Since working in the field of special education, I have often found myself almost compulsively drawn to hear the individual stories of families with children who struggle with a learning disability.
Perhaps that is because I have seen these struggles up close and personal, or maybe it is just a part of my personality. Whatever the reason, I think hearing the personal side of anyone’s story helps to build compassion and empathy for those struggling to navigate their way through life.
As I reflect on those stories that were the most impactful, I recall two very powerful memoirs that have been difficult to forget. The first book I read after my daughter was diagnosed with a learning disability, which was probably not the wisest choice at such an emotional time but was also validating in a ‘someone else has been there’ kind of way, was My Thirteenth Winter by Samantha Abeel. Samantha’s journey with understanding and navigating her learning disability was moving and inspiring.
Also powerful, but in a completely different vein, was Positive: A Memoir by Paige Rawl. Paige’s story was not related so much to a learning disability, but her exposure to discrimination and intense bullying due to an illness beyond her control. Her story was both moving and infuriating but, because of her experiences, Paige found a positive path and became instrumental in framing anti-bullying legislation in the state of Indiana that helps protect all individuals with disabilities.
Most recently, my reading has included books by a dynamic presenter and author Jonathan Mooney. His The Short Bus: A Journey Beyond Normal and Normal Sucks: Learning to Live, Learn, and Thrive Outside the Lines were relatable, educational, and entertaining. One of the things I especially love about reading is being able to share my favorites with others. One way Springer School and Center is encouraging community reflection is through hosting a book club. For our inaugural book club we will be sharing our thoughts on Jonathan’s book The Short Bus: A Journey Beyond Normal. And following this, we are excited to be hosting a presentation by Jonathan Mooney, himself. If you’d like to learn more about the upcoming events or register for the book club or Jonathan’s presentation on October 1, 2020, check out Springer School and Center’s workshop page on our website.
Blogger Lisa Bruns, M.Ed., Special Education, shares her expertise of students with learning disabilities. As a special educator, she has expert knowledge of interventions and accommodations that students may need to succeed in and out of the classroom. If you have questions, please contact Center Director Lisa Bruns at .