Raising Fourth of July Kids

I’m a great believer in the American Dream.  I grew up in a family where anything was possible.  We didn’t have a whole lot of money, but my parents always told us kids that we could do anything we put our mind to.

As I’m writing this, we’re just coming up to Fourth of July – Independence Day.


Independent kids

Isn’t that ultimately what all parents want for their kids?  And, in fact, what kids want for themselves?  To be able to do it on their own?  To be independent?

When smart kids struggle in school, their parents find themselves tied to the kitchen table facilitating (or doing) homework for hours and hours.  They wonder if there will ever be a time when their children can do their homework on their own.

Independence and the American Dream take more than just belief – though that’s a big-time, important starting point.  Having the skills to do the job and do it on your own is also a key piece of the puzzle.

My daughter is a figure skater.  She loved skating from the first day she got on the ice at 6 years old and always wanted to make a career out of it.  She has now been all over the world skating with Disney on Ice and believe it or not, found the only university in the country where she could minor in Figure Skating Science.

She pursued her dream and I am so proud of her doing it!  But she couldn’t have done it without the skills.

When I look at our students, they have plenty of smarts and plenty of talent in various areas.  What they also have are roadblocks to learning that are getting in the way of them developing the skills they need to become the independent students that they have the potential to be.

 If our ultimate goal is for students to become comfortable, confident,

independent learners, free to pursue their dreams,

we have to look below the surface of their academic challenges.

When smart kids struggle with basic academic skills such as reading, writing, spelling, math, or comprehension, there is almost always something in the underlying learning/processing skills that is not supporting the learner well enough.

An Approach to Learning That Leads to Independence

Academic and social success depends upon a solid foundation of cognitive learning skills.  If you think about these skills like a ladder or a continuum, academics and school subjects are at the very top.  Many other skills must be in place in order to learn easily at the top of the ladder.  When the underlying skills, or skills lower on the continuum are weak, they may keep children and adults from learning and functioning as well and as independently as they should.

Brain research on neuroplasticity has proven that through targeted and intensive training, the brain can literally change and grow.  New and permanent neuropathways or connections can be made that will allow individuals to learn new skills and process information more effectively.

Addressing the weak underlying skills on the Learning Skills Continuum has a profound impact on students’ lives, increasing their confidence, academic success, options for the future, and independence.

Here’s to a safe, happy Fourth of July, and helping smart, but struggling students become independent learners!

Jill Stowell


Want to stop being tethered to the kitchen table doing homework? 

JOIN US for a FREE parent information meeting to find out how to start your child on the road to independence before the next school starts.

Go to www.learningdisability.com for dates and RSVP.

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