Does anybody else ever get words, or in my case, sounds stuck in their head??? I've been walking around campus for the past three weeks, swear to god, saying "boop!" in my head. Am I crazy?? Anyone know how to get rid of this brainworm?
Julie Neff's article about learning disabilities left me feeling...unsettled. I don't know if it's just the way I tend to read these articles, but most of the time after I read this theory I go crazy trying to think of answers for all of the questions they raise. They always seem to be missing bits...important bits that could lead to the MEANING OF ALL WRITING CENTER THEORY! After reading Neff's article and thinking about it for awhile, I've realized that I can't decide wherein the problem lies: with the article, or the fact that I don't yet know enough about C4W's policies. Still, I think Neff (I keep wanting to refer to her as a "him," solely because I keep thinking that the name is "Jeff") wrote this article with a gaping hole. There. I said it.
Sure, there's the intro of the article, then the "What is a Learning Disability?"/"What Do We Know about the Brain?"/"How Does This Theory Help Us Understand a Learning Disability?"/"Misconceptions about Learning Disabilities" background bit. Then, it jumps right into the case study. Which is fine. Neff gives great background into explaining what otherwise could be an inexplicable situation, "Barb had not yet used language which 'uncovered' the images before her eyes to build and access the images that would allow her to drive safely." In fact, I found the background on the learning disability fascinating. However, Neff makes it sound throughout the entire time that this is just ONE out of myriad learning disabilities, and god help us if we don't know how to deal with each one. I know that it's not her job to teach us each specific disability, but vague ideas like "...they need more specific help than other students." or "...students who are dyslexic and students who are spatially imparied may demonstrate many of the same problems..." make me focus on when that isn't the case. How are we supposed to really gain anything from such underdeveloped statements?? I understand that this case study only allowed for a deeper look into just Barb's experiences in the writing center, but in that case, it would almost be better to not attempt to mention any other sorts of learning disabilites--it seems, from Neff's writing, that there are too many in existence to go into any more depth. The differences between formats of consultations is equally as vague. "Self-cuing"? Are we supposed to know what that refers to and be able to implement it in a session?? Hope not.
Those ambiguities are just part of the gaping hole. I think the case study should've included more background information, specifically, on how a writing center prepares for situations like this. Besides reading this article, how are we as consultants supposed to deal with this new imformation? How would the time between the appointment being made and the consultation be spent? Would the consultant google the learning disability and quickly learn how they might direct the session differently? Or rather, would the consultant (or anyone in the writing center, for that matter) ever be notified that a student has a learning disability? And does this depend on what the specific disability is? If all I want to do is have a successful consultation by helping the student, what am I supposed to have learned from this article???
Kirsten, what's the protocol for consulting with students who have learning disabilities in our center? Obviously, they should be treated the same way as all of our other students, but then...where does that rule change? Or does it?