I have been involved with teaching art to both “normal” and
"special" audiences for over 20 years, have certification in teaching
art to “special” kids, and have a “special” kid, and can assure you
that there are LOTS of folks out there with undiagnosed disabilites!
It is a real shame, as it quite often has major negative
repurcussions. Folks who have learning disabilities that are not
diagnosed may never figure out how to “work around” the way their
I agree with Gerry - you don’t say “I can’t do this”. You say “how
can I do this”. Then you figure out a strategy to make it work for
you. But if you don’t know you have a particular problem, then what
happens is the person winds up feeling stupid, or klutzy, or
inadequate, and quite often angry and aggressive. I know with my
daughter she became extremely angry and antagonistic, started
shutting folks out and quit even trying in school. We finally pulled
her out and started homeschooling, and it took me over a year to undo
the damage and get my sweet, intelligent, intellectually curious
child back. She is now in a college prep as an honor student,
at/below grade level in English where her disability is strongest,
above grade level in math and science where it is weakest. I have
always taught her that she CAN do things, and do them well - we just
have to figure out how. I have insisted that SHE do them, not me do
them for her. BIG difference! There is another girl in her class
with about the same issues, but her parents coddled and protected
her, did FOR her, the result being that while she is a very bright
child, she has no clue how to do much of anything for herself, no
drive, no self-confidence, nothing. They didn’t help her by doing
FOR her, they hurt her!
So if you notice a pattern in what you do, or how you respond, you
may well have an undiagnosed disability - you are NOT stupid!!!
Figure out what works for you, and do it that way - don’t worry if
it isn’t “the” way!
And yes, quite often both folks with learning disabilities and with
learning styles that aren’t used/reached in the school system
gravitate to the arts as it gives them more freedom to do things
their way, and learn things their way, at their speed. It makes me
want to cry when I see a child blossom during a residency, only to
have the teacher say “well, its the FIRST time he (usually, but not
always, he) has EVER done a good job!” GRRRRRRRR! They have
labelled the kid, decided he can’t do, and therefore most of the time
he will live down to their expectations and NOT do! They also don’t
want to be bothered trying a different approach or way of teaching -
god forbid the problem should be in the teacher!
Sorry - sore spot for me, big time! Too many people assume if
someone has a disablitity, physical or learning, then they are
"stupid", not creative, not capable. Absolutely NOT true!
May we all become the best WE can become!
Beth in SC who is ready for spring to come