Updated: Dec 30, 2019
Recently, Luis A. Miranda, Jr (@Vegalteno) blew us away with a Twitter post. It was an evaluation by his then-6th grade son's English teacher. You have probably heard of his son... Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel on Twitter) who wrote the Broadway blockbuster, Hamilton. He has won a Pulitzer Prize, three Tony Awards, three Grammy Awards, an Emmy Award, a MacArthur Fellowship, and a Kennedy Center Honor in 2018.
There are two amazing things about the 6th grade evaluation. First, it's likely that Lin had some form of dysgraphia - which was not commonly diagnosed back then. Second, he had an unbelievable teacher who recognized it and suggested appropriate accomodations so that it didn't hold him back.
"Lin has some problems with the physical act of writing. I have suggested that he tape record some of his work. He has wonderful thought. I don't want the writing part to stand in his way."
And the accomodations worked and are part of his creative process even to this day. An article in the New Yorker talks about how Lin still writes while in motion - walking his dog, riding the subway - while using the voice memo and recording functions on his phone.
The takeways here are three-fold:
First, every student and adult who is struggling with your writing should be inspired. It's your creativity and knowledge that matter. Not your ability to write it down.
Second, use the accomodations that can help you. They are not a sign of weakness, they are a way to unleash your strength. Glasses help people see better; here is a clear example of how voice memos can make you write better.
Third, teachers, tutors, OTs - you are making a difference. Support of students with learning differences can help them reach their full potential. Maybe you can inspire them to someday win a Pulitzer Prize like Lin-Manuel Miranda's 6th grade teacher.
Everyone should remember Lin's description of Alexander Hamilton himself from the opening song of the show. We believe in you and know that you all can go a lot farther.
Here are some options if you want to voice-record your work:
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