Friday, November 23, 2012

From the NLA Archives--Learning Disabilities

I will be posting edited extracts and complete texts from the many listserv posts I wrote on the various adult literacy listservs from 1997-2006 or so.  This initial post is fom the original NLA list dated October 16, 1997  GD

Lloyd David writes in passing that " Most people if they have been to
school in this country and have not completed high school have a learning
disability. "

I'd like to hear more about that.

My understanding of learning disabilities in the strict clinical sense is
that there is some neurological impairment in processing or receiving
information that helps to explain the enigmatic gap "between ability and
performance" in the "absence of other primary handicapping conditions."
(Jovita M. Ross-Gordon (1989)  Adults With Learning Disabilities:  An
Overview for the Adult Educator. (ERIC, p. 3).

As I  undersdand it it is questionable to label large segments of the
population as "learning disabled" without a clinical diagnosis.

To push the issue a bit more, I would contend that  "learning
disabilities" like any other concept is more of an intellectual construct
that may have a certain heuristic value in opening new ways of looking at
experience that otherwise would be closed rather than reflecting anything
existing in "objective reality."

The concept of learning disabilities may contain a certain value if
rigorously examined, but broad categorizations about which groups do and
don't have  learning disabilities is a concern.

To be fair to Lloyd David, learning disabilities was not the main thrust
of his comments.  Still, the above passage does concern me.

George Demetrion

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