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This is a good time to be a student who learns differently. There is a heightened public awareness both in and out of school of the nature of perceptual problems that are internal rather than external. Most public educational school systems have developed some sort of program to teach the learning-differently student. The rest are following suit.


New physical testing methods, including genetic testing, plus new assessment procedures, have been and are being developed to help in the early identification of students who learn differently.


Multisensory teaching techniques that make use of sight, sound, touch and color are being integrated into the mainstream teaching techniques at all levels.


Technology continues to make the demands of written communication easier both in the classroom and in the workplace. Voice-activated computers are already here. The Internet provides access to the latest information on methods and strategies.




  1. A time will come when all children will automatically be assessed before they enter elementary school, if not at birth. Then they can be helped right away, so that they need never hear words like "Pay attention! I know you can do it. You're just not trying hard enough." Or, "You're thick, you're dumb, you're lazy, you're stupid." Teachers won't have to say, "She's bright enough, follows along very well in class, but we're going to have to fail her because she can't do the written work."

  2. A time will come when students who learn differently will have their own networking groups where they can share learning techniques and express their common concerns. Sometimes it's hard to be different alone. But being different together might not be so bad.

  3. A time will come when not only parents and teachers will know how to teach learning-differently students, but the other students in the class will also learn what learning differently is all about and in the process learn more about themselves as well as about their friends. Then no one should have to ask "Why does she get more time to take the test?" Or, "Why are his notes handed to him?" They ask these questions now because they instinctively know that often the learning-differently student is as smart, if not smarter than themselves. So why the special treatment?

    As Richard Lavoie so effectively demonstrates in his excellent workshop, How Difficult Can This Be?, "Being fair doesn't mean that everyone gets the same thing. Being fair means that everyone gets what they need."

  4. A time will come when there will be a bill of rights for the learning-differently student, although actually one already exists. According to the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child that came out in 1989, "Each child has the right to an education." But this could be rewritten a bit to state that, "All children have the right to be educated in a manner appropriate to their style of learning."

  5. A time will come when employers will especially seek out learning-differently students for jobs where inventive, creative minds are needed or where spatial awareness is an important factor. Computers with their grammar and spell checks are creating a level playing field, and we will see our learning-differently students being able to compete, learn, and earn, with the best of them.




The work of the Students Who Learn Differently Overseas is ongoing. You are invited contact the author, Susan van Alsenoy, with any suggestions and/or questions ( Especially welcome are suggested additions and/or deletions to the Resource Materials, along with personal evaluations of the material.




Students Who Learn Differently Overseas

by Susan van Alsenoy, AWC Antwerp


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Page created 10/29/99 EvE. Last updated 03/01/11 SvA


Federation of American Women's Clubs Overseas


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