Two Movements, Same Message

I recently attended a workshop for parents of kids with ADHD and/or dyslexia. We are dealing with a recent diagnosis in one of our kids — and it’s a whole new road to travel.

Jonanthan Mooney was inspiring and motivating. He talked about his experiences as a kid with ADHD and dyslexia. He talked about how important people in his life lifted him up and empowered him to take control to eventually graduate from Brown, write two books and be a founder of a non-profit. I do think he needs to give himself a little more credit – -he has an amazing resolve and motivation to do things right.

His message about “disabilities” in school was profound, being new to this world. He talked at length about the “disability” of ADHD/Dsylexia being a disability only in certain places, like school. In other settings, it’s an asset.

Four major takeaways for me:

  • Rebuild a child’s self-esteem. The child isn’t disabled — it’s everyone else’s attitude towards these kids that is the problem. 
  • Play to their strengths, don’t remediate the weaknesses.
  • Find advocates, mentors.
  • Intelligence is defined as ability to read. This is not the only way to measure, demonstrate intelligence.

While I was at this session purely for personal reasons as a parent of a child with ADHD and dyslexia, I was struck by the similarities in his advocacy for children with “disablities” and the messages I know well from the education technology movement.

  • He has a profound dislike of standardized tests
  • Sitting still shouldn’t get you good grades
  • Need to teach collaboration and critical thinking above memorization
  • Use the tools we have (TECHNOLOGY) to access content. TEACH kids to think, not memorize.

Here’s his message in a TED Talk nutshell:

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