Legs swinging, feet kicking – at the dinner table, at the homework desk, any time seated in a chair.  That was my M.O. as a child.  I wasn’t even aware of it, but obviously my mom was, because I heard the infamous, “Sit still!” very often.

I still have a tendency to fidget with my feet when sitting, but I learned long ago to be more aware and keep those pesky feet under control.

For many children, teens, or even adults with learning challenges, sitting still is not so easy.

Those Crucial Core Learning Skills

We’ve talked often about the Learning Skills Continuum, about how there are many, hierarchical skills that support efficient learning.  The bottom tier of the continuum is what we call Core Learning Skills.  These are the visual and motor skills that lay the foundation for organization, attention, and efficient movement and learning.

When there are challenges at the Core Learning Skills level, body awareness and control can become a problem.  Did you know that there is actually a reflex – the Spinal Galant – that is critical in the birthing process, but not needed much beyond the first few months of life, that can make it almost impossible for some children to sit still in a chair?  These early reflexes should basically disappear, or quit firing, but if they linger, they can interfere with attention, memory, and learning.

What’s the big Deal About Body Awareness and Control?

We all assume that something so basic as sitting in a chair, standing in a line, or moving through space without bumping into things is automatically in our control.  Chances are this is a false assumption for students who struggle repeatedly with these kinds of things.

Feeling in control is key to feeling secure.  When we can’t get our body or our limbs to do what we want them to do, it is very disconcerting and can lead to frustration, anxiety, and fear.

Check out these You Tube videos and you’ll see exactly what I mean:



If you want to better understand Core Learning Skills challenges and what can be done to correct them, check out my book (available at amazon.com):

At Wit’s End A Parent’s Guide to Ending the

Struggle, Tears, and Turmoil of Learning Disabilities

Now for a little comic relief:  Take a look at the little boy who couldn’t kick the ball paired with a dance remix.



Have a great day!

Jill Stowell

Recent Posts



Ready to take the next step?

Speak to a Learning Specialist to learn more about the results from students and parents at Stowell Learning Centers.