Sunday, 3 November 2013

Carlyn Ryklief: We All Have Special Needs

Karyn’s Introduction:

 He aha te mea nui o tēnei ao? Māku i kī atu, he tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata

We all have Special Needs

A childhood marred led to my interest in what makes humans do the seemingly inhuman.  

In 1963 Stanley Milgram at Yale examined justifications for acts of genocide offered by those accused at the World War II, Nuremberg War Criminal trials. 

Perpetrators all find excuses, from the schoolyard bully to psychopaths. 

Though personally motivated by emotional special needs, the term extends to the physical and cognitive.  Teachers largely address the latter two. 

At TKAS I have worked with students who have been diagnosed with Down syndrome, Autism, Hearing loss, Developmental Delay and Undines Curse.  Most special needs are not diagnosed.  Relief from acute shyness, despair, fear, depression, anger, emotional pain are only addressed during extreme displays. 

Effective teaching presupposes knowledge of causes and manifestations of conditions.  These are often extremely complex. 

Developments in neuroscience and social neurobiology increasingly reveal genetic, physiological and chemical influences on thought and behavior.  

Some important things I’ve learnt are:

  • That which is most personal, is most universal 

  • Every act of communication is an act of translation.

  • The genetic difference between humans and chimps is less than 2%, 

  • The genetic difference between the most and least gifted person is 0.1%

  • He aha te mea nui o tēnei ao? Māku i kī atu, he tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata
If you were to ask me, “What is the most important thing in this world?
I would say, Tis people, tis people, tis people” 
i.e. not programs, products or policies

  • I’ve never taught a child with special needs, who didn’t teach me more.

  • We all have special needs



  1. Well said. Thank you.

  2. You are a gem Carlyn! I love the first insight.That which is most personal is most universal. This relates to the old saying "treat others like you would like to be treated yourself." This reminds me of the deep connection we all share. and yes I agree we are all special needs. well written..I'll be revisiting this more than once.

  3. Thank you. If only it was original. You've heard the expression "some of my thoughts are good and some are original.

    Unfortunately the parts that are good are not original, and the parts that are original.." You know the rest. The last 2 points are original though.

    I loved that insight too. I wish I knew it as a teen when I thought no one in the world could possibly know what I'm going through. Hah !

    And about being gem... did you know we are all literally made from stardust?
    (not original either)

  4. I have truly enjoyed watching your style of communication as it translates in action... you love what you do, and that translates in all you say and do