The Making of Winners and Learners

Parents, Pushing the Limits, and Time Make Golden Globe Winners and Change the Future for Struggling Students

GGLast night at the Golden Globe Awards, nearly every winner thanked their parents. They also thanked those who pushed them to their limits so that they could be the best they could be.

When Leonardo DiCaprio won Best Actor for The Revenant, he mentioned initial talks about the film 2 years ago.

What does this have to do with students with learning challenges?

  1. Parents, you are the anchor for your kids. I meet desperate, heartbroken, exhausted parents everyday that just want to find a way to help their kids be more confident and independent learners.  They see the potential their kids have and simply cannot understand why school is such a struggle – why homework is taking hours upon hours.  They don’t stop looking for answers and no matter what it takes, they stand right there with their child.
  1. Struggles in school related to diagnosed or undiagnosed learning disabilities or dyslexia CAN be changed, but it’s going to take some “pushing.” When students with good intelligence struggle in school, it’s usually because there are underlying learning/processing skills that are not supporting them well enough.  As a result, these students have to work harder or longer than expected.

Brain Research and our 30 years of experience show us that the brain can be retrained to process information more quickly and efficiently.  The weak underlying skills can be developed so that students CAN learn to read, write, spell, do math, communicate, and manage their time and attention more easily.

Here’s the key to this kind of cognitive training:  You have to be working on the right skills and you have to push the learner to the edge of the comfort zone.  The things that stretch us the most, will make the greatest change in the brain.

  1. Correcting learning challenges, including dyslexia, takes time. It is a process.  It is not a magic pill, but thankfully, it is not a forever process either.  When students start into our cognitive educational therapy, I know that there is going to be a period of time where they are still struggling in school and taking hours with homework, while they are starting to correct the problem.  But hang in there parents (and adult students).  With consistency, things will change.  The gap will begin to close.  But just as movies are months and years in the making, these kinds of permanent changes in learning will take time.

Most of our students spend 9 to 18 months with us, but depending upon the number and severity of challenges and the number of hours per week that a student can attend, it may be more.  What we’re after is life-changing!  Like an award winning movie, it’s worth the time and effort.

Recently a parent asked a very relevant question:  “If this is working, why is my child still failing in school?  Can’t you just work on his schoolwork?”

The student in question is 12 years old, and has very weak auditory and visual processing, reading, writing, and spelling skills.  He has good comprehension and memory, which he relied on in the primary grades, but the demands of 6th grade are just too great.  His weak skills make it impossible for him to:

  • Get all of the information taught in class
  • Take good notes
  • Get his assignments written accurately in his planner
  • Read assignments well enough to really understand them
  • Express himself on paper
  • Read test questions correctly
  • Complete tests in the time allotted

Helping this student with schoolwork may help him pass his classes by the skin of his teeth, but at the end of the school year, nothing will have changed. The same learning challenges will exist.  If we want to make a real impact on this boy’s chances as a student, we have to go after the underlying skills that are causing him to struggle in the first place.

Do you or your child struggle with speaking, reading, learning, or 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.  Need to know more??

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“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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