My newest puzzle

Just as I mourn the loss of my triplets, my newest source of entertainment walks into my classroom.  My brilliant employer tells me this student has “cognitive processing”… a good thing, or there is not much use in me working with him;  I believe the term “delay” was left out of there.

“Puzzle” is in Grade 11, but reads and writes like he’s in grade 2.  He’s going to a private school, because he achieved absolutely nothing in the public system.  He can’t work with too many people around him.  He has no interests other than driving cars and convincing people he’s not stupid.  There are some health problems, too (eating disorder), and some cultural barriers (his parents don’t speak English, and don’t really want to admit there is a learning disability).  The other student I had with a processing delay of this magnitude had the advantage of looking like he fell off Mount Olympus; Puzzle has nothing to win him the good graces of society.

Here is where I regret not being trained in learning disorders.  I can give Puzzle coping strategies (which was fun, because he actually smiled when I told him he could take 10 minutes to answer a question if he bloody well felt like it, and there is nothing wrong with typing); I can help him practice reading and writing so they’re not the heinous tasks they are to him now; I can work on boosting his little ego so he has the confidence to try new things.  I can’t fix his brain.  I don’t even know the fastest way to make his life easier: I just play around until we find something that works.  I realise this is the method of education I want for all my students, but it’s frustratingly inefficient for me.  Where do I find courses on dealing with cognitive processing delays?

I see this kind of learning disorder a lot.  For me, it’s fascinating, because I get to see the kids come to understand how their brain works, and that they are “unique” rather than “stupid”.  It would be nice, though, if the parents would accept the learning disorders a little earlier than 11 years into the child’s schooling, so the student could spend more time learning than covering up their inabilities.

Why do we equate “slow” with “stupid”?  Why can Walaikum not accept mediocrity?  Why does one have to have neat, cursive handwriting to get a decent job?

What species of animal took it upon themselves to redefine “animal” in a way which cannot be universally achieved?

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One response to “My newest puzzle

  1. Pingback: Endymion and the Bloomsbury Group « The English Major’s Blog

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