I was about 12 when men first landed on the moon. I remember Neil Armstrong making his famous statement, “That’s one small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind.”
I have to admit; I didn’t quite appreciate how profound that moment and that statement were.
Everyday, I get to see students with different degrees of learning challenges make tiny steps that are actually giant leaps in their world. I’ll change the names here, but I want to share some of these tiny steps with you:
- Angie was able to keep each eye focused on a target for 5 seconds
- Jason was able to run to first base without looking uncoordinated and awkward
- Lacey got 100% on her spelling test
- Allen didn’t fall asleep during his History lecture
- Marcy was able to read a page and sound out unfamiliar words with no help
- Jackson recognized that his voice was too loud and lowered his volume
- Al talked his way through a math problem without coaching
- Jan, an adult student, managed her day without getting overloaded and anxious
- Josh got started on his homework without being reminded
- Sara wrote a paper that was legible on the first try
- Amy read a whole page without the letters and words moving around
- Cal recognized a b without having to consciously think about it
- Max set the table and fed the dog with only one reminder
When learning and paying attention is easy for you, it’s hard to look at any of these tiny steps as profound. I mean, can’t everyone sit in a chair without wiggling? Can’t everyone pay attention in a lecture, get a decent grade on a spelling test, keep their eyes focused on whatever they’re supposed to be looking at, and follow simple directions?
All it really takes is being smart enough and caring enough to just do it! Right?
If the underlying learning/processing skills that support easy efficient learning are all working for you; then absolutely, all it takes is a little motivation. Students with strong underlying skills go through their day sitting in chairs, moving through space, focusing their eyes, paying attention, and doing their work in a timely manner AUTOMATICALLY. They don’t even have to think about it. They get to put their attention and energy on the new content they are learning, the sport they are playing, or the social communication they are involved in.
Our students with learning challenges are plenty smart. But their attention and energy is stressed and diverted by all the underlying skills that are not automatic and not supporting them well enough.
Each tiny step towards improving those underlying skills and closing the gap between potential and performance is a huge leap in the right direction.
CELEBRATE the tiny steps.
They are hard-won GIANT Leaps!
In honor of DYSLEXIA AWARENESS MONTH, we would love to invite anyone with an interest in learning more about how to correct learning challenges, to stop by one of our centers and pick-up a FREE copy of the book:
At Wit’s End A Parent’s Guide to Ending the Struggle, Tears, and Turmoil of Learning Disabilities
Also available at amazon.com
Visit us at: Stowell Learning Center 15192 Central Ave. Chino, CA 91710
Stowell Learning Center 1150 Main St. Suite C, Irvine CA 92614
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