I have come across one of Rick Lavoie’s fantastic workshops, a Learning Disabilities (LD) specialist. The workshop is called How difficult can this be? The F.A.T. City Workshop, the acronym standing for “Frustration, Anxiety and Tension”. In this amazing workshop, Rick Lavoie help educators and parents understand what it is be suffering from a learning disability. Through practical exercises, participants are thrown into the shoes of a learning disabled child, and can experience first hand the frustration, anxiety and tension that constitutes their common days in school.
Here are some videos showing some selected moments of this great workshop.
Pay attention at how fast he speaks in this piece. This shows how fast it feels for learning disabled children when the teacher speaks normally. He then explains about why it’s hard to take risks in these conditions:
On this piece about reading comprehension, Lavoie outlines how teachers assume that a kid will understand what he reads if he understand every words – and how wrong this assumption is:
On this piece, Lavoie explains the difference between p, d, q and b – spacial orientation and dyslexia. Participants are run through a challenging attempt at reading and decoding just like a learning disabled child:
It’s all about perception. This piece shows how frustrating it is when an LD child has no idea what he sees, because he lacks the context. He also demonstrates how pointless it is to attempt to punish or bribe an LD student who simply cannot accomplish the task, or blame the victim, instead of actually helping them:
This video shows why it’s difficult for LD children to answer questions: they are still processing the question while other students are already processing the answer. More importantly, he offers some creative solutions for teachers to help integrate LD children in a regular class:
Finally, this piece explains why it is critical to treat LD children differently from other children, since there needs are different. Fairness is about meeting everyone needs, not about being “equal” for everyone: