I am writing in response to Ms. Grunder's letter published in the Aug. 6 issue of the Port News. In her last paragraph she asks "what exactly does the term Learning Disabled mean? What are the specific disabilities of the 269 out of the 516 students classified as such?"
I am a graduate of Schreiber High School and a learning disabled student. Although I was declassified at the end of my sophomore year at Schreiber as one who was able to make some adjustments for my disability, I will always be learning disabled and would like to try to answer Ms. Grunder's question.
A learning disabled person is one who processes information differently. Every person who is classified as learning disabled has specific areas in which they process information differently from the "norm." For example, I have difficulty in math, spelling, organization and conceptualization. I do very well, however, in reading and writing. A person who is classified as learning disabled with Attention Deficit Disorder may not be able to pay attention in a normal classroom setting, which inhibits their ability to absorb the information taught. A person who is dyslexic does not see written language correctly and has problems reading.
Nevertheless, with instruction, learning disabilities can be compensated for and the student can function and, more importantly, excel in a classroom setting. This is why I find Ms. Grunder's implication that learning disabled students should be designated to jobs such as "plumbers" and "carpenters" rather insulting. While I agree that we, as a society could not function without tradespeople, students should be given the opportunity to attain any goal they set for themselves. If a student wishes to become a carpenter and has the skills and ability to do so, that is wonderful, regardless of any learning disability. However, if a student who happens to be learning disabled wants to enter a career in which higher education is required, they should be encouraged as well.
Without the assistance that I received from the Port Washington School District, I would not have learned how to compensate for my disabilities and I would not be a dean's list student at Molloy College. I am one learning disabled student who is glad that I was encouraged to enter college, for without a bachelor of science in nursing which I am seeking, I would not be able to fulfill my dreams.