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LearningDisabilities Jonathan Mooney
Acommon saying always says that “Disability is not inability” usedto show that people with disability are capable. The word disabilityhas raised a lot of unanswered questions as to what may be defined asnormal, mostly because people with physical and mental disabilitiesare treated as special. There are various types of disabilities thataffect learning capabilities like blindness, and hearing and vocalproblems and some biological impairments like Dyslexia, Downsyndrome. This paper reflects on “The short bus” a story byJonathan Mooney and draws images that shows reading disabilityemphasizing on his view on special and normal people. It also coversthe Jonathan’s journey to various continents visiting people withthe so called “disabilities.” In the paper we focus on the imagesused to show reading inabilities as shown in “the short bus” findout whether people with reading disabilities are included in thecurrent systems (Mooneyp.30).
JonathanMooney uses himself as an example of the distinction of children inspecial education who to the world as abnormal. We find the firstimage of how different people with reading disability are viewedthrough the “short yellow buses” made different from other busesand specifically made for transporting children with disability toand from school (Mooneyp.24).Jonathan was “dyslexic” with intensive learning disabilities dueto his attention and character issues. He gives an account of hisjourney in the humorous short bus that he took to discover how otherpeople out there dealt with their special situations to adapt in thenormal world. In the story, Mooney describes his journey on a shortschool bus, which was yellow in color. In his journey, he meets agirl Ashley, who could not hear or see. Later on he meets Butch whosurfer’s from ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and otherdisabilities that affected his learning. Despite his condition Butchowns the Museum of Wonder. From the journey he realizes theinexistence of normal and argues that each individual despite theircondition defines their special way of living and transforms theirlives. Mooney views the Ability to interact with others in socialbasis as the true definition of normal (McDMcdermottp.19).
Thesociety blames either kids or their disabilities for any academicfailures rather than looking at the best education systems and reformthat could apply for all. He expounds on the intelligence andacademic excellence theories in his journey. He shows the variousapproaches to disability in the classroom and society at large. Henames three approaches as Difference, deprivation and the disabilityapproaches. He, however, proves the traditional success ideologieswrong by succeeding in school and writing a book despite theinability to speak (Grobstein p9).
Interestto observe and learn other people is also a symbol commonly found inpeople reading disabilities. Mooney goes a step further to interviewand learn from the lives of people who had similar problems andreferred as special. The small yellow car he drove was seen humorousshowing how people with disabilities are viewed as entertainers(McDMcdermottp13).
Basedon science, the disability is defined as a social creation ofexclusion instead of basing the definition on biological concepts.Mooney describes the traditional learners, known for their “expertisein math and reading” while those who fails to meet the setstandards are considered as special children. He then argues how theeducation systems are made to label out the persons with disabilitiesas some do not accommodate their needs (Grobstein,12).
Thecurrent society still isolates the persons with disabilities ineducation system that allows separation and classification whichremains questionable. Mooney’s tone in the story shows his opinionon the traditional notion of success. He talks of his academicexcellence as he was a graduate from he Brown University, although heconfirms that “I can barely read and I did horribly in school”and despite that he was successful (Mooneyp.19).
Mooneyreflects on a similar story in “Culture as a disability” book byMcDermott and Verenne to illustrate how disability is related bybeing different. The story talks about a man named Nunez, who seesclearly, but accidentally falls from a mountain to an isolatedcommunity of bling people in Latin America. As the only man in thesociety with a vision, the villagers find the eyes as abnormal due tothe otherness and the village doctor even recommends his eyes beremoved to cure him (Mooneyp. 20).
Mooneyputs across his views on reading disability in the society throughhis story. He makes use of imagery such as the small yellow bus, thejourney, and the use of other impaired persons to put across hismessage. His main aim is to show that impairment is not special. Alearning environment inclusive of the people who may for one reasonor another be slow learners should be put in place. People with thesespecial needs should not be treated with sympathy and as specialpersons to reduce stigma. The biological or natural character orabsence of an organ function should also not be defined asabnormality.
Grobstein,SerredipClassifying Disability: Interpreting Jonathan Mooney’s The ShortBus, 2009 Accessed on 22 March 2016
McDMcdermott,Ray and Varenne, Herve. “Culture as Disability.” Sept. 1995.Anthropology& Education Quarterly.JSTOR. 12 Dec. 2009 <http://www.jstor.org/stable/3195676>.
Mooney,Jonathan. TheShort Bus.New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2007.