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Sep 02 2011

NYIT’s Ernst VanBergeijk Encourages Confidence among Students with Learning Disabilities

Old Westbury, N.Y. (Sept. 2, 2011) – Educators need to “teach to the strength” of students, according to Associate Dean Ernst VanBergeijk, Ph.D., executive director of NYIT’s Vocational Independence Program.

In the Huffington Post article “The Girl Who Played with an Imaginary Rope,” VanBergeijk explains why teachers should encourage confidence in students, rather than emphasizing weaknesses and trying to fix problems.

The Aug. 26 article explores diagnoses of learning disabilities in the 1970s and 1980s, written from the perspective of a successful writer whose undiagnosed ADD led her childhood teachers to focus on her deficits rather than her strengths in the classroom. The writer, Shira Hirschman Weiss, uncovers the challenges faced by children who were mislabeled and misdiagnosed as “learning disabled” so often.

Public Law 94-142, which was later re-named IDEA: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, paved the way for special education when it was passed in 1975. However,because the law may have caused doctors to classify more children than before as learning disabled, VanBergeijk believes it may have also led to “over-labeling and mislabeling.”

Weiss was misunderstood by her teachers and other students. While growing up, she considered herself “dumb” because of the way she was treated until she realized her talent for writing and began to excel in school.

The article encourages teachers to believe in their students, and not to let “diagnoses of attention focusing problems [and other cognitive deficits] get in the way of talent, depth, introspection, and possibility.”

Read More

The Girl Who Played with an Imaginary Rope, Huffington Post

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New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) offers 90 degree programs, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees, in more than 50 fields of study, including architecture and design; arts and sciences; education; engineering and computing sciences; health professions; management; and osteopathic medicine. A non-profit independent, private institution of higher education, NYIT has 14,000 students attending campuses on Long Island and Manhattan, online, and at its global campuses. NYIT sponsors 11 NCAA Division II programs and one Division I team.

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