Toastmasters Project 8 : Get Comfortable with Visual Aids
Speech Title : LD by Naina Jairaj
When I was in class two, I had to learn tables up to twenty. With great difficulty I learnt till five. Then I went straight to tables 10 & 11. Great achievement! That’s it, and no more. All the efforts from my Math teacher went useless. I found numbers as my enemies. Like in the movie ‘Tare zameen par’, numbers used to come alive and used to do rumba zumba dance. What was wrong with me? Was I dumb? Did I suffer of some mental illness that I found difficult to learn Mathematics? I had LD.
What is LD?
LD is LEARNING DISABILITY in children. One child out of every five has learning disability. Learning Disability is not to be confused with autism, intellectual disability or behavioral disorders. The children with LD have significant learning problems in reading, writing, spelling, reasoning and calculating.
I am presenting two students of mine with Learning Disability :
Aditi is adorable and bubbly with twinkling eyes and a smile that melts one’s heart. After few weeks I thought something is not right. She was not able to follow my teaching. I assumed that she is a slow learner. It was the first Unit Test. I didn’t know how to react to her paper. It looked like she gathered all the letters and threw them randomly on the paper where they settled. The jumbled letters made no sense. I approached the school councilor who already knew her. She informed me that Aditi with Learning Disability. The lessons became tougher and Aditi became more and more withdrawn. She rarely smiled. I was anxious how to help her. During one of the classes I noticed her doodling idly. Then it struck me that through art I can teach her. I asked her to draw an apple which she did enthusiastically. I told her apple is manzana in Spanish. She coloured the apple red and I taught her that it is a manzana roja – a red apple. She slowly started to learn many words. I was happy to bring back that angelic smile on her face.
Rohan is my art student. He is hefty and double of my height. He is restless and an attention seeker. If I spot him in the first row, after sometime he is somewhere in the back row and then not to be found anywhere in the class. He slips away quietly. Usually he disturbs the class with jokes in loud voice bringing ripple of laughter from the entire class. The teachers had given up on him as he fared poor in academics too. But I wanted to give him a let out for his high energy. One day I provided him a paper and pencil as he never brings art materials and asked him to draw anything. After a bit of coaxing he settled down to draw. I was amazed to see his sketch – a sketch of a car. It was perfect and beautiful. He looked at my expression, grinned and said that it a Jaguar. From then in each class he drew different types of cars and educated me as well.
Art in any form – dance, music, and painting is effective for learning disability. Art serves as therapy. Art therapy can prove very effective for Learning Disability. It is a practical therapy for self – expression, self – awareness & communication.
Can Learning Disability be cured? LD is not a disease to be cured. Children with LD are as smart as or smarter than the rest if the students. These children can succeed in school and will be successful with distinguished careers in life.
These are few celebrities who had Learning Disability.
We as parents, teachers and society let us identify the child’s gifts and talents..They need love and understanding. Let us change our attitude of measuring success through academics only. Let us redefine success beyond school, beyond books and beyond marks.