Ben Mitchell

Difference, not disability

Once traditionally considered disabilities, conditions like ADHD, dyslexia, and autism actually represent the diversity of neurological processing styles. But will the educational community catch on and respect people — students and teachers alike — as neurological minorities?

I live in fear. I'm terrified each time I face the scrutiny of power-possessing individuals from the majority population.

I have learned over 50 years as a neurological minority that my best hope of survival depends on my ability to pretend to be something I am not, to hide my nature, to pass as “normal.”

In first grade I was formally diagnosed with dyslexia and hyperactivity, and I have lived most of my life in the shadow of that diagnosis - seven years of Orton-Gillingham tutorials to learn basic reading, seven years to graduate from college, a life of teaching atypical students.

Even though I have taught at the college level for decades, published articles and books, and even acquired positions of moderate importance in academia, I continually find myself at the mercy of people who confuse their inherent neurological privilege with superior merit.

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The promise

We are pitted against one another in an epic struggle for few opportunities. Is it any wonder that suicide is on the rise?

One recent day, I came home from work, worn out and broke as usual. As soon as I entered the house, I could tell something was wrong, a foreboding hung in the spring air. “What's going on?” I chirped with all the forced optimism of a seasoned classroom teacher.

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Time to return control of our state resources to the people

I am the Liberty Union candidate for lieutenant governor of Vermont. My basic platform is to return control of our state resources to the people. The framers of the Constitution were quite careful to build systems - checks and balances - to prevent any individual or small group of...

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William Sorrell, stand up for Vermont interests

As a perennial left-field candidate, I would like to issue a public statement to Attorney General William Sorrell regarding the Vermont Yankee decision. Obviously, I was disappointed by the Jan. 19 ruling by Judge J. Garvan Murtha on the continued operation of the Vermont Yankee nuclear reactor. I am concerned that the beating Sorrell received last year from the Roberts court - over the state law against pharmaceutical industry using private records to intimidate and bully our doctors - will...

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Christmas in the aisle of Santa’s Land

A number of years ago, after having unsuccessfully applied for any and every job in the newspaper (and hanging the rejection letter from the Brattleboro dump right next to my undergraduate diploma), I was offered a position as a client advocate for the Windham County Day Program. I was an independent contractor, working 20 hours a week at $8 per hour, with no benefits, no vacations. My responsibility was to drive around with people who had developmental disabilities and “integrate...

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