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"Thing is, I've worked with learning disabled kids. There were kids who had trouble reading, kids who had trouble with math, kids with poor fine motor skills, ADD and autistic kids, you name it. And these were mostly pretty mild disabilities. These were the kids who, in decades past, might just have been C students, but whose anxious modern-day parents were sending them to special programs for the learning disabled.

"But what we did with them was nothing especially mysterious or medical. We just focused, carefully and non-judgmentally, on improving their areas of weakness. The dyslexics got reading practice. The math-disabled got worksheets and blocks to count. Hyperactive kids were taught to ask themselves "How's my motor running today?" and be mindful of their own energy levels and behavior. The only difference between us and a "regular" school is that when someone was struggling, we tried to figure out why she was struggling and fix the underlying problem, instead of slapping her a bad report card and leaving it at that.

"And I have to wonder: is that "special education" or is it just education?"
"A pianist has to be kind of schizophrenic. You have to believe in telekinesis. You have to believe you have the power to move your fingers with your mind." I learned that from Phil Cohn, ...
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This reminds me of the study where some percentage of people have an extremely difficult time of learning to program. The ones who failed the pretest tended to be the ones who failed to pick anything up over time as well. I wonder -- are most people suffering a "learning disability" with respect to programming, perhaps one that can be treated with a specific approach?
I'd say the specific "learning disability" related to programming is that most programming requires one to abandon intuitive thinking in favor of unnaturally rational and analytic thinking. I'd even say programming comes more naturally to people more or less in the autistic spectrum, or least able to get into the way of thinking of that spectrum. For example, consider the difference between raising a child or training a dog (intuitive processes) and programming a robot (requires fully analytic thinking). No natural entity works like a robot, following all instructions to a t, and therefore working with a robot is at first unnatural for most people. Same difference between natural language and a programming language, etc.
Interesting. I wonder if fully analytical thinking can be taught in a classroom setting, or by a series of exercises. Or perhaps "suspension of intuition" exercises could be employed to teach students how to damp down intuition in cases where it is at cross purposes to what they want to accomplish -- and how to start it up again so they don't start behaving like they are autistic.
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