Thursday, 9 March 2006

Post Modern Learning Difficulties

Today I attended a training course on young people with special educational needs, it was un-remittingly dull and totally un-informative and the only thing that saved it from being an utter waste of my life was too fellow trainees, Stacey and Kate, who made me laugh throughout.

Stacey suggested the concept of 'Post Modern Learning Difficulties' during a particularly somber moment in the discussion, which amused me no end and it got funnier as I tried to figure out what kind of disability that would be.

Perhaps it would mean the sufferer would not be able to understand the concept of absolute truths or identities and grand narratives? Or just that they were a bit of a tit? Any other suggestions?

Kate meanwhile kept catching my eye when anyone of the teachers made a terrible gaff or emitted yet another personal anecdote. The teachers, you see, made jokes about people in wheelchairs getting drunk and wanting to be firemen (these two things are not connected by the way...although maybe that's what Post Modern Learning difficulties is?), someone with cerebral palsy wanting to be a footballer and other crass reflections of their personal prejudice.

Oh well, tomorrow I am attending a workshop on Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream where I get to be a fairy and then Demitrius.

I love acting.


  1. Um, my two youngest children live with just such "difficulties." The post-modern aspect is a glim gloss put on the abandoment of people with special needs under the new imperialism.

    I think we should shoot all of our so-called "leaders," and start fresh with a good anarcho-syndicalist communal system. That way we will have no need for labels, or guns, except to label, and then shoot the bourgeois exploiters who've stolen democracy.

  2. How fun! One summer I tutored a retarded girl throughout the summer in very basic math. Many times she would forget, and I'd need to go over the same thing each time. But there was gradual improvement (which was always rewarding) and she was so very sweet. I'll never forget Stacey. I still run into her mom every couple of years, and Stacey still lives at home and remains as sweet.

  3. Perhaps a PMLD is a pastiche of references to other cherished and classic learning difficulties that ultimately deconstructs those LDs and yet leaves something that isn't quite as new as it appeared when first disgnosed.

  4. Perhaps a PMLD is a pastiche of references to other cherished and classic learning difficulties that ultimately deconstructs those LDs and yet leaves something that isn't quite as new as it appeared when first disgnosed.

  5. Col.Dr: please don't mis-read my post and think that I am in anyway disrespectful of people with disabilities or learning difficulties, I was attacking the training that marginalised these young people.

    Saur: retarded is a word we no longer use over in the UK.

    James: You got it man.

  6. I don't want you to think I overreacted like a soccer dad going to run over the coach in my SUV.

    The attitudes of the teachers in dismissing the potential of anyone pursuing their dreams are abhorrent. Few people realise how many extremely-successful people suffer from some sort of learning (not intellectual) impairment.

    Bill Gates lives with a condition known as Asperger's Syndrome. It is, as you probably know, a form of high-functioning autism.

    Had his father not been Bill Gates II, and had he been whelped into the public school system, it is likely that Bill Gates III would be in a State hospital, living in the streets, or President of the United States of America.

    However one feels about BGIII, his story is a remarkable story of encouragement to people whose loved ones face such "impossible" challenges.

    I think your work with the disadvantaged is noble, and I applaud you for facing the inevitable frustration you will face battling the prejudice and neglect of the system.

    I still think we should shoot our leaders and establish a functional Communist state, but you know, that's my answer to everything...

  7. And, what James said is basically what I said about it being the new name for ignoring the needs of the needy.

    Remember, shoot the leaders, establish anarcho-syndicalist paradise. Cure all for society's ills.

  8. Post-modern learning difficulties are those kids who are bright but act thick to get all the attention. They are doing it as an ironic comment on our caring, sharing society. The parasites. Send the afflicted down the mines or to dig ditches.

    As for people with cerebral palsy playing football, I say bring it on! I'd pay to see that. Oh yes!


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