When I got into first grade, my Mama quickly discovered that my way of perceiving things was different from what my teachers thought of as normal. She knew I was smart, but she also knew I would need help with academics.
Scene 2: A House with a Window
When Karen had been in kindergarten, Mama had noticed how quiet and shy she was, but now that she was in first grade she was faced with academics. Mama knew that her Kitten was smart, but she also saw that she had a problem with learning.
The conventional belief in the 1950s equated paralysis with severe learning disabilities, but a new school of thought had discovered that paralyzed children could learn, if their teachers used innovative approaches. Mama studied this new approach and believed in it. She would find out what kind of help Kitten needed, and she would fight the whole world to get it for her. She saw the issues, even if her Kitten’s teachers did not.
Mama constantly found that Karen’s perception of visual images was quite different from that of other children. She carefully made notes on her daughter’s progress, the homework that the school sent home, and on how the little girl reacted to it. But, that was not enough. She needed more proof to support her suspicions.
One afternoon, Karen’s neighbor and friend Kimberly visited. Kimberly did not have any disabilities and was progressing normally at school. Mama took this opportunity to test and compare Karen’s perception with that of a normal child. She lifted something from her desk and asked both girls what they saw.
This will be a simple method to figure out just what kind of help Karen needs, Mama thought, without knowing that this would be the first step on a lifelong journey of learning.
Kimberly responded with the usual answer.
“Hey, Mrs. H, that’s an envelope with a stamp in the corner.”
Karen saw something completely different.
“I see a house with a window, Mommy!”
“Kitten, do you mean you can imagine that this is a house with a window?” Mama asked.
“No,” Kitten replied. “I really see a picture of a house with a window.”
Mama returned to her desk and let the children continue their play, as she thought, A high intelligence and a unique perception coexist within my daughter. Kitten learns differently, but her ability is no less. She needs academic help. She has imagination, but she has a learning disability in the area of perception.
©2020, Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.
#cerebralpalsy #dyslexia #inspirationalwriting