Going off topic today to talk about LDs

In a way, this isn’t off topic, because we write about the things that interest us. One of the subjects that has become a recurring factor in my writing is the issue of learning disabilities. I have dyscalculia. Like dyslexia, it is a broad term used to define any math related learning disability. For me, abstract concepts, such as those related to time and space, are very difficult. I have trouble thinking in reverse, so things like carpentry and sewing are very difficult for me. But when I was growing up, learning disabilities were not understood and I was told it was okay that I was bad at math because I was a girl, and girls just weren’t good at math. Of course, that’s ridiculous and I grew up knowing that “something was wrong with me.” Even as an adult, people made fun of my inability to understand math related concepts. I did my best to hide my disability, avoiding math related classes whenever possible. This closed off many career options, includng being a veternarian or an architecht.
When I realized a few years ago that I had a learning disability, and when I discovered there was a name for it, it was very freeing. The “something that was wrong with me” wasn’t my fault. I think differently than other people, and learn differently, and that is fine. Now, as the mother of two children who have learning disabilities, it is more important to me than ever that kids know that having a learning disability is not something of which they should be ashamed. As the director of my children’s lower school said to me “in an ideal world, every child would have an individualized learning plan, because we all learn differently.”
I think it is crucial that we, as writers for children, realize that kids with learning disabilities need a voice. They need to know they are not alone, that they are teachable, that they can achieve, and, most importantly, that they are valuable exactly as they are, even if they learn differently than “the norm.”
So this theme has woven its way into my writing, and it will continue to weave its way into my blog. You can read more about learning disabilities at the link to the National Center for Learning Disabilities provided on this site.

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