SELD 688 – June 15 – Self-determination

When considering the idea of self-determination, it seems almost horrendous how it must have been when others used to make all the decisions for a person with LD. Maybe this is due to my own sense of wanting to make my own decisions, for the most part. It’s not that I have to make all my own decisions, but perhaps more that there is a respect for my potential as a human being and that I can choose what’s best for me. Of course, whatever decisions I make have their consequences and I cannot ignore those. But, according to whatever my knowledge, understanding and ability is, it seems important for my, as a human being to be able to be self-determining. And should not this apply to any human being, as much as possible? I suppose the key here is when cognitively able. If someone is unable to cognitively function so that they understand implications and consequences, then that may be another matter. It’s so clear that LD is distinguished from less cognitively able. Unfortunately, there still seems to be a fairly widespread lack of knowledge of the differences.

I guess our social/cultural system is really still evolving to meet the principles of “all men being equal.” One thing that occurs to me again about anyone with LD is a human being first who has some differences or disabilities. But then, almost all humans are different from each other. However, it’s clear that people with LD have their own special challenges that can be addressed to help them navigate through the primarily non-LD world.

When the topic of self-disclosure came up, I thought of my interview with ‘Cindy’, the young woman with LD. She seemed quite adamant about not disclosing in her job situation unless absolutely necessary. In her case it seems like she is able to accommodate for her LD, but she said she would only disclose if there was difficulty in her work due to her LD. I can understand this to some extent, but then it might also be that by that point, management may not be so willing to hear about her LD or make accommodations. This was a insight into the continuum of risk assessment – between acceptable loss and potential gain of disclosing.

It also seemed that there may not be a very clear understanding of the legal implications of the ADA in the workplace. I had the sense from my interviewee that she found the benefit from the ADA in school, but that in the workplace it was not nearly so evident and the skills of self-knowledge, risk assessment, self-disclosure and self-advocacy could be very important skills for an adult with LD to have developed before they get into the work world.

There’s probably much more to be said. This class has been such an insight into the world of adults with LD as well as an insight into me. This has been a valuable insight into some of the diverse issues of working in adult education and I think will prove helpful as I continue traveling along this path.

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