Andrew Blue: Learning Disabled Or Genius?

1279 words - 6 pages

Yolanda’s Genius is the story of Andrew Blue, along with his mother and sister. The Blues family is previously from Chicago, Illinois and they just recently moved to Grand River, Michigan. Andrew is seven years old and does not communicate very often with his surroundings and does not know how to read; instead he uses a harmonica to convey language and to express his feelings. One could argue that Andrew has a learning disability from his lack of language abilities and reading capabilities, it could also be argued that Andrew (as his sister Yolanda states) is a musical genius. Which end of the spectrum is Andrew? Is he learning disabled, normal for his age or actually a genius? From the ...view middle of the document...

Because Andrew has a limited vocabulary, he may also have issues with semantic development. The average development of semantics occurs when, “during the ages of 6-10 the average child is able to understand the meaning of about 10,000 words, acquires meanings of new words from context and from definitions and appreciates the multiple meanings of words, as indicated by metaphors and humor” (Berk, 2013, p. 395). Semantics includes word comprehension, meaning they understand words before they speak them (Berk, 2013, p. 376). Since Andrew does not speak often he may not be able to understand words.
The typical development of grammar around Andrew’s age includes, “complex grammatical structures, and the ability to refine complex grammatical structures” (Berk, 2013, p. 395). In the beginning of Yolanda’s Genius when Andrew and his family are still living in Chicago, Mrs. Blue (Andrew’s mother) discovers that Andrew unknowingly has a packet of cocaine in his pocket. When questioned by his mother where he got it, he replies “Boy at school said it makes you feel better” (Fenner, 1995, p. 3). As shown from this sentence he omitted the “A” that would typically be at the beginning of that sentence and instead he just says “boy.” This proves that Andrew has issues with grammatical morphemes involving the proper use of the article “A.”
Andrew does not appear to have problems with phonological development, because when he does talk, he can communicate the words clearly, he just does not use a lot of words. For phonological development the average for 6-10 year olds would be: “extends phonological awareness to all phonemes in words, masters syllable stress patterns signaling subtle differences in meaning” (Berk, 2013, p. 395). Andrew is clear in his speech and does not mispronounce words or pronounce the wrong words. When Yolanda states that Andrew is a genius he clearly states, “I am not. I’m Andrew” (Fenner, 1995, p. 41). Andrew’s mother reiterates this information when talking with Yolanda she states that that, “There’s nothing wrong with Andrew’s Speech, he says words perfectly” (Fenner, 1995, p. 152).
Pragmatics for this age group include: “advanced conversational strategies, understanding of illocutionary intent, communicating clearly in demanding situations and producing classic narratives rich in orienting information and evaluations” (Berk, 2013, p. 395). Andrew does indeed have issues with pragmatics, when tense situations arise Andrew tends to freeze up and has an inability to speak. When Andrew is corned at the skating park by the drug pushers, he is unable to talk and lets the bullies push him around. This situation proves that Andrew has issues with pragmatics. There is further evidence of the problem with pragmatics when eventually...

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