DISABILITY ACCESS: Empowering Tribal Members with Disabilities & Their Families
Provided by Spirit Lake Consulting, Inc.
Learning disabilities are the most common reason for children to be in special education, both on the reservations and in the United States as a whole.
Students with learning disabilities have problems learning to read, write, speak or perform mathematical calculations. They are not mentally retarded, physically disabled or emotionally disturbed. Their learning problems are not due to living in a disadvantaged home or poor schooling. People with learning disabilities have all of the tools to learn - physically, mentally, emotionally and socially, they are perfectly normal except for the fact of not being able to learn to read, write, speak or do math in the same way that other people learn.
Learning disabilities are permanent. As Dale Brown says, "The problems that adults with learning disabilities have with their families foreshadow problems on the job. Someone who leaves possessions all over the house is bound to do the same thing with work tools unless he makes a conscious effort to change... The hammer left on the floor can cause a worker carrying expensive machinery to trip and break the equipment. A minor error made while inputting data could result in having to redo a whole job. Beyond the costs involved, these problems exasperate supervisors and coworkers and cause them extra work."
Brown also said, "Each person with learning disabilities has unique strengths and weaknesses. It is important to remember that people with learning disabilities can develop good work habits which will make them valued employees." We would add, 'and good students'.
The next several pages in this section will acquaint you with services for people with learning disabilities and how you can make sure that they work for you.
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