Often when we think of learning disabilities we think of the personal effects they have in an academic setting. Since many with an NLVD have motor skills deficits, even classes such as art and technology can be a big challenge for NVLD students. They often feel they need to work twice as hard and fast just to keep up with their peers. For most, taking an elective is fun, however for those with a NVLD elective classes can be a challenge.
One of my hardest courses I ever took was Art as my fine motors were significantly delayed. Even the simplest drawing was a challenge. For example, in elementary school a teacher’s assistant would have to draw the picture then I would trace it. As time went on, what was especially frustrating for me was seeing kids who weren’t artistic laugh at their own work. For me my skills were so low I couldn’t even do that. My work continued to be modified as if I were a student with a language based disability who was spelling exempt. This was embarrassing.
In high school when it came time to pick a class to cover my art credit I ended up choosing Technology which was such a surprise to many though the teacher knew me well so it made the most sense. Throughout my struggles he knew my family wasn’t handy or artistic either so we could have a good laugh. Though I must say when I looked around and saw how far ahead the rest of the class was from me and I was embarrassed to have to play catch up with a Technology teacher. This is when I realized I really don’t have a break from my disability no matter what class I am in.
This can lead to difficulties with creating appropriate scheduling as both academics and electives are often hard.. For me personally, because my fine motor skills were so low, I chose to take more Math and Science classes. It was far from easy but I found it was easier to work at my own pace on my assignments. What was especially easier was getting the support I needed from my resource room teachers and tutors at home rather than asking for help with the personal projects in front of my peers. It truly was so frustrating watching other Learning Disabled students enjoy an easier schedule with electives and I had to decide what obstacle will be easier to overcome.
While this may seem discouraging whatever path you decide to take, putting forth your best effort will allow you to overcome your deficits. Keep in mind as you are creating a possible schedule there is no right or wrong answer. Since each student has a different way to cope with their disability. For me it was just easier receiving extra instruction in academic classes rather than floundering in the elective areas.
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