Many times as educators and as parents, when we realize our children are having difficulty in school and a learning disability is diagnosed, we become inundated with information such as screening results and the identification of a learning disability–the discrepancy between ability and achievement. We learn a lot about what is not working and what the student isn’t doing and why.
We begin working so hard to identify goals and to begin progress monitoring for IEPs and 504s that we can forget that our students with learning disabilities are people with strengths and personalities that go beyond the paperwork. We believe it is helpful to consider what our students with learning disabilities would want us to know about them.
First, students with learning differences would hate the title of this article because they would not want to be defined by their disability. They would want you to see them in the same way you see your other students…students with names, known not by what they need or what their IEP demands, but who they are as people, like Austin, who is great at video games and loves banana sandwiches or Eliza, who likes STEM challenges and Clemson Tigers football.