Spring Flowers and Special Stressors for Struggling Students

SPWe are getting one of those rare rain showers here in Southern California this morning.  It’s pretty amazing to me how instantly the hills and lawns green up with a little bit of rain.  Spring showers really do bring flowers!

Year after year, we have seen that spring also seems to bring with it some special stressors for families, especially those with struggling students.  I think Spring Fever is a real thing!  As students, parents, and teachers hit the home stretch before summer, anxiousness increases.

  • There are pollens in the air causing allergies and accompanying irritability to flair.
  • Everyone has been pushing hard and by this point in the year, they’re starting to get tired.
  • Teachers are feeling the pressure of all the curriculum they haven’t yet covered and have to get in before the end of the school year.
  • Kids and parents are feeling the pressure of higher expectations and greater homework load.
  • Spring sports have started, adding practices and games to an already busy schedule.

In addition to the typical spring stressors, we are seeing the impact of Common Core instruction on our students and families. Students are having trouble keeping up even in subjects, such as math, that they used to excel in because of the higher reading and writing demand.

More and more, parents are afraid that their children will have to repeat a grade.  They wonder if their children and teens are just not motivated enough.

We know from working with thousands of children and adults with learning challenges over the last 30 years, that truly correcting diagnosed and undiagnosed learning disabilities is possible.  It is also a process.  And springtime seems to be the hardest time for families to be patient with the process.

When a bright child or teen struggles academically, there is almost always some area of underlying learning skills (such as attention, memory, auditory or visual processing, comprehension, processing speed, reasoning, or mental organization) that is keeping the student from learning and applying reading, writing, spelling, or math skills as easily as she should.

Really correcting the academic challenge requires developing the weak underlying learning skills as well as remediating the reading, writing, spelling, or math.  This takes time, intensity, and consistency.

For us at Stowell Learning Center, it means remaining focused on the process and the real goal of sending students out as confident, independent learners.  It means that sessions will be spent on developing the skills that will ultimately change the student’s future.  It also means, that in most cases, we will not be working on homework.

Our parents really get this and they are so committed to the process.  But this time of year really takes its toll.  Grades and test scores may not have improved or improved enough yet.  The end of the year is looming and everyone is worried.

I just want to say to parents, if you’re with us or in some other therapy that you know is addressing the underlying roadblocks to your child’s learning:

Hang in there!  You’re doing something amazing and life-changing for your child.  It’s going to take time, but it won’t take forever, and things will change!

Here are a few other notes for parents:

  1. Repeating a grade will not solve a learning problem. Retention is exactly the right solution for a young child who is developmentally young (immature) for his age or chronologically young for his grade, but it is not a solution for dyslexia or learning problems.
  1. Kids and teens may seem unmotivated, but this is a coping strategy, not the real issue. I don’t know any students who wants to fail, but I know many who put out so much energy trying to get through the school day, that they just don’t have a lot of steam left for homework when they get home where it’s safe to let down.
  1. As you well know, homework, tests, and projects don’t go on hold while your child is working with us or others to correct their learning challenges. If you are not already getting them, go to learningdisability.com and register for our Weekly Homework Tips.  These are practical strategies dealing with all different aspects of homework, organization, and test study that can help you work with your child more effectively and easily.
  1. Often one parent works more with the child on homework than the other. For the parent who doesn’t work with the child on homework on a regular basis, it may be hard to see the invaluable changes that are happening in sessions with us or other therapies.  I encourage those parents to come observe a session.  See how hard your child is working and celebrate the changes in thinking, reading, spelling, writing, math, and attention that are occurring on a regular basis.
  1. Better grades are a realistic goal, but they are not the only measure of progress and not typically the first thing to change.
  1. Summer is good time to work more intensively at Stowell Learning Center or at other therapies that are addressing the real issues so that students can make as much change as possible before the next school year without the stress of homework.

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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For information and RSVP go to www.learningdisabiy.com


“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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