Statement by James H. Wendorf, Executive Director Emeritus of National Center for Learning Disabilities, Condemns Inaccurate Statements about Learning Disabilities Made by Member of National Transportation Safety Board

Written May 6, 2016

Statement by James H. Wendorf, Executive Director Emeritus of National Center for Learning Disabilities, Condemns Inaccurate Statements about Learning Disabilities Made by Member of National Transportation Safety Board

On behalf of our nation’s 1 in 5 children and adults with learning and attention issues, the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) denounces comments made on May 3rd by Robert L. Sumwalt, a member of the National Transportation Safety Board, when he described the long-term deficiencies of Washington, DC’s Metrorail system as evidence of a “severe learning disability.”

Mr. Sumwalt continued to state that learning disabilities are “tragic in children, and fatal for organizations.” His comments came at a public hearing as the NTSB finalized a report on the January 2015 Metrorail smoke incident, which resulted in the death of one train passenger and exposed numerous flaws of one of the nation’s largest public transit systems.

Make no mistake about it, having a learning disability is not “tragic.” What is tragic is the inaccurate and damaging myth perpetuated by Mr. Sumwalt’s faulty comparison.   Indeed, many successful entrepreneurs, artists and national leaders show that having a learning disability does not limit opportunities to succeed or excel.

We invite Mr. Sumwalt to learn about learning disabilities. NCLD is ready to help him understand that individuals with learning disabilities are limited only by the misconceptions held by others, not by their desire or ability to learn.

The mission of NCLD is to improve the lives of the one in five children and adults nationwide with learning and attention issues—by empowering parents and young adults, transforming schools and advocating for equal rights and opportunities. We’re working to create a society in which every individual possesses the academic, social and emotional skills needed to succeed in school, at work and in life.

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