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Profiles in Achievement: Amazing People with Learning Differences cover image

Profiles in Achievement: Amazing People with Learning Differences 2009


Distributed by Human Relations Media, 41 Kensico Drive, Mt. Kisco, NY 10549; 800-431-2050
Produced by Peter Cochran
Director n/a
DVD, color, 26 min.

Jr. High - Adult
Learning Disabilities

Date Entered: 04/08/2009

Reviewed by Wendy Highby, University of Northern Colorado

The film features five people with learning differences: three with dyslexia and two with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Part of the video’s appeal is the interesting array of vocations and talents represented by the subjects. Profiled are race car driver Dean Abbey, paleontologist Jack Horner, Harvard University student Bree Sterne, and musician Philip Manuel. The film is visually rich and convincing because the subjects are filmed not only as talking heads but also actively pursuing their passions. We see them at the racetrack, with a patient in the examining room, at a dig, on campus, and on stage.

The participants frankly describe some of the challenges of coping with a learning disability, such as trouble with linear processing, lack of organizational skills, acting out, and low self- esteem. The frustrations of diagnostic delay and the importance of adaptive strategies and tools are discussed. “Getting help” vignettes describe how crucial the assistance of parents, teachers, specialists, and tutors can be in meeting the learning challenges. The subjects share the insight that unique strengths have helped them to pursue their goals. These strong points—visual and spatial skills, empathy, perseverance, and lack of fear of failure—have enabled them to achieve success in their chosen fields.

A loose-leaf teacher’s resource book is included to supplement the film. It contains student activities and fact sheets. The film could be useful in both counseling and classroom venues. It is appropriate for audiences of a wide range of ages as interviewees model the importance of lifelong learning.