Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The anti-anti-Romantic child bias

More from Patricia Gilman's The Anti-Romantic Child:

Over and over again, I've found that even ostensibly supportive and sympathetic advocates for special-needs children subtly privilege some minds, some learning styles, some disabilities over others. In particular, in depreciating rote learning, esoteric obserssions, and memorization, they favor the dyslexic over the hyperlexic mind.
I'd never before thought of my right-brain vs. left-brain dichotomy, and the bias against left-brainers, in terms of dyslexia vs. hyperlexia, but Gilman's discussion rings true. She quotes dyslexia expert Sally Shaywitz describes dyslexia as "an island of weakness in a sea of strengths," associated "in many cases... with an ability to solve problems in original ways, to think not rotely but intuitively and holistically."

"In contrast to this," Gilman writes, "the implication in almost everything I'd read, from Web sites to academic articles, was that hyperlexia is an island of strength in a sea of weaknesses."

So, too, with "book smarts," "mere calculation" skills, "reductionist" science and engineering skills, and any other number of left-brain talents. All in all, not just islands, but an archipelago of Macronesian proportions.

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