What does average mean?

The word “average” contains little meaning, especially when it is used to describe your child. Just as there is no such thing as an “average” tree or dog or psychologist, there is no average child. So what “average” winds up meaning is something like, “Not” abnormal, atypical or rare. But your child is, in fact, rare. In fact, your child is a singularity, one of a kind, a person who has happened or will happen only ONCE, who thinks, acts, feels and experiences like no one else, whose mind is unique and, for our purposes here, whose learning style, needs and dispositions are exactly one of a kind.

Of course, educational programs, standards and methods are based on the principle that all children learn the same. Some may claim to recognize and address individual differences. But in practice, such individualization is about as rare as your child. It is impracticable and terribly impractical, unless your child is the only student.

Yet, standard psychological and educational testing – on the results of which so many critical educational decisions are based – presumes “average” exists and makes claims based on that assumption. As a result, wholly uninformative statements like, “Clement has average reading skills” or, far worse, “Mathilda is of average intelligence” proliferate.

In future comments, I intend to define the exceptionality of your child and present ways by which a you can begin to define, expand upon and nurture that uniqueness. I hope you drop in to listen. After 40 years working as a diagnostician, I have a great deal to offer.


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