“I just want my son to love school again,” said a mom at a recent parent information meeting. She went on to share that the summer before her son began kindergarten, he was so excited about starting school that he asked repeatedly, “Can I start today?”
That’s how learning should feel! Like an adventure that we just can’t wait to start!
But this boy, who started off so excited, now marks off each day on the calendar until he can get to a day with no school. He counted down the days to the end of his second grade year in relief.
What saps the excitement out of learning? The same thing that saps the excitement out of anything – lack of success.
It is hard for parents, friends, relatives, and even some teachers to understand how a smart child can struggle in school. After all, everyone does it and its not rocket science, right?
But learning requires tools. Just as a carpenter has sets of specific tools to create and build with, are there whole sets of underlying physical and mental tools that need to be in place in order to learn comfortably and effectively in school. When any of these underlying tools, or learning skills, are weak, it can cause students to have to work harder and longer than expected, and often with lesser results.
Children and teens spend a huge amount of time in school. Struggling students may find ways to compensate for their challenges, but after awhile, those compensations take their toll in time, effort, energy, attention, and motivation.
A carpenter wouldn’t dream of using a screwdriver to do a job that requires a hammer. So why would we expect a student to perform in school without the right tools?
I think the real answer to this question is that parents and most educators simply don’t understand what the underlying learning skills are and more importantly that they can be developed.
We tend to accept that students have dyslexia, auditory or visual processing disorders, attention deficits, and learning disabilities, and try to support them and give them “work-arounds,” but you rarely hear people talking about actually correcting these challenges.
However, it is absolutely possible for a smart but struggling student to learn to love school again. The underlying skills that support learning can be developed. Like the carpenter, they can access the right tools for the job.
We have worked with thousands of children and adults over the past 30 years, developing the needed underlying learning skills and remediating the affected reading, writing, spelling, or math skills. We know it’s possible, and the brain research over the past 25 years proves that the brain can literally re-wire.
I remember working with a boy with severe dyslexia and attention challenges when he was in the 3rd grade. It was not a quick fix – we worked with him from 3rd to 6th grade – but when he went on to junior high, no one could believe that he had struggled in school. By high school, he was able to play sports and independently handle honors classes.
As an elementary student, Kris hated school and tried to avoid it at all costs, but as his learning skills and reading changed, he found that he actually liked learning! When I ran into his mom a few years ago, she shared that Kris is an avid student and had just gone back to school for a second maters degree.
We want students to love school again. And we know that it is possible!
Do you or your child struggle with reading, writing, spelling, math, attention? These challenges can be changed. While there are no simple, overnight solutions, most learning and attention challenges can be dramatically improved or completely corrected through developing the weak underlying skills and remediating the affected academic areas. Ready for a change??
JOIN US for a FREE Information Night.
For information and RSVP go to www.learningdisability.com
“Helping smart but struggling students dramatically improve or completely correct their learning and attention challenges by developing the underlying learning skills that are not supporting the learner well enough.”
We serve children and adults with diagnosed or undiagnosed learning and attention challenges including learning disabilities, dyslexia, ADHD, auditory processing disorders, and autism spectrum disorders.
Jill Stowell, M.S.
Author: At Wit’s End A Parent’s Guide to Ending the Struggle Tears, and Turmoil of Learning Disabilities
Founder and Executive Director – Stowell Learning Centers
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