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An Educational Connundrum

I just read this article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, titled "My 'Little' Professor."

I can't stop thinking about this boy and his plight. I don't know if he realizes what an outsider he is - or if that is a shield the syndrome protects him from. I have no concept of what his life will become as he moves beyond elementary school into the increasingly socially-driven aspects of education.

Though while teachers will spend hours working with him and others like him (as they well should!), there are hundreds upon thousands of students getting lost in a No Child Left Behind system. Students with no measurable differences except their desire to learn in a society that treats "smart" like a dirty word. I long for the day when I can help make that disparity disappear.

I don't want to leave the impression that those with Asperger's or other learning differences are stealing all the attention. It is, in fact, so horribly the opposite. Spectrum disorders are just now becoming diagnosed. In all the hullabaloo about vaccines and autism (created by those who see both rates rising equally), people are forgetting that there have been great advances in autism awareness helping children who need it get the attention they need, accounting for the increased numbers in diagnoses.

But whether you learn fast, slow, kinesthetically, verbally or visually; whether you are a social butterfly or library hermit; whether you can run and scream on a soccer field or blow audiences away with a musical recital; all these children deserve individual attention and education. In other words, let's really not leave children behind their potential just because it is easier to play to the mean, median, or mode.

It is a challenge I send out to the world not knowing the solution, but optimistic that a smarter person than I will meet it.

Always, ~Heather