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The Short Bus: A Journey Beyond Normal, By Jonathan Mooney

1228 words - 5 pages

“The Short Bus: A Journey Beyond Normal” by Jonathan Mooney is the story of his journey around the U.S. in short bus nonetheless to meet with different children and their families who have faced challenges in school due to ADD, ADHD, Autism, and other learning disabilities. Jonathan Mooney himself faced the disability of Dyslexia and often had to deal with many challenges in school himself, but he appears to be one of the more fortunate ones, who was able to grow from his disability and ultimately get a degree in English. Needless to say, his book and journey lead the reader to question what really is “normal”, and how the views of this have caused the odds to be stacked against those who don’t fit the mold. Throughout, this story, for me personally however, this story gave several events that I found moving, and had the potential to influence my further work in education.
The question that Jonathan strives to define all throughout the book is this idea of what is “normal”. I think this is a big question in relation to schooling. Some many educators, as well as the system have been convinced that all children should fit this same mold of “normal” and that those who simply don’t, like [person from book], are automatically classified as “learning disabled”, and are either unknowingly discriminated against, or put on a different track from those who do fit into mold. What I got out of this idea, was that nobody is normal and that is especially the case when it comes to learning. Yes, there are children who has issues like ADD, ADHD, and so on, but that doesn’t make them as less capable. Even those who are in the mold of “normal” all learn in different ways, which successfully make the idea of “normal” impossible. In relation to this who do have learning disabilities, what I found most interesting in the book was that many of the children Mooney met with, when removed from an educational setting showed no disabilities at all. For example, in chapter three, Mooney tells of his meeting with a young boy names Brent, who like Mooney suffers from Dyslexia and enjoys soccer. Brent suffers in school due to his disability, but when he is out on a field playing soccer, “Brent wasn't anyones problem. He was just a a kid” (51). Children like Brent, who did not appear to struggle in other areas of daily life, made me question how education is approaching these children. Clearly, something is not working. Whether or not it’s the idea of what is considered “normal” or not, I think that those who do face challenges with learning, need their needs met better, so in my future education career I think, I will always remember that nobody is normal, and that those who do have learning disabilities are just as capable if not more so than those who don’t, they just need the extra time and instruction to allow it.
Another idea that moved me while reading Mooney’s story was that of the people Mooney meets with throughout the book, that have been labeled as “learning...

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