I was scrolling through LinkedIn earlier today and I saw a post that severely bummed me out. I included a screenshot below, but without the poster's name/picture visible- their profession was being some sort of leadership and/or management coach. There was some text included in their post, but nothing that fundamentally changed the content in the image below.
~45,000 positive reactions.
INITIAL REACTIONS THAT FLEW THROUGH MY BRAIN
They must not be familiar with ADHD.
They must not be familiar with ASD.
They must not be familiar with gifted folks.
They must not be familiar with the idea of neurodiversity.
Empathy can be hard.
What does talent really mean? There are a lot of people who have worked really hard to unpack that word, talent, as it pertains to gifted and neurodiverse students. For the purposes of a quick blog post, let's call talent "natural skill or aptitude."
It takes zero talent to arrive somewhere on time, huh? Sounds a lot like the opinion of someone who has a natural skill or aptitude to arrive at places on time to me. [ADHD and lagging executive skills have entered the chat].
Body language doesn't take any talent? Are you kidding me? Tell me you don't know anyone with low muscle tone without telling me that you don't know anyone with low muscle tone.
Being coachable? How seriously should I take posts from this person, really? If it doesn't take talent it almost certainly takes effort. Come on.
I don't think that this leadership coach intends to wave an ableist flag and I doubt that they're trying to say that these things are true of all people... but when you have a platform that can reach so many people, you had better assume that your words are going to have an impact and help shape how others see the world. The skills/traits that are listed are important and I hope that all of our students at Arete can find healthy and effective ways to improve their talents as they pertain to these 10 points, but can you imagine how quickly the wind could leave their sails when they read something like this?"You should be good at this and it should be easy."
Some students might keep the wind in their sails, but they might have a hard time being empathetic and/or viewing the leadership coach as a person whose perspectives don't mean much of anything to them. Maybe they would see the post for the uninformed, cheap, engagement driver that it is and leave it alone...
... or maybe they'd write a whole blog post about it because imagine keeping your opinion to yourself.
There's so much good happening for 2e, gifted, and neurodiverse students across the United States... SERIOUSLY, SO MUCH GOOD STUFF IS HAPPENING. You'll keep hearing about it from us because it's important to focus on those growth points that stand to make the world a better, more equitable place.