Monday, August 11, 2008

Lifetime TV’s ARMY WIVES Episode Touched on Undiagnosed Learning Disabilities

You may not be a fan of Lifetime TV’s ARMY WIVES. Yet Season 2’s Episode 10 touched on a subject that may be very important to you.

In this episode Roxy was told by Roland, who’s teaching a GED course, that the reason she failed the practice exam even though she knew the material was because she had a learning disability that interfered with transferring her knowledge to a written test.

True, this reveal was not nearly as compelling as the reveal when fans of THE COSBY SHOW found out along with Theo, when he was already in college, that he had a learning disability that interfered with his test taking. (My tears flowed when Vanessa told her father he should be sorry for all the times he ragged on Theo about his grades.) Or in PUNKY BREWSTER when a 12-year-old couldn’t read the poison antidote instructions that could save her younger brother.

Anyway, while Roxy’s learning disability was a rather brief moment in the overall episode, it could be a very important moment in your life or in the life of someone you know.

Many students have difficulties in school that are recognized/diagnosed in elementary school. Yet, for some students, the realization that extra help is needed in test taking or concentrating techniques or any of a number of other concerns doesn’t crop up until the high school or even college years.

At this point it would be good to see if you can get testing in the areas in which you are having problems. Yet some of you may feel that “something” is interfering with your effectiveness yet you aren’t ready to ask your school or others for help.

In this case, there’s a book that may speak to you. Dr. Mel Levine’s A MIND AT A TIME is a treasure trove of explanations of numerous areas of the brain that can affect things that we do (or can’t do).

The author’s writing style is quite dense so you have to be determined to plow through the material and extract the relevant information. Yet the result may be worth the work, especially if you discover some thing or things that you may have been unfairly beating yourself up about. And now you will be able to seek help – hopefully without any embarrassment because you understand that your problems are genetic. The problems have nothing to do with “laziness” or anything else that you can control.

For your parents, advisors or mentors who might want to help you on your path through high school, college and beyond, Dr. Levine has another dense yet significant book – READY OR NOT, HERE LIFE COMES. In this book Dr. Levine is concerned about what he calls “the startup years” and young people’s “work-life unreadiness.” Buried gold is also to be found in this book.

And there’s a national organization that can help with reading problems: Reading for the Blind and Dyslexic ( offers textbooks on tape or CD. On the home page of the website click on JOIN NOW.

Don’t be like Roxy in ARMY WIVES and assume you’re stupid because you don’t do well on written tests. Check out if the wiring of your brain is interfering with your abilities. And, if so, get the extra help that will enable you to compensate for your genetic wiring.

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Anonymous said...

Thanks for mentioning RFB&D (Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic) in your article. It is a wonderful organization. I might also mention that if you live near an RFB&D recording studio, some may want to consider volunteering in the process to produce even more books. Here’s a place to find out more about that:

Also, I would also recommend that the state and local affiliates of the Learning Disabilities Association can be a great resource for more information and support groups for people with learning disabilities. Go to and click on the “State Chapters” link for more information.

Steve Noble
RFB&D Kentucky Unit Board of Directors
Learning Disabilities Association of America National Board
Immediate Past President, Learning Disabilities Association of America

Anonymous said...

p.s. My comment had an error that I need to fix...

I included "Immediate Past President, Learning Disabilities Association of America"

That *should have been* "Immediate Past President, Learning Disabilities Association of Kentucky"

--Steve Noble

Anonymous said...

Another resource is the All Kinds of Minds Institute. It was founded by Dr. Mel Levine and financier Charles Schwab. Their website is filled with great resources and information. They also offer a professional development course for educators that is meant to teach how to identify learning differences and create accommodations and strategies to help children be successful.

Check out their website,