I just read a great article at additudemag.com - "I knew I was smart." I think these days things are better than they were 10 or 20 years ago (in terms of identifying and accommodating learning disabilities and developmental disorders), but I still wish there were more focused efforts in schools toward not expecting all children to fit the same educational mold.
As a piano teacher I feel that if a student isn't learning a concept, it is my responsibility to find another way to present it. I know that one-on-one instruction is very different than managing a classroom of 20 children, but somehow I think this idea still applies.
At any rate . . . the author of this article found a way to be successful in life, because she (eventually) found a way to focus her quirks to her advantage. She also had the support of a parent who pushed her and kept her focused during college. (I have to wonder where parental support was in her younger years, but she doesn't mention that.)
One last thought . . . this article is a perfect example of how intelligence doesn't necessarily translate to success in school. I love when she says "At age 5, I could figure out instructional diagrams, assemble furniture, and hook up stereo equipment." One of the things I try to focus on with Jake is zeroing in on his talents and skills - random though they may be - and helping him to develop those and feel good about them. The fact that my child can hold his own in a two hour Monopoly game (and usually win) is more important to me than the fact that at 7 he still can't tie his shoes. We can always buy velcro. :)