I just saw a commercial on T.V. that terrifies me a little bit. It shows a proud young couple with their toddler who is learning to recognize numbers and letters and even learning to read through an app on his iPad.
Wow! A toddler learning to read! He’s going to be great in school, right?
Not necessarily. Because believe it or not, recognizing a few words is really only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all of the skills needed to be an automatic and independent reader.
As enticing as technology is, it’s old-fashioned playtime that helps mold young brains.
Hopefully these young parents are wise enough to provide a strong balance of non-screen time for their little guy so that he can explore his environment and develop the truly foundational and absolutely critical skills for learning that come through movement.
Crawling, pulling up on a table, rolling on the floor, climbing, jumping, reaching – what seems like just child’s play, is developing the child’s brain, honing his internal organization so that by the time he gets into school, he has the skills he needs to sit in a chair, move his eyes across the page, pay attention to the teacher, write, and learn academics.
Want to support your child’s future learning?
- Give babies tummy time!
- Give toddlers and young children lots of unstructured playtime.
- Get kids of all ages moving!
Babies are born with reflexes that help them survive and get moving in the first months of life. In the normal path of development, these reflexes integrate, taking the backseat to higher-level patterns of control. It is through movement that these reflexes integrate and it is through this process that body and attention awareness and control, visual skills, and some aspects of auditory processing are developed. If any of these early reflexes get stuck, or continue firing when not needed, they can cause interference to this process of development and to comfortable efficient learning.
When kids struggle in school, it is tempting to think that an App out there somewhere can fix it. And there certainly are some that can be really helpful. But what we know is that there are a tremendous number of underlying skills that support learning. When any of these are weak or inefficient, they can cause smart students to struggle with attention or academic skills.
The encouraging thing is that these “stuck” or retained reflexes can be integrated and weak underlying skills can be developed. When the pathways are open, the brain is available and ready to pay attention, learn, and function properly.
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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