Do you know any adult illiterates? It makes me sad.

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by DDD, Jan 5, 2012.

  1. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I hired an adult former difficult child to clean up my warehouse. He is the father of two, very hardworking and thinks I'm terrific. I knew he "had trouble reading" but I was deeply saddened and a bit shocked when I gave him a twenty and sent him to a store down the street to get "paper towels, windex and toilet paper". It is a store he frequents with his family almost daily. He said "I better ask your Grandson to go with me so I get the right things. He knows how to read better than I do."

    How tragic is that? He's almost thirty and went to our local schools until he was sixteen. Geez, no wonder he dropped out. He can't read or write. Who to heck would stay in high school under those conditions? Sadest of all is that he has two little girls under four that are "his angels". He does almost everything for them. I almost got tears in my eyes when he told me that he has their names tatted on his chest so when people ask how to spell their names he can show them.

    People wonder about the high unemployment. They wonder why "we" have to support people who do not have jobs. Why don't people wonder how society can intervene to help kids learn how to survive legally in our world. By first grade this man should have been identified and helped. Sigh. DDD
  2. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    That IS sad. I know it happens all too often and it seems to be getting worse in some places.
  3. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    For some people, the learning disability is severe enough that they do not get past it, even with good interventions. It makes life really difficult, though... perhaps in a case like this, there needs to be a way to document the (very real) disability - its no different than being blind or deaf or in a wheelchair - for some people, there are things they just can't do.

    Kudos to YOU for taking him onto your staff!
  4. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    You know, years ago, this young man would have been encouraged to learn a trade very early on. He may have been targeted for Special Education. Some disabilities just can't be "fixed." Unfortunately, mandates in education have both helped us and harmed us here in the US. We are under the notion that everyone can learn at the same pace, and with standardized education, that is the way we approach it across the board. We are leaving some behind---both those who can learn and those with learning disabilities. We offer very little vocational education---and as we move from a manufacturing to a service job market, well, we must provide training the trades for those who will not/can not go to college.
  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    EW is right. I know several people just like that man and they live near me now. One boy is about Cory's age and he dropped out of school when Jamie graduated because Jamie was doing all his work for him because he simply couldnt read a thing. He was smart enough to get by with memorizing things to talk in the classroom but Jamie had to read everything to him. He now works construction. Jamie tried telling his parents when he was just a little kid that he had a learning disability but they told him the boy wasnt retarded and he could learn if he wanted. They refused to have him tested. Sigh. That happened to many kids in my boys classes in elementary school. My boys knew what Learning Disability (LD)'s meant because of Billy. They knew Billy wasnt retarded, he was smart, he just needed some help with some things.
  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    It IS sad but there ARE free literacy classes in most areas. Not always easy to find, but they exist. in my opinion having his daughter's names tattooed on his chest so he would remember how to spell it is just so sweet. and so sad.

    Is there any way you could suggest literacy classes, maybe find one and give him some info on it? I have known people who didn't read or didn't read well. It is NOT a sign of not being intelligent, sometimes there is a handicap or a lot of moving around during elem school, and sometimes they just have other gifts. Our society does NOT value those other gifts, but they are just as important as the ones we do value.
  7. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    How sad, and I agree...kudos to you for hiring him.

    I would honestly consider my husband functionaly illiterate, as well, and he didn't drop out. I knew he had trouble reading, but I didn't realize how much until Wee bought a book from a book fair and husband couldn't read it (a 2nd, maybe 2rd grade level book). He is a skilled welder, but will never attempt the tests required to be certified. He could triple his income if he would/could.

    I get so frustrated at him for buying only name brand food when he goes to the store. I recently learned, like your guy, that he does it because its product recognition. If he buys off brand, he has to try to read to get the same product he is looking for...

    Very, very sad.

    My physical therapist said something to me the other day...talking about the kids and school, he said its really sad the school can't see that Wee is the child they NEED to be teaching to. The learners will learn, regardless. The ones that won't, won't, regardless. But the kiddos like Wee, and like this young man who try so hard but just can't grasp it, are the ones who CAN succeed if given help - OR they can go down the drain if not. Society supports them for 10 years now, or a lifetime later...

    And I would consider cgfg and husband in that category, too.
  8. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Wow - Shari - that is a powerful story about your husband. My sister's husband was similar. He was a wonderful chef, but never went to school to get a degree in it. He has severe dyslexia, and everything was just too hard to read. Matt also has dyslexia, and I have talked to him a lot about what it feels like to read. It is almost like deciphering code for him. Fortunately, I was the over the top, reading palooza Mom, and we read together every single night from birth until he was probably 12. He also received tons of Special Education, and he can read quite well now. But many people don't pick up on the fact that these kids have learning disabilities.

    Your physical therapist is right Shari - my sister wandered through highschool stoned, and graduated with honors - for some people - learning is just easy - and they will get it with or without school. For our kids - learning is astronomically challenging - and those are the kids that the teachers need to spend time with.

    On the flip side - there are some who just never have the opp to learn how to read. I heard this guy on NPR the other day - very inspiring.
    "A 98-year-old man from Connecticut just wrote his first book. More remarkable, he was illiterate until he was 96.
    James Arruda Henry, a retired lobster fisherman, recently completed a 29-chapter, short story account of his life, titled "In a Fisherman's Language."
  9. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Shari -

    In our prov - and others - if he cannot pass a basic literacy test, they will allow him to take tradesman's exams either ORAL or SCRIBED. Oral means the examer asks the questions and he responds; Scribed means an "aide" reads the question to him, and writes down his answer. (scribes can be used for writing disabilities too, which is why I know about this.) Please look into the requirements for taking the exams for those with learning disabilities - you may be amazed.
  10. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    It's pretty common around here. Feeling bad for them, depends on the person.

    I know many who work they're tails off and do well despite the fact they either don't read at all or don't read well enough to qualify as literate. Many of these folks you'd never guess can't read until you know them very very well, they're coping mechanisms are that good.

    Others are like M. Too lazy to learn or even attempt to learn, disability or not. Nichole's bff's husband is very intelligent. He can barely read, flat out refuses to go learn even though here it's offered for free to adults. M is not intelligent by any stretch of the imagination, if I said he was stupid I'd be kind, but he's too lazy to try to learn too. These types would rather mooch off society and whine or make excuses. They drive me insane. Some may or may not be difficult children.....but still the desire has to be there to learn, and it's just not there.
  11. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    Hound, I'd call M the one who wont learn, regardless. :groan:

    My husband? Hard to tell. He does as little as possible to get by, but he is pretty dedicated to his work. He's not above calling in sick here and there, but its not a routine habit, he gets that he has to go to work, etc. Its hard to say how much is him, though, and how much is learned. (which he could choose to unlearn, by the way...) And I have begun to think what was passive/aggressive BS may be partly a lack of skills. He's happliy complying with the chores he's been given, but its still hit or miss if he puts things that require "judgement" in the right place or not. At first, I thought it was him being a butt. Now? I think he may be lacking in whatever component it is that allows him to group like items. Sorting laundry and putting away utensils are the two biggies. The laundry was sorted more like he was dealing rhyme or reason to what was in what pile. None. And the utensils? I cleaned out the drawers so there is plenty of room. Sharps go in one drawer, all other cooking utensils go in another. He can't do it. Even the regular silverware drawer, which has a divider for forks, spoons, and knives, doesn't stay consistent (I consider this one just a matter of paying attention...but, how much attention does it require to put away spoons in one spot). I think the skill just plain isn't there. And God forbid his mother have a kid that needed any extra help. The stories I've heard of her storming the school, screaming at teachers because he was failing or whatever? Scary.

    He never got any "official" help, but I know many of his tests were given aloud, and lectures were recorded for him. Back in the day when they just did it... What could he have done if someone really helped him when he was 6 or 7 or 8 instead of pretending he was fine?

    And I've always known he didn't read well. But he gets around it well enough that I didn't realize just how bad it was until not that long ago. I knew it wasn't good. I didn't know that a second grader's storybook about lego guys was too hard for him...
  12. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    It's fairly common here too but you mostly see it with the older people. This is a rural area, very small town, lots of farming went on here, and school just wasn't a priority for a lot of the older ones. You see them in the grocery store, they hand their checkbook to the cashier who fills out their check for them, then they sign their name. I used to see it a lot more than I do now but I guess that older generation is dying out now.

    I do know a lot of younger ones, most of them recent high school graduates, who appear to be one step away from being illiterate! Do they count? I mean the ones who sat through 12 years of school and still cannot write one complete, understandable sentence that is grammatically correct, punctuated properly and has all the words spelled correctly. And it's not from any kind of Learning Disability (LD), they just don't care and apparently the school didn't either!
  13. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Yes Donna, they count. Illiterate is illiterate, whether you somehow made it to graduation that way or not. We have those by the bulk around here too. Our illiterate folks come in all ages, it doesn't seem to trend to any one age group. We have just as many young kids who can't read as we do elderly who can't read.

    Heck, I can't tell you how many college students we had who couldn't read or write worth a hoot. I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Down here when Nichole was in 2nd grade they started this "sounds like" didn't have to spell the word correctly, just come close and the teacher would mark it correct. Not on spelling test, but everything else. wth?? Add to that her severe dyslexia, and it explains why spelling is still a major issue with her. geez From what I can tell, it's still being done because I see the same thing with Darrin's corrected papers.
  14. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    difficult child is a freshman in high school and still struggles so much with reading and writing. He is probably reading near a second grade level. He tries. He gets so physically tired from trying to read that at times he doesn't want to. It doesn't help that with all of his mental health issues he also has severe dyslexia.

    Sadly, he may end up being illiterate.
  15. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Tony can read but he has a very bad reading comprehension issue that should have been picked up in school so he doesnt enjoy reading for the pleasure of it. Now he can read a set of blueprints and build a commercial building without a problem. I couldnt do that for anything. It would be well over my head but it makes perfect sense to him. He can do math in his head that amazes me. I mean geometry and angles and fractions. He doesnt think he is doing algebra but he is. If I say the word algebra he freezes but he is doing it without realizing it. He has taught Cory all this stuff too. Cory, for a kid who never completed 9th grade, has actually helped 2 girls with some really hard college When they dont know the answers, he looks in the books and figures out the homework answers for them. I just shake my head. And he thinks he wouldnt make it. Basically he already has.

    As far as older people, we know a lot of them. This is farming country and back then most people stopped school no later than 6th or 8th grade. Farming was more important. Especially for the women. But lots of the children were needed to work the farms. Tony's grandmother was one of 23 kids. I would be willing to bet some of them were illiterate. I know the guy across the street is, three people in one family that is distantly related to Tony on his mother's side are that are around our age. I could go on.