As I begin this final entry, I reflect on the past several months and what I’m taking away from this experience. I always pride myself in being someone that tries to consider that everyone has their own perspectives, each person is entitled to their way of looking at things and that we should always consider individuals and their differences as a positive contribution to our world. And yet how often do we say that we are accepting only to find that our subconscious doesn’t always allow us to be?
This class has truly caused me to pause and reflect on my own actions, responses and assumptions. While I live and interact with someone that has ADD every day, I’m not sure that I can honestly say that I have taken the time to walk in their shoes or consider what it may mean for them when they are out of school. More importantly however, I have found myself considering the way that I interact with others in the workplace as well. Considering how invisible a learning disability can be, I cannot help but wonder how often I have come across someone with a difficulty or difference and not realized it. How often have I asked someone to read aloud in class, to try and help create the interaction that I feel can make the class valuable for them-yet I do not consider that there may be someone among us that is terrified of this type of interaction? And if this has ever been the case, how much did I actually take away from their experience in the class as a result?
So as I end my summer session in Adult 688, I am thankful for the opportunities that I have experienced that have truly opened my mind. I have recognized the difference between a learning disability and an intellectual disability, what resources are available to individuals with disabilities, that the ADA is not the American Dental Association (at least not for this class:), that a person with a learning disability must be their own advocate, that a learning disability can create barriers and yet can also create opportunities to see things in a way most can’t, and…perhaps most importantly…that when we open our minds to the possibilities and assist individuals with learning disabilities on their journey, they can become someone that surpasses what anyone could have ever imagined for them. I can’t help but remember a famous line from the movie Dirty Dancing as I close out this line of thought, “No one puts Baby in the corner.” An individual with a learning disability should not be cast aside or considered to be someone of lesser value or worth; LD can be more than a difference. It can be a whole new world of possibilities.