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Extra info for Exceptional Life Journeys. Stories of Childhood Disorder
As I reflected on my childhood, I realized that I recalled very little of it. Even though I grew up in a small town, I’d forgotten names and events. As a young child, my fondest memories were of living on a farm we had rented for about a year. ” Once school started, things began to change. … My first day of school, I remember my mother walking me into the classroom, where I was allowed to pick my own seat. Like a self-conscious, timid mouse, I quickly chose the closest seat. It was behind a girl with beautiful, long, golden blonde hair; I could hardly resist touching it, as she sat in front of me.
This made a difference for all of us. The teacher knew she could come to me for help, my son was happy to go to school, and I felt like I was looked at as a resource and a help, rather than as a problem. Third grade was an enormously important year. The second-grade teacher carefully placed my son with a teacher who had a sense of humor and the intellect and resources to deal with such a child. This new teacher promptly referred my son to a community resource center that helps students who have difficulties in school settings.
It is not an either/or (culture/brain) but a both/and. Instead of brain disorders, I think it is more effective to talk about brain differences. Instead of regarding large portions of the public as suffering from deficit, disease, or dysfunction in their mental processing, neurological diversity suggests that we instead speak about differences in cognitive functioning. Just as we talk about cultural diversity, one can use that same kind of thinking in talking about brain differences. ” Similarly, we ought not to pathologize individuals who have different ways of thinking, relating, attending, and learning.