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Me with nothin to say, and you in your autumn sweater...

Since I think I'm the one who gets the most spastic about these things,

does anyone know ANYTHING about learning disorders? Maybe we could turn this nifty lil blogeroo into a forum where we can compile any knowledge we might have.


Going off-topic already, but your blog title should be our group title!

Oh yeah, we have to figure out a better panel title soon. Perhaps song lyrics ARE the way to go..

Next topic: students with down syndrome (d.s.). Well, it's more like one: I've met a student who had d.s. (last spring), but I'm not sure how often this occurs.

The assignment was for some 1xxx course (maybe comp) and dealt with describing how music enhances a movie scene of the student's choice. The student told me that he had visited the Center before (he had been there a few weeks prior) and appreciated how help. He was upfront and said that because of his condition, he had a tough time focusing.

We read through the paper. Now he seemed to be falling into the typical trap that most people fall into: he was doing a lot of description of the scene/music but wasn't describing how the two were interacting (so summarizing and not really analyzing). So, we spent time talking about how music affects the scene. It was tricky in that I really had to make my questions simple to help keep him focused. Plus, I understood that I couldn't wait him out for a response, so if he was having a tough time with a question, I'd ask again in a (hopefully) clearer way.

It was also tricky when talking about citations: he was hesitant to describe the specific sounds e.g. violins, drums, etc. because he thought he'd need to cite that. I explained that unless he was specifically saying "there were 34 violins and 10 trumpets" (something that you had to look up) it was ok to just say the drums/violins created a certain effect. Still, he didn't seem put at ease, but I didn't push it.

So again, not sure if there's anything prescriptive I can say. I don't feel that I needed to "dumb down" my tutoring at all, but I definitely knew that things had to go at a slow and steady pace. Patience again mattered. Meeting the assignment was per usual the goal.

Oh, a quick note: I have worked with students who were dyslexic, and they were up front about it. I can't recall the specifics of those sessions (1 or 2, no more than 3), but generally the sessions went alright (nothing bad is coming to mind). I think I may have done more editing in those sessions, but otherwise I don't feel my style/how I conducted the session changed much. Well, I was nervous at first, but things worked out.

Hopefully these posts have been helpful (been awhile since I've talked about them). Ha, I'll try and field questions if you like.

hmm...I did a post on deaf students, but that didn't come up...

Like Adam and others, I think my experiences working with students who self-identified as having a physical or learning disability (whether dyslexic, having cerebal palsy, having had a brain injury, being deaf, etc.) have been moments when I've been made very self-aware about my usual consulting practices and preferences (talking fast, jumping from idea to idea, asking lots of questions) and pushed me to consider how those practices may or may not be beneficial to my consultee. Looking back, I bet I was more uncomfortable than the consultee, who is used to things not necessarily being "easy" or "appropriate"--having been frustrated by non-accommodations before. It makes me think about Jenna's research on how consultants adapt while remaining true to some basic principles. Working with students with disabilities makes me wonder what is method and what is principle in my consulting.