A paradigm, at its simplest level, is a way of understanding something.
As humans we have conscious and unconscious paradigms. The unconscious paradigm is also called the unexplored paradigm. Unexplored means that the base assumptions that make up that way of understanding something are not questioned.
As I flail around for a metaphor for the unexplored paradigm the only thing I can come up with is: the temperature indicators on the water taps. H means hot. When I turn the hot water handle hot water comes out of the tap. Right?
Well, not always.
At my abode someone brilliantly reversed this and H means cold. This led to shower surprises for me because I unconsciously believed what I had always believed, that "H means hot."
For a young person with an invisible disability such as dyslexia there may be an assumption on the part of a teacher that the child “Just needs to be read to more often.” Or perhaps the classic statement often used with students who are Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), “That child is disrespectful because he/she won’t look me in the eye when I speak with them.”
Why is it important to understand the existence of paradigms, conscious and unconscious?
When you are a parent of a child or young adult with a disability, you and your child will run into them all the time. This is true with both visible and invisible disabilities. You become a meta-thinker because you must develop an awareness of what subtexts are influencing the decision making of people who have the power to influence your child’s future. This covers therapists, care givers, administrators, parents, government bureaucrats and even the parents of your child’s friends.
A person I admire a great deal (and hope to interview for this blog) always says, “Assume competence.”
I would add, “And pay attention to paradigms.”
Does this story sound familiar? If you and your child have experienced similar challenges with school, I can help you smooth path upward toward their dreams. Book a free confidential 1:1 consultation today.