Creative, Talented, Smart, And Struggling – Confusing But Not Uncommon

Last night, in Uniondale, New York, Ringling Brothers Circus performed its last show.  After 146 years, is has closed forever.  Regardless of what side of the animal rights issue you’re on, you have to appreciate the incredible talent of the performers.

When I think of creative, talented people, my mind always goes to our students.  In spite of the struggles that they have with reading, or other aspects of school, I am continually amazed by the creative brilliance many of them exhibit.

Children with learning disabilities often have what seem like extreme strengths and weaknesses. They may excel in sports or in artistic, creative, or mechanical arenas. They may be the one the family turns to when something is broken, because somehow, they can just “see” how to fix it.

This is one of the confusing things about children with learning challenges. How can they be so talented in one area but do so poorly in others? It is encouraging to know that many actors, inventors, business leaders, and sports celebrities had dyslexia or other learning disabilities and “made it.” But it’s also important to keep in mind that only a very few people actually win the Olympics, build Fortune 500 companies, or invent something life-changing like the light bulb. We need to celebrate the accomplishments and strengths of our children, but we cannot assume that a child’s talents will override his challenges if he struggles with learning.

I once had a dad say of his eleven-year-old son, “He doesn’t need to read well. He’s going to be a professional ball player.” I sincerely hope that turned out to be the case, but at eleven years old, do we really want to count on that?

Research tells us that 30% of the population has some degree of difficulty with the auditory skill that supports reading. That’s 10 kids in every classroom  – approximately 16 million children – in school today who are struggling to some degree.  While many are getting support, most are not getting the help they need to eliminate the problem.

Learning problems can affect every arena of our lives – not just in school but in relationships and work, too.  Children and adults with learning and attention challenges do not have to go through life limited or crippled by them.  Most learning and attention challenges including learning disabilities and dyslexia can be corrected.

I feel a real urgency to get this message out to parents of struggling students.

The first step is identifying the real cause of the problem.  This almost always lies in the underlying learning/processing skills.  When any of these foundational skills (such as memory, attention, auditory, or visual processing) are weak, it can cause students to have to work harder, longer, and less successfully than they should.  These underlying skills can be developed.

If your child is struggling with attention or learning and you are ready for a real change…here is your next step:

JOIN US for a FREE Parent Information Night.  Learn what’s going on when bright kids struggle in school and what can be done to change that.

Click here for details and RSVP:


“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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