At a Parent Information Meeting recently, a mom shared about her 7-year-old’s reading challenges. She finished by saying, “I Don’t Want My Son Accommodated!”
This is not a stubborn parent or a parent in denial. Of course she wants support in place at school to help her son feel more successful. But fewer spelling words or taking tests orally, while valuable at the moment, are not going to help her son be successful.
Struggles in school are NOT typically the result of laziness, lack of motivation, or lack of smarts. The most common reason for a child to struggle in school is weak or inconsistent learning skills or what you might think of as information processing skills. These underlying skills are the critical foundation to all learning, and if they are weak or inefficient, they can cause smart children and adults to struggle.
It is natural and good to try to help people out when they struggle, so if the school is offering help to your child, you should take it. We want adults paying attention to our kids. But it’s important to understand that accommodations are not a permanent solution. They are a temporary support.
Accommodating a learning problem is kind of like teaching someone to ride a bike, with a flat tire. It’s possible to do it, but it will always take extra energy, time, and effort, and it will never be as easy and enjoyable as it should be.
And what happens when the supportive hand is no longer there?
If we want to permanently correct the learning challenge so that the student doesn’t need extra help or accommodations, we have to identify and develop the underlying processing/learning skills that are at the root of the problem, and then remediate the reading, math, spelling, or writing skills.
Brain research in the last 20 years tells us that the brain has plasticity, or the ability to change with training. Through intensive training that “stretches” an individual’s thinking, chemical and physical changes can occur in the brain. Because we know this kind of “neuro-rehabilitation” is possible, we also know that with the right tools and strategies, new, more efficient neuropathways can be developed to permanently improve student’s overall processing and performance.
Accommodations have their place, but they should not become a lifestyle!
If you know a struggling learner and are tired of accommodating the problem, JOIN US for a FREE Parent (or adult learner) Information Meeting.
Go to www.learningdisability.com for details and RSVP.
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