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I was a school nurse for 16 yrs. I concluded the students shouldn't be labelled learning disabled. The teachers should become learning enablers; working with each child's gifts.

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There are some extreme conditions worth labeling. The blind, deaf, some who suffer genetic conditions, and so on, and who need a different program implicitly.

But I agree with you to the extent that we dramatically overlabel and the result is confusing and harmful to many. What we need is less standardized class time and more mentoring time. That leaps past most of the things we might call disabilities....some of which are as silly as, "This boy does better in an environment in which he can physically move around more frequently."

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Short version: you seem to be well on top of any problems and fully aware that defining something as a problem is often what makes it a problem in the firsts place. If I was to offer any advice (criticism, encouragement, pick you poison if you know what I mean) it would be this, from personal experience: don't be too hard on yourself. Gnothi seauton, as they said back then, and you clearly do.

Rant about teching, education and attitudes of same re: disabilities and whatnots:

Main thing what we have done wrong (we meaning me and other teachers as a collective) is rather than apporaching disabilities and whatnot as something to overcome as far as possible (a "be all you can be"-attitude so to speak), our school systems have instead opted for lowering of bars, expectations and hurdles.

The reasons are as many as there are systems for education (and especially the financing thereof) but I think that having as a teacher an attitude of not lowering the bar, not easing the way but instead as you call it mentoring (I'd say "same strategy as when leading a pig" but people today are to urban to know what that means) and encouraging the "if at first you don't succeed, try and try again" paired with "do or do not", meaning go for it for real, or choose not to but don't make excuses.

I can actually use myself as an example here: currently my left arm (me being a redheaded freckled southpaw meant I had to sit at the back of the classroom, our teacher in the junior grades sorting us according to her own arbitrary standards - it's actually an experience I'd rather have than miss, really, since it taught me the difference between discriminating as in making rational choices and discriminating on emotional irrational grounds) is suffering from a nerve in my neck/shoulder being damaged. This means I have to chop firewood with my "wrong hand", not something you' do by choice if you like having fingers and intact legs.

But the firewood must be chopped and stacked before Midsummer, otherwise it won't finish drying out and if it doesn't then I can't use it to heat the house in winter (soggy wood cakes the chimney with soot and tar, making it a fire hazard extra-ordinaire). So, am I going to sit on my ass and demand someone else does it for me, me being disabled (virtually half-blind, partially deaf, tinnitus, busted back, busted knee and now the arm on top) or am I going to man up, igure out a way t do it and get it done?

That's the attitude a teacher must import to all students, but especially those being indoctrinated with "Oh you have such-and-such a diagnosis, that means you can't/have trouble to...". Honestly? F*ck that attitude! You can! I can! Let's do it! is the right attitude. So your scholiosis is a pain in the neck, literally? Adapt and overcome. Work around it. Overpower it.

Doesn't mean it is easy. Dropping from 105 kilos to 90 kilos in one year wasn't easy either. Being 50+ and putting in 4 hour passes of gym lifting more than 70tons total each pass, 4 days per week wasn't easy. Giving up is easy. Blaming someone else is easy.

Accepting that learning means repetition 'til the brain seeps out the nose is hard, but repetition is the only eay the brain learns anything - guess what a brain what can get the same rewards for less and less effort learns? How to manipulate it's surroundings into making everything easier for it. Until the brain graduates and takes the body out into the real world beyond the insitution and controlled environment of the school system, and discovers that nopers, reality does not have to conform one iota to anyone's -isms, creeds or diagnoses.

Evolution and nature plays no favourites, and competing means some of us must lose. Aternative is a system without competition and therefore no evolution, adaptation or improvement.

Rant over, thanks for setting the old noggin' a-buzz!

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Yep. As homeschooling mama to a kiddo w/ learning quirks, my job is to figure out how to teach HIM, to help HIM learn. I've told him more than once that if he isn't understanding something, then it's ok and that just means I need to figure out a different way to explain it.

Not that that figuring out a different way is always easy..... but, that's my job.

I told him today that I've noticed that although sometimes it takes him longer to grasp something, once he has it, he usually has it. He isn't the sort of kid who needs/wants dozens of worksheets to keep practicing.

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Mathew, you have successfully identified mechanisms and systems to overcome these obstacles and accomplish many important contributions. Thank you for sharing your struggles. My admiration has increased.

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May 31, 2022·edited May 31, 2022Liked by Mathew Crawford

He has dyslexia too, the man who developed the world's first automated heart defibrillator unit (chief engineer at Physio at the time, with many patents), a friend of mine, he doesn't read or write very much, great difficulty.

Interesting story, he showed me the high voltage switch he invented for those units that was working over time without any errors. Regulators thought there was something wrong with the hardware internal auditing since all of the competing units out there had errors being reported on their switches in the field. Turned out it just always does the right thing.

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May 31, 2022Liked by Mathew Crawford

You've been special to me throughout - your articles are a joy! If I wasn't so flat broke I would pay for your subscription ahead of any other.

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May 31, 2022·edited May 31, 2022Author

Thank you. I'm glad this material has been appreciated.

I gave you a comp for a little while in case you want to read the handful of gated articles.

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May 31, 2022Liked by Mathew Crawford

What a kind gesture! Thanks!

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May 31, 2022Liked by Mathew Crawford

Thanks, Matt. I have always had issues scanning for something. When I am told “go grab ___ in the supply room” both while working at a coffee shop as a teenager or now as a nurse, takes me FOREVER. I am a slow learner and reader, but I design habits and organize systems which make me faster in the long run. Like writing my grocery lists automatically on paper where they are located in the store like a map. I don’t have your other savant like compensatory skills, but I can relate! ☺️

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May 31, 2022Liked by Mathew Crawford

What was the cult you escaped from? I hope that’s not too personal, I find your analysis and articles completely fascinating and intellectually superior to everyone else I follow (not a dig on anyone else). Thanks for all you do and those you work with. It’s so hard to believe that my fellow Americans are so deceived by all of this and it seems much more is on the way.

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It is important, but it is a very long story that will be told over many articles. The men who infiltrated it died just before the pandemic and I believe organized parts of it. That has fueled a lot of my work.

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A lovely piece of explaining of so many things.

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May 31, 2022Liked by Mathew Crawford

I don't have dyslexia and it takes me a minimum of 8 hours to properly read a scientific paper of fewer than ten pages. These things are complicated and require a detailed understanding.

Your work saves me a ton of time as you point to the problems in various articles and databases you cover and I can confirm them fairly rapidly when the data are available to me. When I don't have the source data, I trust your analyses.

Thank you for doing what you do.

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May 31, 2022Liked by Mathew Crawford

Wow! I appreciate you even more now that I have a glimpse of your personal obstacle. It’s amazing you have served up to all of us perfectly plated “meals” on crisp white linen from that rather chaotic kitchen hidden behind the swinging door. Thank You Ever So Much!

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May 31, 2022·edited May 31, 2022Liked by Mathew Crawford

I'm a really slow reader, too. I have not heard this being described as dyslexia. Although that word isn't common here (Germany) anyway, when thinking of a similar word we use that means the same, it's usually thought of as trouble with spelling.

Sometimes I read a sentence several times, or rather, parts of it, because as the unfolding of the meaning happens, I feel compelled to check back with some earlier part in the sentence (or paragraph) - whether I really got it. That's really annoying when writing a test, I often ran out of time at 80% or so, it improved a bit when starting to use ear plugs vs. the noises of all other students :D But if the prof said something important... oops.

It seems many people can just "inhale" passages of text and, with their idea of what it means, remain somewhat narrowly around what's there, take it as it is, accept it on its terms.

I can't do that, I tend to be wider "around" what's there (not to mention branching off into the jungle... Ok that always was a problem when listening, in class, too ...)

I need to somehow integrate into, or check with, a bigger picture of things, when taking in information, and I use "spacial" visual / structures / hierarchies of things thinking _a lot_ all the time, and that sort of thing is easily disrupted by outside information I didn't ask for, in the form of people talking or somtimes noise, invoking either other ideas in the head, or a spacial perception to involuntarily gauge what's going on in the surroundings (natural threat assessment?) competing with the mental images I need for a task.

I talked with some people about this concept... "verbal thinking". There seem to be people who are able (or confined?) to process things in a way where the verbal / logic processing mode is strongly "favored" (or involuntary biased to) way of perception and coming to conclusions - without, as I would say, actually "seeing what's going on"!? Lol. (that surely must invite errors such as equivocation). Although I wouldn't say I can't read when tired, as in decode words, building a picture in my mind from what the sentences say, is a lot more difficult, and also just retaining sub sections of a passage in memory to be readily available once the last important word was decoded to form an image that really fits the whole thing.

So I also am not good at live discussion of things either - the mere presence of others and an expectation of interaction kinda blocks more depth of thought, as I need to be "present" always. Kinda losing IQ points in any live discussion, argh ^^

EDIT: I also rarely look at faces when talking, which some find impolite, or some youtube body language quacks make something bad out of - but being forced to interpret visual cues from faces about their state of mind etc, is also in conflict with somewhat deeply thinking about a topic to be able to explain something.

When typing out something, I sometimes misspell words because my fingers lag behind my inner voice, which may already be at the beginning of a later word and a letter from that slips into the word I'm currently typing, lol!

I also noticed that the more experienced I become with English, my 2nd language, the more I tend to make mistakes some native speakers do, as I am farther removed from using textually memorized vocabulary, instead rather thinking in "English mode" entirely and hence spell out a phonetically matching word that has the wrong spelling. Kinda ironic. "get better to make more mistakes".

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It's interesting to hear that the dyslexia label is less applied in Germany. That's probably good. I suspect that mine is a worse than average case, but that for most cases, there is no need for a label implying "disability" or "special program/needs" because many people are just further out on a Bell curve.

What you describe about conversations in a group might be an audatory processing disorder. A number of high IQ dyslexics I've met and talked with seemed to be in the same boat. It may be one of the more common forms/problems that get grouped under the "dyslexia" umbrella.

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May 31, 2022Liked by Mathew Crawford

But honey, you're a national treasure anyway.

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Everyone is.

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Matthew, you are amazing.

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You're amazing. Everyone is amazing. It's amazing that all this biology surrounds consciousness and we figure all these crazy stuff out in completely different ways to make it work. People are just awesome.

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May 31, 2022Liked by Mathew Crawford

Thank you,so much ,Mathew,for this insight into You.

I'm old enough that the education and research system had yet to define what I have going on. I do know it's genetic, as my mom suffered worst than I do,and my son less than I do. Fading gene??

I read fast. What I often don't do is manually or vocally respond in proper order.

I recall sitting with senior English teacher,back in the Stone Age... my term paper in her hand ...and she must have known something wasn't right...

" What is this word?"

" The"

" spell it..."

" T H E" ( said vocally...it was apparently typed 'teh') as I looked at the word she was pointing to...I didn't see...

-2 for spelling, every time. She stopped at about the 12th one. I think she took pity and gave me a B.

Under stress or tiredness, I may speak backwards " That dog brown..."

Numbers are a visual nightmare. My math skills absolutely suck.

Having said all this? I definitely think differently,and my pattern recognition is incredible. Both lead me to perspectives others miss. It's been a gift,despite the learning curve.

Thank you,again. I too appreciate you - for all you are.

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"I read fast."

I am SO jealous!

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May 31, 2022Liked by Mathew Crawford

As am I of your computational abilities. Having an abysmal time with Algebra 2 put the nail in the coffin of becoming a Dr.

We do with what we have,and YOU do for the world at large ,in phenomenal fashion.

Huzzah!!!

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May 31, 2022Liked by Mathew Crawford

Mathew, I too am dyslexic and have a terrible time reading anything. I discovered that I had Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome (Irlen Syndrome) 33 years ago when my highly intelligent first grade son (IQ 140) could not learn to read like his peers. My dyslexia is not vaccine related because I have several nephews who have this condition and have never had a single vaccine. For the past 32 years I have been screening children for this condition and have referred them to the professionals who have fitted them with the colored glasses that helped them function. I have advocated in student’s ARDs at school because the school system refuses to recognize this Syndrome. I finally went to a Party City Store and purchased a pair of glasses that distort your vision. I hand the glasses to the teacher to put on and ask the teacher to read a passage in a book. They declare that it is impossible to read the passage with the weird glasses. I then say “but that is what you are asking this child to do. You would never ask a polio crippled child, in a leg brace, to run a track race with able-bodied students because you can see the student’s physical disability. Yet, you ask a dyslexic child to read like any other student because you cannot see their disability.” What you have been able to accomplish is remarkable. Thank you for sharing your story.

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Oh, man, the arrogance of some {no, not all, but many} school teachers and principals... don't even get me started. We had some similar experiences with a family member whose teachers simply believed was "complaining" and "not wanting" to do the school work. Ugh.

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May 31, 2022Liked by Mathew Crawford

For the blind echo-locators, wearing a very high frequency pinging device and headphones that translate the pings and echoes to human audio levels would allow blind people he "see" more like bats, and eliminate the need for the incessant mouth clicks. I'm sure this is being done.

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Now that you mention it, I think I've seen some sort of testing of a wearable device. Not sure though.

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Mathew, do you check your substack email? If not, can you email me how I can reach you? pdg@winternet.com.

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