Labels can be beneficial in identifying learning differences and the learning challenges that may ensue as a result. You the parents really want to know WHY your child is struggling, and your student wants to know why they do not learn like “ everyone else in the class.” Furthermore, labels aid students, parents, and teachers in finding solutions to the learning deficiencies having a learning difference may bring. However, having a label can sometimes be difficult.
After going through the proper testing performed by a licensed neuropsychologist (not a school counselor; they are not qualified to make an accurate diagnosis), being properly diagnosed, and receiving the appropriate accommodations; the student is equipped to succeed! The road to success includes acknowledging and compensating for subjects that may be of difficulty. But, having a learning difference has its advantages over someone of mainstream learning. Thinking and learning differently gives the insight to approaching situations from an inventive perspective. It can make someone who learns differently more equipped for tasks that other student may not have the aptitude to perform. Unfortunately, these advantages are not always seen as such.
The double edged sword:
There may be a personal conflict for a student with a learning difference. This may include using the label as a crutch to receive sympathy or special treatment in the learning environment. Accommodations are meant to “even out the playing field” between learning different students and mainstream students to ensure that each student has the same amount of chances toward success. To have accommodations does not give learning different students an unfair advantage over mainstream students in the classroom (contrary to the belief of some), and should not be seen s such. Accommodations are solely to make success possible for ALL students.
However, even with success, having a piece of paper that tells educators that a student learns differently can be difficult, especially in higher education. Consequently, there is a potential for conflict regarding discrimination between a learning different student and an educator, and even their peers. Plain and simple; ignorance is everywhere and people (including educators of higher education) do not always understand the concept of learning differently. Still, with the proper tools, and a goal in mind, a learning different student can compensate for their shortcomings, and prove to educators, peers, and themselves that a label on a piece of paper means nothing. With anything, it is the hard work and the will to do so that produces results. At the end of the day, labels mean nothing; it is what you do with them that makes a difference. Even if it takes a student a longer amount of time to conquer, it makes the triumph that much sweeter!
So what is the first step toward success? Fortunately, on our website, we have other parents and students rating different schools that makes the first step toward success that much simpler. We are forming a community to help each other find the best schools for learning different students. By finding the best schools for dyslexia, we can help students learn really great techniques to help compensate for their learning difference.