Victoria Brewster, MSW

Victoria Brewster, MSW

Social Justice Solutions | Staff Writer
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Learning Disabilities and Solutions

Learning disabilities, an area that needs more attention. After reading many books on neuroscience and particularly those that focus on issues related to deficits in the brains’ function, it seems that many children and adults that have been diagnosed as ADHD, trouble makers, and/or socially inadequate, are actually individuals that have undiagnosed learning disabilities.

Imagine being either a child or an adult who cannot read because of symbol recognition deficits, suffering from a motor symbol sequencing deficit, verbal reasoning deficit, a symbol relations problem or a kinesthetic deficit as in one who is clumsy or klutzy, not able to move their body in a certain way or lacking a range of motion. Kinesthetic perception problems have to do with being aware of your body and its position. All are types of neurological or cognitive deficits that can be improved with the right program/training and research is proving this.

The book, “The Woman Who Changed Her Brain” is worth reading.

“People with learning disabilities are often told, even reassured, that adaptive technology will allow them to get around the problem of reading and writing. While the compensatory software is marvelous, it’s not foolproof.” (pg. 125)

Take a look at the Arrowsmith School in either Toronto, Ontario or Peterborough, Ontario where both youth and adults go to focus on treatment and diagnosis of their learning disabilities.

The Arrowsmith Program is founded on two lines of research, one of which established that different areas of the brain working together are responsible for complex mental activities, such as reading or writing, and that a weakness in one area can affect a number of different learning processes.

The other line of research investigated the principle of neuroplasticity, which is the ability of the brain to physically change in response to stimulus and activity, to develop new neuronal/synaptic interconnections and thereby develop and adapt new functions and roles believed to be the physical mechanism of learning. Neuroplasticity refers to structural and functional changes in the brain that are brought about by training and experience.

The book is a good read, educational and an eye opener. More schools like this need to be created and available to those that can benefit. In addition, more training needs to occur for professionals in mainstream schools to focus on these skills with students without turning to an outside source. No student should be left behind, ignored or ‘passed’ to the next grade as what is the benefit to the student? More likely it will just lead to continued frustration by the student or teacher(s) along with the parents.

Written by Victoria Brewster, MSW – SJS Staff Writer in Canada

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