Homework is traditionally a battle of wills and tears at eight-year-old Sam’s house because he is so frustrated and struggles so much with reading.
The day his mom got him some (secretly) plain glass glasses, Sam was ecstatic. He told her, “Now I can be smart!”
Two thoughts struck me when Sam’s mom shared this with me:
- Struggling learners may look rebellious or lazy or unmotivated, but they desperately want to be capable, successful students.
- I was glad Sam’s mom was at one of our parent information meetings when she shared this, because Sam’s euphoria at getting glasses probably wasn’t going to last very long. There are real solutions to reading and learning problems including dyslexia, but like the plain glass glasses, many of the supports we give kids who struggle have a temporary effect.
The really tricky thing about children or adults with diagnosed or undiagnosed learning disabilities is that they are, by definition, smart. They have at least average intelligence and are often much higher than average.
But they don’t feel smart. They look around the classroom and see that the other kids finish their assignments quicker and get better grades. They know their friends are out playing after school while they are still at the kitchen table battling over homework.
Parents know their kids are capable. They hear the clever things they say that aren’t related to school. Or see the creative things they create. Or witness the kind and caring gestures, or the sports victories, or the building of intricate Lego structures.
So the poor performance in school and struggles over homework can look like lack of motivation or interest. Maybe just plain laziness.
Regardless of what it looks like, every parent I’ve ever come across wants their child to be happy and will do just about anything to help them.
So Sam’s mom got him some glasses so he could feel smarter. Thankfully, Sam is also going to get an assessment at the learning center and some help to permanently resolve the problem.
There are many underlying thinking/processing skills that support easy, comfortable reading and learning. If some of these skills are weak or inefficient, it can cause even really smart kids to struggle.
Thankfully, the brain is truly amazing and those underlying skills can be re-trained so that the academic skills can be remediated and learning can be easier and more fun.
I can’t wait to hear Sam say, “I’m smart even without my glasses!”
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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