What am I doing with a blog?

Awww…heck. I dunno.

disorder or superpower? April 7, 2007

Filed under: misc — himbly @ 12:06 pm

I just read a post over at Gingersnaps With Tea. I check her blog out occassionally because I have, like, a ton of knitting blogs in my favourites folder. She occassionally writes about her son who has a learning disability. Her latest post included a story about a meeting with a vice principle who a/ mixed up the son’s disorder with another disorder, b/ despite the kid’s higher than average intelligence, suggested that he enter a school that would ‘make him more employable’ (ie. a less academic setting), and c/ was unaware of alternative schools that cater to those children with higher than average intelligence but have learning disabilities. I think that’s disgraceful.

I have written about TAing those with learning disabilities and how I’m not equiped to properly tutor them. However, I do know many people with learning disabilities who are absolutely brilliant and sometimes very academic. My parents are both extremely bright people, but my father has a learning disability. School was rough for him, but he figured out his learning requirements and adapted in such a way that by the time he attended post-secondary school…or even started working…learning was not an issue for him. He’s done very well for himself and is one of the quirkiest people I know.

This all put me in mind of a conversation I had with my friend L over breakfast one morning. L, as well understood among those who know him, has the non-hyperactive form of ADD. We discussed how he never felt as though this was a “disorder”. I remember him explaining it to me in this way (I wish I could do this justice, the man has a way of saying things):

People say that someone has ADD because they cannot concentrate on a particular topic. That while ‘the people’ are still talking about one thing, the ‘ADDer’ is busy focusing on something else. L says that the ‘ADDer’ just has a heightened sense of what’s interesting and it’s ‘the people’ that are too slow to catch on. L says that most people with ADD tend to be of higher intelligence. So, something that gives you higher intelligence and see things differently and uniquely is not a liability…it’s a superpower.

As you can imagine, as a filmmaker this has been a great advantage to him.

I think he’s right. I mean…I can’t tell for sure. I don’t have a learning disability so I can’t judge, but why not? All those I know with learning disabilities tend to be extremely talented and bright people. If you learn to harness the uniqueness your ‘disability’ gives you and use it to your advantage, who’s saying it’s a disability? You a/ have the experience of overcoming an obstacle and b/ now you get to see things others don’t.

Eener once posted 151 positive quirks about ADD. I dunno. My life has been made easier by not having a learning disability/superpower…but I’m kinda jealous of those who do.

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4 Responses to “disorder or superpower?”

  1. marnie Says:

    Thank you so much for what you are saying. If you have ever read anything by Edward Hallowell, he describes ADD as having a high performance brain, “Like a Race Car”. My son is NOT disabled, he simply learns differently, just like I did. He has wonderful positives, he is creative, intuitive, verbaly adept and his people instincts are bang on. Those skills will serve him well in the real world, at some point his ADD will cease to be a problem and become an asset (for me it was art college). It’s my job to help him get to that point with his spirit and self esteem intact.

  2. himbly Says:

    I just feel strongly about these issues because I know so many people who have a so-called ‘learning disability’ but who have intelligence and creativity (and sometimes energy) that I am most certainly envious of. I just think that it’s a shame that in this day and age, with everything we know, that a vice principle didn’t bother to educate himself on something that I can’t think is anything but HIS JOB. I’m sad that “learning disabilities” are still considered aberant enough that schools don’t have to consider them other than to ship some kid off to some other school.

    Like I said before, though, this kinda worries me for kids that don’t have a powerful advocate like you in their corner. I worry that kids with parents who are less confident would be bullied by the system.

    Oh, and I didn’t link you, btw, because I wasn’t sure if you would want me to. We’ve been fighting a lot over here, lately. I can if you want, though.

  3. marnie Says:

    Hey Himbly,
    No worries about linking, people can follow my comment back to my blog if they are interested. I am in total agreement with you re: the VP but what can you do? I don’t know if it’s a situation unique to AB or to the CBE or what but I’ve met one fantastic amazing VP… a great guy who I can’t say enough good things about… and several Good ‘ol boys who know how to play the game but are dumber than a collective sack of hammers! It’s like I said… calling someone a moron may feel good but it doesn’t get you anywhere.

    Lot’s of fighting around these parts huh? Well as long as you are fighting the good fight… it’s always worth it! Thanks again for your thoughts on my situation.

  4. renée Says:

    Well, I myself LOVE hearing people talking about the non-hyperactive ADD, as I was recently diagnosed with it and I’m in my 30s!!! And was totally missed in the school system, by my family…you name it. Shame really…

    But once I found out more (and still am) I was brought to tears because I had some answers for once! I won’t prattle on about all my revelations, but I used to hide behind these `quirks’ and just hate that things were different from other people; however, never fully realizing that ‘other people’ didn’t have some of MY traits…super cool ones too!

    A close friend of mine has shared so much with me too, as he is EXACTLY the same as me, so refreshing to be able to finally say to someone: ME TOO!!!

    Not sure about being highly intelligent, but at least I don’t think I’m stupid anymore. 🙂

    And I have the cape.


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