Measuring progress: Snails and eagles both move

Sometimes a learning disabled person seems not to be making any progress in some particular area – usually, this is the area that is difficult for that person.  The LD person could appear this way internally or externally; that is, others may look at the LD person and not see progress, or the LD person may look at him/herself and see no progress. This appearance may be partly based on reality, but not completely. The inaccuracies in this view of things may come from how we measure progress. By their nature, learning disabilities impair some aspects of learning more than others: What aspects are impaired varies with the particular LD, whether it’s reading, math, social interaction or what-have-you.

One of the important lessons in teaching new skills is to break down tasks into smaller ones. If a person is having trouble learning something, it is oftne a good idea to break that task down into smaller steps. This should give us a hint as to how to measure progress, as well: If a task needs to be broken down into smaller steps, then taking each of those steps is progress. It may not be much progress in absolute terms, but it may be a great deal of progress in terms of effort.

Snails and eagles both move. It is not a good idea to criticize a snail for not moving like an eagle.

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