As a school guidance counsellor and former teacher I have worked with hundreds of children with learning disorders/ disabilities. Too often when working with these children it is easy to focus attention on what they struggle to do or can’t do trying to find ways to “fix” the problems or difficulties.
I invite you to shift this mindset from a problem focused one to a strength focused one.
Dr Sheldon Horowitz from National Center for Learning Disabilities refers to the neurodiversity of students with learning disabilities, focusing on the “pockets of strength” underlying each disorder, in the YouTube video below. This encourages a shift from focusing on the disorder to responding to the different type of order each category presents.
Summary of Pocket of Strengths:
Dr Sheldon Horowitz focuses on the following strengths as part of the package of characteristics for students experiencing different disabilities. Remembering that all students are unique in their own right the following information should be viewed as observed tendencies.
Table outlining characteristics of different disorders that can be viewed as strengths:
Where to from here?
It is interesting to note that the students’ characteristics have not changed since the beginning of the post. However, our perception of them may have – viewing them as unique strengths that can be used as opportunities for growth rather than roadblocks to learning.
A shift in OUR mindset provides us a whole new way of thinking about the child and how best to support them.
Shift the focus from: