August 1, 2016Yes I Can!
By Dr Jo Anne White
Instead of viewing someone with learning or neural differences in a demeaning light, now is the time for us to focus on the special gifts and contributions they offer. So many people have made our world better because of the different ways they thought, learned and the different ways their brains were wired.
- Brain Power of Women and Men:
It was once assumed that women were innately less intelligent than men because of their smaller brains and thus incapable of sophisticated learning and voting. Now we all know that's not true! Imagine where we'd be today without a more elevated view of women and their contributions. And yet, in some parts of the world, women are still silenced.
- Learn Who They Truly Are:
To help and encourage anyone we need to know who they are, their likes and dislikes, their temperament, gifts and talents, weaknesses, communication, etc. This is as important for parents as it is for the professionals who work with their children. The more we understand, the better we can guide, support and teach. Make the effort to find out as much as you can and spend time with the children. Not only does acceptance help the family; research also shows that when people with special needs and autism accepted their challenges and differences, they had more positive self-esteem.
- Parents and Professionals:
For parents with children on the spectrum, denial can be a disservice to you and your child. No matter where your child is, or the diagnosis or behavior, it's important to recognize that with the right understanding of your son or daughter's challenges, without exaggerating them or inflating their abilities, you're more able to help and find the appropriate support your child's needs.
For educators and professionals, remember and uphold that each child is unique. Often it means finding a way to reach the children, rather than having them conform to a process that doesn't work for them. Let's determine what does. I learned so much from the children I taught. At times the role shifts and they show us who they are and how we can help.
- Neural Variances:
Autopsies on the so-called "normal" and dyslexic brains show that the normal brain develops asymmetrically in only one sphere; the dyslexic brain develops evenly on both sides. The dyslexic mind isn't limited to one sphere, instead uses whole brain thinking which comes with special gifts such as unique 3-dimensional spatial awareness.
We may still be living in the dark, robbed of film and music if it wasn't for Thomas Edison who invented the phonograph, the motion picture camera and the light bulb. He was considered "difficult" and hyperactive and may have had dyslexia, which didn't stop him. Instead, he developed his own ways of learning, studying and tackling problems. We benefitted from his unique perspective and his desire for learning.
Although our methods of communication have expanded, we have Alexander Graham Bell to thank, who reinvented communication with the creation of the telephone. Many people like Walt Disney, Albert Einstein, Whoopi Goldberg, Henry Ford, Picasso, Mozart, the Wright Brothers and others, have changed us, enlightened us, informed us and delighted us with their music, art, their inventions and knowledge. All have helped us expand and live with more ease, beauty and understanding.
- Release Judgements:
Instead of making people with learning differences or any other difference, feel "not good enough" or lacking, we can let go of our judgments. Why not focus on people's strengths and specialness. When we do, we help mold people who develop their gifts and talents and who are eager to use them in the service of all.. That's what I learned from teaching children with autism and special needs and of their amazing gifts which is what I've written about. Applaud the uniqueness of all children because their specialness can truly transform our world!
Posted by Staff at 1:14 PM
Jo Anne's recent book is called "More Heaven: Because Every Child is Special". For more information, visit www.drjoannewhite.com. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.