Never Say They Can’t!

Clearly there are learner variables.  And, yes, some children/persons have extensive damage to their nervous system, which makes learning new skills more difficult, and in some cases, extremely difficult!  However, the overwhelming majority of non-vocal children/persons with intellectual disabilities can learn to communicate functionally…. And, it’s never too late to begin teaching them!

If sign language is taught correctly, and with the proper intensity, even a child or adult with a profound intellectual disability and/or motor imitation difficulties, can learn to sign. Way too many children like Waleed have no functional communication skills. In other words, they cannot even ask for a glass of water when they are thirsty…..That simply shouldn’t be!

Watch a video clip of Tom and Waleed’s classmates at a school in Egypt helping him learn to request some of his favorite actions for the first time:

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2 comments on “Never Say They Can’t!

  1. William Lee Sillyman

    Dear Tom,
    I’m new to LD Online, yet I’ve joined because of two reasons.
    The first reason, I understand the point of how students with LD’s feel. I have my own learning disabilities that I have to deal with on a daily basis. When I was in school, back in the 1960’s and 70’s, not much was known about LD’s as there is today. Sutdents, if they chose to, had to find their own ways of learning how to read and write, all the while having to endure ridicule and bullying because they were not considered to be “smart.”
    The second reason, I wanted to help others. I was not encouraged by my relatives when I chose to go to college (albeit at an older age). I was told that I would never finish. Well, I did finish and now hold an Associates Degree in Criminal Justice, a Bachelor of General Studies from Drury University in Springfield, MO, and I just finished my Master of Education in Educational specialties w/emphasis in Special Education. I graduated with a 3.49 GPA.
    I have substitute taught middle and high school special education classes since 2008, and only recently had to stop for a time as in 2013 I went blind from glaucoma, yet still finished college in January of 2014. I am still learning Braille, and a few more skills for the blind. I’m doing this at 60 years of age.
    With all this, my wife and I have full custody of our oldest grandson, who has disabilities of his own. He is severely hearing impaired, has Asperger’s, ADHD/OCD, so we have our challenges, but he does very well in school, considering what he has going against him.
    I love the title, “Never say they can’t. I have told students, don’t let an LD stop you or let others tell you, you can’t do that. I have proven many people wrong, and so can they. Besides my blindness, I have dyslexia, dysgraphia and dyscalculia. I was not diagnosed until I was in my late 20’s, yet I found my won way how to work around it. It amazes people that I worked as an administrative assistant for over 20 years and can type 105 words per minute. Or, I should say I did before my eyesight failed me. I type a bit slower now, as I have to construct the words in my head and make sure I’m typing them correctly.
    I didn’t mean for this to be a tome, I just had to share my opinion on your work and how this title rang bells in my belfry. Thanks.

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