There are no normal children.
Show me a normal child, and I will show you a child who has areas in which he/she excels and areas in which he/she would benefit from modifications or additional help or tutoring.
Are there children with high IQ, low IQ, and average IQ? Yes. But I would ask what intelligences are being tested/measured of the many possible types of intelligence? And tested by whom and with what assessment tool? And tested under what conditions?
Though Dr. Linda K. Silverman talks about the value of assessments and assessment tools, in her book Upside-Down Brilliance: The Visual-Spatial Learner, she says “Each child is different. Each one needs to be seen within the context of his or her family history, life experiences, strengths and weaknesses, passions and frustrations, to determine if learning differences are actually learning disabilities” (p. 165).
In order for all children of differing learning styles and differing strengths to succeed in a limited environment like a typical classroom, those for whom the classroom and method of instruction are not designed may need a diagnosis in order to get them the services and assistance to be successful in that environment.
Imagine if someone had designed the public school system around the musically gifted? Or, what about a school system designed around the Visual-spatial Learner or the right-hemispheric learner? Those of us not wired that way would need to be labeled learning disabled in order to receive modified assignments or therapy or at least tutoring to help us succeed in that unfamiliar, uncomfortable, or ill-suited environment.
I believe that testing and assessment is actually a good tool to help children be successful in a classroom environment. However, parents and teachers need to help children recognize, understand, utilize, and value their strengths, not just understand their weaknesses and how to compensate for them.
If you would like to read about the various kinds of intelligence, check out:
If you would like to read more about Visual-Spatial Learners and right-brained learners, check out:
- 0June 13, 2011Moving Education from Potential to Kinetic: Helping Right-brain Learners and Others who learn differently