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Life Without Lang


I’m Peter Flom and I’m a member (and former chair) of the Board of Trustees at this great school that you may have heard of: The Lang School. Maybe your kid goes there. Or maybe it’s a grandchild or a niece or a nephew or the child of a friend. Or maybe you are in the process of looking for a school for your child and are thinking that The Lang School could be the “just right” fit.

I’ve got a different perspective. I didn’t go to Lang. I should have, but I was born 50 years too early.

When I was 5, I was asked not to return to kindergarten. My parents took me to a psychologist who told them I had “minimal brain dysfunction” and “would never go to college.”  My mom didn’t think that was right and started doing research. She found Elizabeth Freidus, who was one of the first experts on learning disabilities, and together, they started the Gateway School of New York, for me.

Gateway was great. It was sure as heck way better than any other school at the time. But it ended at age 9 and I was off into the wilds of “regular” private schools. It was awful. Really awful.

No place was the exact right fit for me at the time.  The term “twice exceptional” didn’t get invented until 1990, when I was already in my 30s.  The reason I’m on the board of Lang is because the school that your kid (or grandkid or nephew etc.) gets to go to or hopes to go to is the school I should have gone to. ‘Cause oh boy am I 2E.

On the one end of E, I managed to graduate from college at 20 and now have two MAs and a PhD. And I’ve written one book (Screwed Up Somehow but not Stupid: Life with a Learning Disability) and am in the final stages of my second (Twice as Weird: A Memoir about Twice Exceptionality).

For the other E, I have a Nonverbal Learning Disability. I have problems with a lot of nonverbal information, and there’s a lot of nonverbal information! But NVLD isn’t well known, even now, and when I was a kid, it was unheard of. 

Kids like me weren’t welcome anywhere. This was before IDEA, before accommodations, before all sorts of things. I wasn’t accepted, I was barely tolerated. I got teased and bullied by other kids, and punished by teachers (I was once given detention from four different classes in one day). That’s no way to grow up.

But your kid (or grandkid or nephew or niece or whatever) is lucky to attend Lang. They go to a school where they are not only accepted and welcomed, but celebrated. And all kids should be celebrated. And if you are looking at Lang for your 2e kid, you’re looking in the right place. 

Lang is a great place for 2e kids.


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