Last week we discussed changing our mindset from support toequipping. Without changing our mindset it can be incredibly tough forus to take on the notion of “teaching”. It is why so many children whohave a ‘label’ or ‘diagnosis’ don’t acquire many new skills throughouttheir schooling. In some people’s minds they think a diagnosis ofautism, for example, means that a child will be socially challenged sotherefore they are removed from the social world or have expectationslowered. We can only possibly achieve what is expected of us and our ownexpectations are often shaped and created by those around us. A childwith a language and communication delay or ‘disorder’ is often notexpected to learn communication readily, therefore people often speakfor these children as opposed to equipping them with the tools to talkand therefore acquire more language.
The mindset of ‘the disability IS the child’ (which is unfortunately aprominent notion) impacts a professional’s and a family’s ability totake on the notion of "teaching”, making it very tough for them toimplement ways to shape and increase language and skills.
In both Australia and the UK there is a pretty vocal population (inboth community and medical) in the disability sector that pushes thenotion that your child IS their disability and that there is no need totry and "change" them. The view is that instead you should focus on just"supporting" their needs. We all require support in different areas,but we are all made to learn every moment of every day and we all CANlearn.
If you truly believe that your child IS their disability, then youmust believe that your other child’s strengths and weaknesses ARE themtoo. For example, what about your child who is poor at math or who isfailing at English? If those weaknesses actually ARE them as a person,there would be no need for enrichment classes, no need for additionaltuition, no reason to equip a child with more math or English skills….noreal need to acquire skills in any area or go to university…. The listgoes on….
Perhaps we should all alter our mindset and expand our vision?