Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Mocking the Learning Disabled


Several times, I've seen a video on Facebook making fun of a female driver who repeatedly parks with the wrong side of her vehicle facing the gas pump until she finally gets it right. On YouTube, the video is titled "Stupid woman at gas station," and many comments on both YouTube and Facebook derisively echo the YouTube title.

But I don't feel like laughing. To me, the video appears to be a textbook depiction of nonverbal learning disorder, and this is a problem with which I have a frustrating lifetime of firsthand experience. Here is the comment I posted to Facebook and YouTube about it, and I hope some people take it to head and heart:
I don't laugh at videos like this, because I empathize with the driver. Like me, she probably has NLD--nonverbal learning disability--and, consequently, great difficulty seeing in her mind's eye how to get the proper side of her vehicle to face the gas pump. And the frustration she undoubtedly feels over her mistakes coupled with anxiety that people might be watching her struggle and laughing at her might well inhibit her reasoning faculties to the extent that she keeps impulsively repeating her mistakes instead of finding some way or other of collecting herself so that she can figure out how to do what she needs to do. She could be very intelligent in other ways. And even if she's not, I wish we would have more empathy and compassion for people who struggle to do things that we are fortunate not to struggle with.

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