Each of us presented one highly successful adult with learning disabilities. We were looking for the ingredients for success of a person with learning disability through the presentations and tried to make a model for successful adult with learning disabilities. I made a presentation about Chuck Close. I enjoyed this assignment much more than other assignments. It is almost always interesting to look at a person’s life, especially when the person’s life is more dramatic than others. While I was searching information about him, I was surprised with his paintings, his too many disabilities, and his life. Chuck Close has face blindness, dyslexia with numbers, very limited short-term memory as disabilities. His disabilities were more severe than other successful adults in class. His successful life story has all ingredients for success: desire, goal orientation, reframing, goodness of fit, persistence, learned creativity, and social ecologies. He knew what he wanted to be and what he was able to do. I think that he knows how to deal with people depending on circumstance and how to get friends. His innate social skill affected his self-esteem and confidence and I think that his social skill was one of main factors for his success. The last ingredient for his success is that he used his disability as an advantage in his painting. He can’t see in 3-dimention. The world which he looks at is in 2-D. He showed people his world which is in 2-D in his way. He said, “Today I do what I did yesterday, tomorrow I do what I do today. All these things are not only coping mechanism for a learning disability, they are also soothing, calming, much like what used to be called women’s work, knitting, crocheting or whatever.” This quote shows his coping mechanism but what is interesting is that he does not think that repeating the same job is not his coping mechanism. He does not see his disabilities as an disadvantage, he just thinks that he is different with others.
Chuck Close was the most interesting among the successful people with learning disabilities for me but Patricia Polacco and Diane Swonk were also very interesting.
We have read articles about social skills of adults with a learning disability. Social skills often affect success or failure in adulthood more than academic skills. I had focused on the lack of learning skills of people with learning disability and so I missed how important social skills are in school and at work.
We watched Rick Lavoie’s video about social skills with children with learning disabilities. He explained factors in “Hidden Curriculum”: how to ask help, how to ask a question, how to get started, finish on time and so on. As Lavoie said, these are not academic skills and no body teaches the factors in Hidden Curriculum. However, the factors affect not only the academic performance a lot but also everything such as a job performance, relationship, and communication with others.
Children with learning disabilities don’t learn some things that other kids learn automatically and it is hard for them to understand subtle social cues or hidden meanings. In order for them to learn social skills, they need teachers’ and parents’ support more than anything. To develop self-determination and self-esteem of children with learning disabilities is a job of parents and teachers.
“What do they know? We interviewed one who can be anyone and the other who is an employer, manager, or supervisor and presented the interviews in class.
People were not comfortable with a question “What do you think IQ scale of a person with a learning disability is” and many interviewees did not answer the question. Why did not they answer it? It was very interesting. Probably, they think that people with a learning disability have below of the average of IQ and it means that they think that a person with a learning disability is more likely to be stupid and dumb.
Many employers and managers felt sorry about not knowing about the Americans with disabilities Act (ADA). Also, their attitude toward possible employees with a learning disability was positive. However, it was wired for me that they think about hiring a person with a learning disability positively because they seem to think that a person with a learning disability is stupid. Sometimes people say some nice things but it does not mean that they are going to do them or they really think in that way.
“How difficult can a learning disability be in childhood?” The common emotions which a child with a learning disability feels are frustration, anxiety, and tension. I think that school can be the worst experience for a child with a learning disability. Children are forced to learn not in their way, but in another way that a child with a learning disability cannot make. Teachers push them to do it but they cannot make it. Obviously, children with a learning disability feel frustration, anxiety, and tension in school. These emotions might affect personality of a child with a learning disability and even their whole life. Children with a learning disability have low confidence and self-esteem because they often experience failures and they feel inferiority from the experiences.
We read and talked about some successful people with a learning disability: John Chamber, CEO of Cisco, David Boies, a celebrated trial attorney, Craig McCaw, a pioneer of the cellular industry, and Charles Schwab, the chairman of Charles Schwab Corporation. While I was reading their stories, I thought that they are very brilliant and we cannot generalize their cases into normal people with a learning disability.
Shannon who takes ADLT 688 with me said her cousin has a learning disability and gave up going to a college. I think that Shannon’s cousin is more like most people with a learning disability. Children with a learning disability have terrible experiences in school and they don’t want to be there anymore. However, the higher education is a critical factor to get a good job and people with a learning disability are more like to get a blue collar job.
Does not dyslexia affect intelligence? Actually, I think so. Reading is the biggest resource for learning at school and at work. A person with dyslexia might be more creative but probably does not have information enough about class or job because they don’t miss a big method to gather information and knowledge. The information and knowledge are based on intelligence. Fortunately, technology is developing more and more and there are many ways to get information without reading but still reading is a big method to learn.
I was surprised that Agatha Christy had dyslexia. How did she become a writer with dyslexia? Even if she says the story and someone dictates it, how could she remember all the story which she made a few day ago? A person with learning disability is sometime so genius.
We learned subtypes of learning disability: memory, attention, perception, activity, language, cognition, and organization. Also, each subtype can be divided into more specific kinds and the severity. I wonder which type of a disability affects one’s life more negatively than other types. Maybe attention or language? Attention and language disability seem to be related with social skills more than other types.
We did very interesting activities. The first one was to recognize letters “FLY”. The frame and letters were black and the background of the letters was white. We are so used to white background and black letters so it was confusing, especially for me. Other activities were sentences from the right hand side, with mirror image, and sentence with words missing some letters.
These activities let us experience dyslexia and understand how people with dyslexia feel with their learning disability. When I took English literature class, I learned Black slavery literature. The sentences were written by the sound including their accent so even though I read one story a few times, I did get what it was talking about and I almost cried.
I have a learning difficulty in English. My listening is not good enough and listening affects learning process a lot. Sometimes when I talk to a person whom I don’t know well in English, I am so nervous and make a mistake more than usual. I remember one lady which treated me like a stupid child because of my English. I did not feel good with the lady and I wanted to say, “I am not dumb. Just my English is not good enough” Probably, a person with a learning disability wants to say, “I am not stupid. I am not good at the way that you are familiar but I have another way.”
We started to define “The Midwest” Nobody said what the Midwest is exactly. By Wikipedia, the Midwest means “The region consists of 12 states in the north-central and north-eastern United States: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Actually, it was a way more to east side than I thought. The Midwest is a good example to explain a learning disability. We have the sense of that but don’t know exactly what it is. A learning disability varies the type and the severity so it is hard to define. In the class, we took a look at dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, and dyscombobulia. Dyscombobulia means inability of organizing and arranging. When I listened to dyscombobulia, I thought that I definitely have one. Depending on the severity of learning disability, we can separate LD into learning challenge, disorder, and disbehavior. Maybe, I am between challenge and disorder.
I think that anyone with any type of disability tends to feel loss as well as inability from their disability. Adults with a learning disability should not only live independently but also are in competitive circumstance at work. If they fail in the competition again and again because of their disability, it would make them frustrated. As a kid with a learning disability can’t adapt school and it results of behavior disorder at school, an adult with a learning disability would also be in troubles and they come out in different ways.
After the first three activities, I needed more activities because it is a seven week course. I read the text book again and on-line searched to make more activities. Often examples are easy to understand what to do for second language learners so I also created examples of each activity. The following are the activities: 1.Create two characters’ dialogue with the student’s own language. 2. Sign up My Fake Wall and create one character’s Facebook page. Roll play. 3. Jeopardy Game. Make answers. The classmates will create questions for the answer. 4. Choose the best scene and describe it.
It took time to make examples of the activities. Even though I read the book, in order to do the activities as an example, I had to look through the assigned chapters again. So I assume that the learners will read the text book again for the activities even though they already the chapters before the class. It will help to improve reading comprehension.
What core components are in on-line course from Consultation project, comprehensive course design issues from individual design project, and various aspects of design from case studies. These are three main things that I learned in ADLT 642.
Through case studies, I learned that eLearning design has not only technical issues but also political issues sometimes in organization. eLearning is innovative teaching methods in traditional learning environment. Innovation can bring political issues. As we discussed in class, innovation can be successful or fail depending on the way and time to bring it, and attitudes of people toward the innovation.
In adult learning, eLearning can be applied to many fields. However, each field has their own unique environment so one prototype of design does not work for every field or case. So an instructional designer should consider environment for or the characters of each case.
I learned design components from real on-line course as well as how to work collaboratively and from consultation project. My teammates were Arron and Michelle and we worked with the Virginia Adult Learning Resource Center. Even though it was a class project, we had a real client so actually it made me want tangible results and work harder. Our team did not assign the role of each member in the team but all of us were willing to work more so our presentation of the project was very successful. Through the project, I reviewed asynchronous on-line writing course and evaluation from the learners. It gave me a chance to think about learner’s perspective and saw what learns want from the course with the evaluation.
My individual design project was an ESL reading class. Actually, I love a textbook,”To kill a mockingbird” so I would like to have students know how much the book is great. What I concern the most was how to make learners engaged and more interactive. Reading class is easy to be boring even in face-to-face class. Furthermore, this on-line class is asynchronous so it is hard to communicate among students or between an instructor and students. The way I made the class more interactive was activities. With diverse activities, an instructor does not have to explain the book. So the job of the instructor as a facilitator asks good questions and just let students think and talk about the answers. One more thing I focused on was to make connection between activities and assessment. Activities were a main portion of the class so it should be directly connected with assessment. So I tried to make activities as a formative assessment.
We read and discussed a lot of articles for theories in ADLT 642. From case studies, I learned more practical and applicable information. Through the consultation project, I saw how theories and information were applied to on-line course. The individual design project was what I synthesized all things that I learned in ADLT642.