all means have it done. It can't hurt, and it's not like it's going to let you know you're dying or anything. It'll just confirm or disprove something you'll worry about otherwise.

Aren't you then one who wondered how to talk to your step-son about sex? Well, now, you don't want to delve into the talk if he asks if it's OK for him to have a Sax, right? ;) If you do in fact have a disorder (unlikely it's anything serious), then, if it's treatable, that'd be a good thing to know.

Neserk
Jul 19, 2004, 11:12 PM
It manifests itself with not being able to remember peoples names unless they are wearing a name tag, not hearing things correctly (like how to say someones names), and saying "what" a lot, not being able to follow oral directions with more than two/three steps.

The way I discovered it was when my teacher was demonstrating how to teach phonemic awareness with children. What I can do is remove the /b/ from bat and replace it with a /k/ and get cat. What I struggled with was end sounds (removing the /t/ from bat and replacing it with a /g/ to get bag or any sound in the middle of a word. Obviously since I can already read I don't need to be able to do that on my feet. But most everyone else can do it (both children and the other adults in my class :eek: ) The fact I can't do it and have the problems I listed above can be indications of a learning disability (mild in my case) or possibly just not a strength in learning style.

IJ Reilly
Jul 19, 2004, 11:17 PM
Don't drive yourself crazy. Plenty of people are perfectly prepared to do it for you. :D

Ugg
Jul 19, 2004, 11:59 PM
I do need to get my hearing checked, though.

I would highly recommend that.

Around age 11 I lost 50% of my hearing. I was still at the age where I could adapt easily to the world around me and didn't start wearing hearing aids until I was in college, my mother also has a moderate hearing loss so we tended to talk loud at home. Also, I did as you did and sat at the front of the class.

It wasn't until a couple of years out of college when a friend of mine who was working on his masters in audiology asked me to be a guinea pig in his program. It involved learning how to cope with my loss with a bunch of 50 to 80 year olds. I honestly didn't learn anything new but what I did learn is how well I had adapted over the years and that was very empowering. I never had special training, don't sign, can't read by lips alone, etc. The human mind is a powerful thing and if you allow it to work with you instead of against you, you'll be just fine.

If you're coping well, then that's all that matters. I ended up getting a BA in German studies and did quite well, thank you, except for those two professors who kept putting their hand over their mouth while they leaned on the podium. :rolleyes: Assuming that this is a problem that you've dealt with from childhood and you've gotten an MA, then there is probably little you will learn from any disability assessment. If you are assessed with a disability, it could easily be a burden that breaks down the defences you've built up over your lifetime. Think hard about how you will deal with the outcome.



On the other hand, I think learning disabilities are overly diagnosed. Rather than saying that little Johnny just needs a little more one on one with his reading lessons, we slap him into a room with others who have problems that may be much larger than his. I'm definitely on your side when you say class size shouldn't exceed 20 students. Then that extra little time Johnny needs, wouldn't end up being a huge burden on him, the teacher, the taxpayer, etc.

Good luck with your decision and don't sweat it. Stress just makes it all worse.

Desertrat
Jul 20, 2004, 07:18 AM
If I read something and take notes, it stays with me. Oral instructions? I need some repetition, commonly.

Hearing tests are a Good Thing. I'm stone-deaf right in the middle of the human speech frequencies. Accumulated noise impacts from artillery fire, since this all came about long before I did any notable amount of pistol shooting in the days before "HearGuards". Hearing aids won't help in a range where the nerves are dead, so I save money by not having them sold to me.

Anyway, if there's background noise (party chatter; music) I hear someone speaking but I have difficulty making out the words. One on one, no problem.

But it can be a mix of learning style and auditory nerves..."A little of this; a little of that."

'Rat

Lyle
Jul 20, 2004, 09:04 AM
So here is my question: If you were in my shoes (oops, no shoes on right now) would you get yourself tested to see if you have a learning disability or not? Why?

I'm not sure I want to know. But if there are coping strategies beyond what I already do then I'd benefit from them. Not being able to remember peoples names is very embarassing.Since this is something that you seem genuinely concerned about, I'm certainly not going to trivialize it. But from all indications you've managed to overcome most of these problems already (as evidenced by your earning an MA, which is a huge accomplishment.) So I don't think I would bother getting tested unless you feel that these problems are seriously interfering with your day-to-day life; and it doesn't sound like they are.

Now, that's not to say you shouldn't learn about some "coping" techniques, as you put it. I have trouble remembering peoples' names too, although it may not be as severe a problem as yours. When I'm introduced to someone new, I make a point of repeating their name a lot when I'm talking to them, to "burn" their name on my brain. This works really well for me.

Another technique: One of my old college professors would try to come up with some mental image, usually something silly, to associate with their name. For example, to remember the name "Chris Dolski", he would visualize a pineapple on snowskis ("Dole"-"Ski"), and that association somehow helped him. He'd see Chris, get that mental image, and be able to say Chris' name. It may sound silly, but it worked for him. ;)

radhak
Jul 20, 2004, 10:05 AM
i have a strong feeling your hearing is less than perfect, based on some of your coping techniques (front bench, etc)

otherwise, i am happy ( ;) ) to hear of your problem because i have one of a similar scale that i never articulated till now. i have an excellent memory (once introduced, i never forget names, faces or even birthdays), and very good senses (hearing, eyesight), but am very apt to misplace stuff thats in my hands. i think of it as 'my hands have a bad memory'. if i have anything in my hands i just place them somewhere and spend the rest of the day searching for it.

incidents like being paged by the librarian to pick up a pack of sanitary napkins that i forgot at the checkout counter (i was running errands for my wife), or leaving a printed copy of my updated resume at my boss's desk could be termed amusing (at least retrospectively), but when a friend did me a favor and loaned me $10,000 in personal check and i 'misplaced it', neither he nor my wife were amused. we never found it, so he had to put a stop-payment on it.

i then developed a system of either (a) not moving out of any area without checking around for anything i might have dropped or (b) at least putting stuff in my pockets. has worked okay for the past year other than losing my cell phone at various places (found each time) and my car keys left hanging on the outside of the trunk of my car for all the 5 days of a long weekend (no damage done).

at this stage, i have only one wish: i wish my wife would 'forget' something, even if minor, somewhere so that i could think of my problem as a normal forgetfulness, but no success there as yet :(

Neserk
Jul 20, 2004, 05:03 PM
I constantly misplace things! I can not move an inch, have a pair of scissors and lose them! I joke that I should go into business: lose things for people :D But they have to say it is very important and that I can't lose it. Then I'll put in it in a safe spot never to be found again!

Nice to know I'm not alone!