Students with learning disabilities have always been present in our school settings. Unfortunately for many, many years it was an "invisible condition" that was not supported by educators and parents. No doubt little was known about why a child had a reading disability, now known as being dyslexic; or a writing disability now labeled dysgraphic. Many children even suffered from dyscalculia, a math disability. But think about the many years of frustration and embarrassment so many students have suffered from such learning disabilities in silence and pain. I believe the vast majority of those suffering manifest a combination of academic and socio-emotional characteristics. There seems to be a stereotype that has really been in place for many generations and as a result, low self-esteem and self confidence among those affected by any or all learning disabilities.
A shining example is portrayed of how an academically challenging prep school undertook a challenge of another sort. Horace Mann School, in Riverdale, New York, with its rigorous curriculum tailored to very gifted students realized through the years, that there were a growing number of students attending who had learning disabilities. This was in large part due to one of the writers of the article being previewed, Theresa Peduto. Peduto enrolled her seventh grade son, who suffered, no doubt, silently, from all three disabilities described above. This young boy was accepted at the Horace Mann School, but Peduto, as a condition of accepting his enrollment, requested that her son be allowed extra time on tests, and that he be allowed to use a laptop computer and a calculator. This, of course, sparked interest among the students at school and the faculty as well. After confiding with his fellow students, that he had a learning disability and that is why he needed these items, other students began confiding that they, too, were learning disabled. However, their families had chosen to conceal the...
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