My father-in-law loved instruction manuals.  He would pour over the manual for any item he bought because he wanted to know exactly how it worked, all the things it could do, and what problems and solutions to expect.

But kids don’t come with instruction manuals.  So we all step into parenting a little blindly.  It’s a figure-it-out-as-you-go proposition from the start.

When we send our little 5-year-olds off to kindergarten and imagine their school years ahead, we picture happy children who love school, have friends, learn easily, make good grades, and accomplish good things.  If it doesn’t turn out this way, if they begin to struggle or feel dumb, or fight and cry over homework, many parents feel lost and confused.

Now what?  There’s no instruction manual to tell them what to do.

Parents of smart but struggling students get conflicting messages from relatives, friends, and even teachers.

  • He’s a boy – he’ll grow out of it.
  • She just needs to try harder.
  • If he was more motivated, he could do it.
  • You worry too much!

Parents may begin to second-guess themselves.  “Maybe I’m just paranoid.  Maybe there’s not really anything wrong.  I’m just over-protective.”

It’s very hard to understand how smart kids can struggle in school.  Especially when those kids have other obvious talents.  We have a center full of smart, engaging students who have talents or abilities that simply don’t seem to match their struggles in school.  They may be very artistic, musically talented, mechanical and able to put anything together without looking at the directions, verbal and social, or great at sports.

If they can do those things, why do they struggle in school?  How can a student excel in math but really struggle in reading or vice versa?  Parents shake their heads and think, “Am I just crazy?”

There are whole sets of underlying cognitive processing skills that support various types of thinking and learning.  These are skills such as attention, memory, auditory and visual processing, motor control, processing speed, language comprehension, and reasoning.  Weak or underdeveloped skills in one or more of these areas can cause smart children and adults to struggle.

Here’s what I know about moms – they just know.  They may not know what’s causing the problem, but they know there’s something.  Last week, when I explained to a mom that her daughter’s struggles were the result of mild dyslexia and weak auditory processing skills, she said, “That’s exactly what I felt, but no one believed me.  I HATE feeling crazy!”

Here’s the good news, children and adults with average to above average intelligence do not have to go through life trying to compensate for their learning challenges.  These underlying processing skills can be developed.  Most learning and attention challenges can be dramatically improved or permanently corrected.


Are you tired of feeling crazy?  Do you have a child, teen, or adult in your life who is struggling with learning?  It’s time for a change.  Here’s your next step:

JOIN US for a FREE Parent Information Night.

If you’re feeling alone as a parent trying to help your struggling student, we have a FREE parent support group (P.E.A.C.E.) that’s just for you.

For information and RSVP go to

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