A good education – or the lack of one – is a life changing experience.

As someone who has had more years of schooling and education than any rational person should probably ever have – I’ve come to a couple of conclusions about education.  The first one is that no child who has difficulty in elementary or secondary school needs to fail. And the second is that a good education – or the lack of one – is a life changing experience.
I’ve been a teacher in private schools, a school psychologist in public schools and a Clinical Instructor at Harvard Medical School. I’ve taught middle school students in Russia and lectured professional audiences in Amsterdam, Greece and the United States. I’ve taught freshmen, upper classes and graduate students at colleges and universities and conducted assessments for the government and even the Court system.
Education is more than academics. EVERYONE can learn to overcome obstacles and exceed expectations with the right teacher, mentor, professor or coach, even if there are learning disabilities or behavioral issues involved – and quite often there are.
After all these years of teaching, training and assessing children, adolescents and adults in the East and West, the lesson I have learned is clear: No child has to fail at school…or at life.

Hidden Difficutlties And Disabilities

Difficulties and disabilities can be obvious or hidden. The federal government explains this as follows: While “a disability such as a limp, paralysis, total blindness or deafness is usually obvious to others. But hidden disabilities such as low vision, poor hearing, heart disease, or chronic illness may not be obvious. A chronic illness involves a recurring and long-term disability such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney and liver disease, high blood pressure, or ulcers.

“Hidden” disabilities are defined as those that “are physical or mental impairments that are not readily apparent to others. They include such conditions and diseases as:

• specific learning disabilities
• diabetes
• epilepsy
• allergies

“Approximately four million students with disabilities are enrolled in public elementary and secondary schools in the United States. Of these 43 percent are students classified as learning disabled, 8 percent as emotionally disturbed, and 1 percent as other health impaired. These hidden disabilities often cannot be readily known without the administration of appropriate diagnostic tests.”

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