Blog - Are 'Normal' People Disabled?

What is Normal? ... it's a good question, I guess it means people that fit within a certain set of criteria determined by standard deviation of the mean techniques! But what a rather crude method of evaluating people? and what is the purpose of evaluating anyway? ... and who be the judge?

The actual question of the title though is not what you might at first think, it is more a question of, are Normal people more likely to be not enabled? ... In order to get under the covers of this question we have to first look at some pretty amazing and inspiring people. You have to look no further than in sport and the paralympics to see people who rise above all the odds to do the most amazing things. You could also be inspired by the Australian Nick Vujicic and whether you believe in god or not is irrelevant, Nick's purpose was revealed to him...

Now... his purpose was revealed to him... here is the crux of the message here... through a severely limited set of capabilities Nick was by the age of 15 able to focus and learn the meaning of his purpose, and once that was cracked, he has gone on to fulfil his life's purpose and you would probably agree, he is one of the happiest souls on the planet!

This brings me onto my next point. There are many people in the history of the human race who have done the most amazing things...

Inventors & Scientists
Alexander Graham Bell
Albert Einstein
Michael Faraday
Thomas Edison

Tom Cruise
Whoopi Goldberg
Keanu Reeves
Kiera Knightley
Oliver Reed
Henry Winker (the fonz)

Leonardo da Vinci
Pablo Picasso
Andy Warhol
Tommy Hilfiger
David Bailey

John Lennon

Muhammad Ali
Duncan Goodhew
Steve Redgrave

Entrepreneurs & Business Leaders
Richard Branson
Henry Ford
William Hewlett (HP)
Ingvar Kamprad (IKEA Founder)
Steven Spielberg
Walt Disney

All of the above have Dyslexia... they are all 'classed' as having learning difficulties... or to put it another way... to not learn in the same manner as most 'normal' people. Well what do you think the people above did? ... accept they were somehow inferior to 'normal' people? ... no they found out how to learn 'their way' and went about building their life doing what they loved, using the talents they had... and I'm sure you would agree we are pleased they did? ... most of them by the way would not have been diagnosed of anything in their time... there wouldn't have been a name for it back then!

Now here is another chap below... take some time out to listen to his story... Scott Sonnon talks about the 70 different learning styles and the one which we mainly use to teach in our schools. Titled, "how we suppress genius and create learning disability"

Watching this video we learn that not everyone's sensory ability is the same, many of us pick up knowledge and information through our senses differently. Like our attempts in healthcare to apply mass produced medication to a population where each individual is different, so we do the same thing in education. Everyone is bright, everyone is capable of learning... just in our modern day education system, the ones attuned to learning in the way we want to teach, do fine... the rest are consigned to the scrap heap... or labelled as academically challenged.

I know from my own experience at school... to be honest I thought much of it was all a waste of time... why did I need to know all these facts and figures from history? ... If I wanted I could look them up in an encyclopaedia... I wasn't interested enough to want to keep them in my head. In fact looking back one thing that was consistent on every single school report was "Chris does enough to get by"... why? ... because just getting by met the system's criteria? I hadn't failed according to the system. But the sad fact was I hadn't been stimulated to be the best I could be either... I had in fact failed myself, I could have done much better but the right learning methods were not being used for me... I needed another way... we never got to find out what that was in my day... perhaps I had some learning difficulty but was able to do enough... how many other people out there like that???

Nowadays young adults have access to smart phone technology, they have the information resources of the whole planet at their fingertips and yet we continue to bash away with the tired old teaching methods... and still largely ignore the fact that students need to learn in different ways!

So are 'Normal' people disabled? ... Well without any obvious physical constraints people have the world of possibilities at their feet. This presents a different kind of challenge. What on earth do I do? The world is my oyster, but what is my purpose? ... instead of us focussing on assisting people in discovering what motivates them, their passions, we continue to drill our young adults in a mind numbing way and destroy creative thinking and problem solving... and largely ignoring any possibility that some might respond to education differently if we first worked out how they learn best... in short we ought to be much better at doing education!!

One last thought... considering that there are 70 learning styles we know of... and that it is highly likely only perhaps the top 15 out of the 70 excel in the way we are taught in schools today... and that 55 out of 70 could improve their learning if we were able to establish what learning technique works best for them... interesting isn't it? ... but wouldn't that be worth at least some investigation? ... in this case almost all of us have an element of what is rather broadly labelled as Dyslexia but we never even know it! ... who out there can help us discover our learning style? ... +Corinna Shepherd


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