Advocacy

Dawn J. Mitchell and Nicole Brown

1. ) First of all, students with learning differences would hate the title of this blog post because they would not want to be defined by their disability.  They would want you to see them in the same way you see your other students...students with names, known not by what they need or what their IEP demands, but who they are as people like Austin who is great at video games and loves banana sandwiches or Eliza who likes STEM challenges and Clemson Tiger football.  Our students with special needs are more than their disabilities. They have personalities and specific interests, gifts they already have to give to the world, and gifts they have yet to unpack within them.   Labels do not  promote growth, supportive instruction does, opportunities for growth does, and most of all a supportive teacher who refuses to give up on their success does.   All students, especially students with learning disabilities have unique strengths that can be enhanced and areas of weakness that can show growth.  Students with learning disabilities are not defined by them.  We recently read the powerful book, Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt and were struck by this quote found on page 95.  There is so much more to our students than the labels we use to define their disability.