Learning Disabilities

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Shahmir Lodhi AP Language and Composition Mr. Kim 20th April, 2013 Learning Disabilities All my life, I’ve had issues with academics. For many years, my parents and teachers always believed that the reason I was academically challenged was because I was lazy and un interested. It was not until the eleventh grade, when I was diagnosed with a spacial visual disorder, did my parents realize that my academic downfall was not due to laziness, but in fact, due to this learning disability. After being diagnosed, many aspects of my life changed. One main aspect that changed was my perception of myself as a student, I now felt that I was prohibited from doing assignments, which required deep thinking or numbers. For example, the other day I was given a math problem to solve. However after trying only twice to solve it, I gave up and then claimed that I was not able to do it, because I had a learning disability that affected my ability to do math. Another main aspect of my life that changed, was my confidence as a student. Before, being diagnosed with a learning disability, I was always able to raise my hand in a class and give a very confident answer to a question posed by the teacher or a student. This sense of confidence which I once had, had somewhat lowered after being diagnosed. The reason was because, I now felt very different from the Lodhi 1

Lodhi 2 students in my classes, I felt that my brain was slower and constructed differently from theirs, and as a result, I felt my opinions and answers would not make sense or would not suffice as a well written answer to the question.

My learning disability has certainly taken its tole on my confidence as a student and as an individual. The effect of my disability on my life, is why I claim that although having a learning disability is not something to be frowned on, it does lower a individuals perception of themselves ( self esteem). A learning disability is a neurological disorder. In simple terms, a learning disability results from a difference in the way a individual's brain is "wired.”1 The idea of a learning disability first came about in 1877 when a German neurologist Adolf Kussamaul discovered them.2 However, despite his discovery, many people still believed that the reason their children were not performing in school was due to a lack of interest in classes as well as sheer laziness. It was not until 1969 when the United States congress passed the “ Children with specific learning disabilities act.” This act passed by the United States congress strengthened Kussamaul’s findings about learning disabilities, by giving them political legitimacy ( government backing), thus allowing people all around the United States to acknowledge the idea that learning

WETA. "What Is a Learning Disability?" Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, n.d. Web. 7 Apr. 2013. . 1 2

IBID

Lodhi 3 disabilities do exist and that they are a possible cause to why a student may perform poorly in school. Since the discovery of learning disabilities in 1877, neurologists and psychologists have learned not only more about what a learning disability is and how to treat it, but also how it effects an individuals self esteem. More specifically they have discovered the effects of learning disabilities on the four main factors that build up this idea of self esteem ( Self Efficacy, Social Relationships, cognitive distortions and Emotional feelings). Take for example the Pygmalion Study. In this study, two researchers by the names of Robert Rosenthal and Leonore Jacobson gave eighteen classes of students ( from kindergarden to sixth grade) an intelligence test so that the researchers could see if there was a development during the year in which they carried out the study. Then they chose 20 percent of the students at random and told the teachers that these children had the potential to be extremely smart ( but because they were randomly selected, there was no relation between the students score and the...
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