One of the things I found incomprehensible was why the medical model of brain injury rehab insisted on compensating strategies to cope with cognitive deficits over trying to treat the brain itself. First off, compensating strategies are piss poor ways to overcome the problems of deficits in the higher cognitive skills like reading; and second they make you feel like a diminished human being. I mean, who wants to feel like they’re studying for a university exam just to read an Agatha Christie?
And so I’m astonished, but not surprised that the Arrowsmith program, a program that treats learning disabilities rather than compensating for them, is considered controversial. Kudos to the Toronto Catholic School Board who ten years ago decided to adopt this program in order to help their students who were struggling with learning disabilities. As a result, these children were able to experience the joy of reading without endless struggle, of writing without having to use all sorts of semi-useless methods to compensate, of learning in the classroom as easily as their classmates. It is to the shame of the Toronto District School Board that only now are they considering adopting this program.
Unfortunately, the Catholic Board is considering axing it in light of their recent budget issues. But not only does this program not cost that much, but it prevents the spending of much more money to assist these children later in life, the loss of potential, the loss of esteem.
When I finally found treatment for my brain injury, treatment to restore my lost cognitive functions, treatment that worked, I felt like I’d found my sanity again. That’s when my self-confidence started to improve. That’s when my acquired fear of reading started to lose its grip on me. I suspect these children feel the same, but perhaps moreso because they’ve never experienced reading and writing as non-learning disabled children have. To the Catholic School Board, I ask that you not take that away from them, and to all school boards, I ask that you give all these children the opportunity to be treated.Technorati Tags: Arrowsmith Program, Learning Disability