Hunkered down in our condo, with the food and water hastily grabbed off the nearly empty shelves of the market, we prepared to wait out Hurricane Lane in Hawaii.  As it turned out, we were over-prepared, thankfully suffering no more than spending a windy, rainy few days indoors.

If your child has traditionally struggled in school, you may have found yourself bracing for the beginning of the school year, wondering how on earth to prepare and what overwhelming challenges this school year will bring.

Struggles in school are not generally something you can “wait out.”  Students may get more savvy at coping with them, but the challenges don’t typically just disappear with time.

At a recent Parent Information Night, a couple shared that their 8th grade son, Jack, had always struggled, but somehow always managed.  They had come to the realization that he wasn’t lazy or unmotivated; that in fact, he was putting out excessive effort in spite of the just-barely-making-it grades.  With high school looming ahead, they realized that waiting out the challenges just wasn’t going to be enough.

At our parent night, we talked about how smart kids who struggle in school are not lazy, or unmotivated, or, most importantly, not doomed to a life of continued setbacks and frustration due to learning and attention challenges.

Traditional tutoring and help at school, while supportive, does not generally solve the problem, and parents are routinely told that their bright child is just going to have to find ways to cope with or compensate for their learning challenge.

What we know from the brain research and our over 30 years working with children and adults with learning disabilities, dyslexia, and other learning and attention challenges, is that most of these struggles can be dramatically improved or completely corrected.  A lifetime of accommodations and working under potential is simply not necessary.

Here’s what it takes:

The skills needed for learning can be placed on a continuum, with academic and school subjects up at the top.  Building up to and supporting those skills are whole sets of underlying skills that need to be in place.  When the underlying skills are weak, it can cause you to have to work harder and longer than expected and it will most likely affect your attention – even if you’re smart and even if you’re motivated.

In order to make permanent changes, we have to identify and develop the weak underlying skills that are not supporting the student well enough, as well as remediating the reading, writing, spelling, math, speaking, comprehension or whatever higher areas are affected.

This is not a magic bullet and certainly takes time and commitment, but it is not a forever process.  By getting started now, at the beginning of 8th grade, things should look very different for Jack when he starts high school.

Does your child struggle with homework, 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 identifying and developing the weak underlying skills and remediating the affected academic areas.  Are you ready for a change?

JOIN US for a FREE Information Night.

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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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