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In this Episode
In this episode of the LD Expert Podcast, we're talking with Dr. John Danial, Clinical Director at Simi Psychological Group, about "stealth dyslexia" and the trauma of undiagnosed and untreated learning challenges.
When students struggle with reading, math or other aspects of school, there are almost always underlying processing skills that are weak or inefficient that become roadblocks to learning. Mental health is critically important.
In addition, it is important to recognize that kids do not just grow out of learning challenges. The only way to make real and permanent change is to identify and develop those underlying skills - to retrain the brain to process information more effectively in order to eliminate the struggles associated with dyslexia and other learning disabilities.
In this week's episode, you'll learn:
- What "Stealth Dyslexia" is
- Why it can be traumatic for kids to have undiagnosed learning challenges
- How learning challenges can affect mental health
- Why psychoeducational testing is important
"Testing and diagnosis is an important first step towards creating a plan to strengthen weak underlying skills so that kids do not have to continue living with the daily chronic trauma of going to school."
- Jill Stowell
Dr. John Danial, Clinical Director at Simi Psychological Group
- Simi Psychological Group
- Simi Psychological Group on Facebook
- LD Expert Live - Recognizing Dyslexia, with Dr. Dan Peters
- Stowell Learning Center's Learning Skills Continuum (Download)
- Take the Stone Out of the Shoe - Chapter 7: Recognizing Challenges with Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, and Basic Academics
- Dyslexia Information and Resources
LD Expert Podcast - Episode #52
Stealth Dyslexia and the Trauma of Undiagnosed and Untreated Learning Challenges
Jill Stowell: If you’re a parent, you want your child to have confidence and feel great about themselves. It just goes with the territory. But what if something that you can’t see and you don’t really understand seems to be chipping away at your child’s self-esteem?
Welcome to the LD Expert Podcast, your place for answers and solutions for dyslexia and learning differences.
Jill Stowell: Today we’re talking about stealth dyslexia and the trauma of undiagnosed and untreated learning challenges. I’m your host Jill Stowell, founder and Executive Director of Stowell Learning Centers and author of Take the Stone out of the Shoe: A Must-Have Guide to Understanding, Supporting and Correcting Dyslexia, Learning and Attention Challenges.
Having dyslexia or a learning disability affects more than just your child. It affects you and the whole family. My goal for this podcast is to equip parents with knowledge and practical tools for understanding and helping your child.
If this episode brings up any questions for you, go to stowellcenter.com and give us a call. We would love to talk to you.
Today it is my pleasure to introduce Dr. John Danial to our discussion. Dr. Danial is a licensed clinical psychologist whose primary focus is working with children and adolescents and their families. He is the clinical director of Simi Psychological Group, a wonderful group of therapists that we are so happy to have near our center in Thousand Oaks, California.
Dr. John Danial: Thank you so much, Jill.
Jill Stowell: It’s so nice to have you with us.
Dr. John Danial: Thank you.
Jill Stowell: You were telling me that your mission is to get to the true root of the struggles so that families can get real and lasting changes and I totally resonate with that because it’s so in line with our philosophy. I feel like when you work with people, especially children and teens, the symptoms you see on the surface are rarely the whole picture. I’m sure you see that in your practice too.
Dr. John Danial: Definitely, yeah, and a lot of times we jump to, “OK. How can we fix or treat the symptoms that we’re seeing?” But when we dig a little deeper and understand what that child might be experiencing or feeling about themselves or really what’s happening within the family, we’re much better at being able to treat what we’re seeing.
Jill Stowell: Right. You know, people sometimes talk about a Band-Aid approach and I think that happens a lot. We see a symptom and we just want to fix it, you know. But there’s always something a little deeper going on and speaking of what you see on the surface might not always be what’s going on underneath.
I want to start our discussion with stealth dyslexia. Stealth dyslexia is a fairly recent term that’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like. These are children or even adults who read well enough and have good enough coping skills that they don’t look like they have a problem.
This is actually not exclusive to dyslexia but to other learning disabilities as well because these students are often quite bright and figure out ways to manage. So John from a mental health standpoint, what does it do to kids when they are such good compensators that their difficulties go unrecognized?
Dr. John Danial: Well, a lot of times, what can happen is the – especially with these really bright kiddos, it starts to affect their confidence in just their intelligence or comparing themselves to other kids and what we don’t realize a lot of the times is they can make it by like you’re saying with all these compensation methods that are borrowing from how bright they are.
But it feels exhausting or it takes so much energy and effort and actually a lot of times if they’re avoiding the reading task, if it’s for dyslexia or homework in general or it can come across that at the surface that they’re lazy or just not trying hard enough or when in fact it’s just how much effort has to go in.
Then over time, that’s just so exhausting for a kiddo and for a family and for parents and just kind of trudging through, getting all that work done because we’re not realizing how much effort it’s actually taking.
Jill Stowell: Yeah, and, you know, we had a guest on our LD Expert Live Broadcast, Dr. Dan Peters, who shared that he wasn’t diagnosed with dyslexia until he was 40 and even though he was an accomplished psychologist and speaker and author, he carried around this feeling his whole life, that he wasn’t enough because he knew how much effort it took and how taxing it was for him even though, you know, it wasn’t really obvious outside of himself.
Dr. John Danial: Yeah, yeah, and I think we can think about it just homework but also just during the day and as kids get older, the reading demands start to be. So younger age, there’s reading and then there’s science time and then there are all these different subjects. But as kids get older, it’s all reading. In science, you have to read the book. You have to read the questions. You have to – so everything becomes so exhausting if there’s an issue in the way a child is visually processing that information or the reading processes impacted in that way.
Jill Stowell: Absolutely. Kids really want to do well and I find that especially in the primary grades, kids can memorize the stories. So it can look like they can read at school and parents are told that their child is doing fine. But at home, it’s a different story because now, the child is in an emotionally safe space. There are no peers around and they’re tired from all that mental effort.
So then they dig in when it comes to doing homework or reading and the teacher might say that the child is doing fine because they look fine at school. So then we see that parents begin to second guess themselves and I’m sure you must see that too. How do you find that having a child with learning challenges affects the parent?
Dr. John Danial: Yeah, and just to add to that dynamic that you’re describing, a lot of times they are doing fine if we just look at the grade or the – that outcome or they’re within the range that feels like OK. But a lot of times what else I run into is parents are also so exhausted because the teachers don’t necessarily see how much of a struggle homework time is or how much the parent is kind of pushing the child through that work and there’s a lot of times such a big strain on homework time and unfortunately, society-wise, if we kind of zoom out to that level, we put a lot of emphasis on grades and academics and of how well a child is doing.
As parents, we tend to feel like OK, how well the child is doing academically, how well I’m doing and now there’s all this pressure on these academic tasks that in my opinion shouldn’t be the child’s primary goal but it’s a big part of their life and now there’s all this pressure on it and parents are struggling to get the kids through it but don’t want to burn out the kids, but they’re feeling burned out themselves and there’s just such an impact on that amount of effort we see when there are these learning challenges and parents really trying to support their children through them.
Jill Stowell: Yeah, and, you know, it’s really hard to teach your own kids. I mean I – that’s what I do for a living and I would have my son say to me, “You don’t know mom. That’s not what the teacher said.” I would be like, “Yeah, I do know.” But for a lot of parents, I mean they’re not teachers but they find themselves in – that they have to be the teacher, the tutor, the therapist and I’m sure that – well, I see it with parents. They say, “I just want to be the mom. I just want to be the parent.”
So I’m sure you’re seeing the impact on relationships in the family.
Dr. John Danial: Absolutely. First of all, my daughter is only in kindergarten and I’m already getting that. So I can only imagine and it is just what you’re saying. As parents, we’re asked to put on all these different hats and it’s not necessarily what’s going to be best for our child or the family and definitely not when I have to be therapist and teacher and I can’t also be parent.
We want that to be the most important thing. So that’s a big goal that we have when we’re working with our families is actually helping the parent give themselves permission to let that be the primary thing. How can I support the way my child is feeling? How can I respond to the – how overwhelming it might feel, if we’re talking about homework or whatever else? How can I make space for allowing that as part of how I’m supporting them?
And then getting them and myself as a parent support in the background, whether it be through school or through the services that you all provide or with therapy. So I don’t have to wear all these hats and feel stretched so thin and then really trusting that that’s enough. That’s more than enough as a parent to sit with how my child is feeling and support them and help them feel like I see. I see you and I’m here to help you and support you.
A lot of times that can quiet down this kind of tug of war or butting heads that happens at homework time and actually let that go a little more smoothly too.
Jill Stowell: Wow. I just feel like that was profound for parents to feel like I have permission to just be the parent because as the parent, we really are able to see and empathize with where our kids are but when we’re under all this pressure to reteach and to get homework done and sometimes I think we forget that. So I love that. Thank you for that.
I really do hear these kinds of stressors from so many parents. So parents who are out there listening, what is one of the hardest things for you about having a child who struggles in school? Post it in the comments.
John, well, that was just a great piece of advice. Do you have any other advice for parents whose children are struggling in school that you want to share?
Dr. John Danial: So what comes to mind for most is a little of what I was saying earlier. There tends to be this automatic kind of pressure on how am I doing, being rated by how am I doing in school, and we don’t really want that for kids. Even kids that are doing well in school, we don’t want that to become their whole identity either.
So really thinking about where does my child excel? Where are they the most interested? How do they learn? Because a lot of kids, it’s not an issue with learning. It’s an issue with learning the way school might be teaching. But it doesn’t mean that they can’t learn with more hands-on or tangible kind of support.
So really following where is my child’s interest. Is it in sport? Is it in building? Is it in cooking? Is it in – and the possibilities are endless. But finding that place that they really feel, hey, this is for me and I’m good at it or it’s natural for me or I’m excited about it. We really want to make space for that and also make that a big priority and maybe fight the urge to make school the only priority or the even top priority.
So I think that’s a big thing that we found success with too with the families that we work with.
Jill Stowell: Great, thank you. At the learning centers, we operate from the perspective that children do well when they can. They want to please us and when they can’t, there are underlying skills that are getting in the way, that are creating road blocks to learning as easily as they could be in school. So I want to share a resource with our listeners to give you a better picture of these underlying skills.
If you go to stowellcenter.com/continuum, you can download a copy of our Learning Skills Continuum. We will put the link in the show notes too for you. So the Learning Skills Continuum shows that learning builds kind of like a ladder and academics and school skills are up at the top of the ladder and the rungs underneath are whole sets of skills that need to be solid and in place to support the academic learning at the top.
The main areas are neurodevelopmental or core learnings at the bottom, processing skills and then executive function. What I like about this download is that it shows you all the different kinds of skills that fall in these areas and when any of these skills are weak or underdeveloped, it can cause the student to have to work harder or longer than expected even if they’re really bright and they’re getting support and they’re trying really hard and that chips away at their self-esteem and confidence.
But here’s the thing that I want parents and teachers to know. These weak, underlying skills can be developed. The brain research and clinical evidence solidly shows that new, more effective connections – that’s the word I was looking for. Connections or neuro pathways in the brain can be made through targeted brain training so that learning can be easier.
So once again, go to stowellcenter.com/continuum to download a copy of the Learning Skills Continuum.
John, you do psychoeducational testing. Testing is often an important first step in getting help. Can you explain what psychoeducational testing is and how it can be helpful to a parent and student?
Dr. John Danial: Sure. So what we’re trying to uncover is all of our brains work differently and we have different strengths and weaknesses and like we were talking about earlier, a lot of times one strong part might be compensating for something that is less developed. So what we do in our testing, which is we do psychoeducational and neuropsychological testing and the type of testing we do is comprehensive.
So what we’re really looking at is this whole picture of how a child’s brain is working and the way we do that is we look at different parts of cognition or intelligence and there’s lots of different parts like verbal and visual, spatial, and processing speed and working memory and problem solving.
We want to not just get one number. That doesn’t really help us. But this overall picture of the different areas and how the brain is working and then we can also really identify some processes that fit on that ladder that you were showing, Jill, on where there might be specific less developed skills or difficulties that might be – might help explain why a child is let’s say impulsive or having a hard time with reading.
Then we also want to do the academic testing to see how is a child learning because a lot of times that isn’t matching up with how a child’s cognition is even though we would expect it to match up and when those things are different, it can really indicate there’s an impact in learning.
Then we also want to look socioemotionally. That’s such a huge kind of underlying part of what’s expected of children and what’s happening there. What’s their self-concept? How do they connect with others? How are their social skills? What’s their perspective-taking like? When we can really get this whole picture, we put it together to help understand what this child is experiencing and really to help – we find that when we do the feedback sessions for that process, parents, we get a lot of – that makes so much sense now and the better – that’s really our goal. That feeling is our goal both for the child and the parent because when we better understand what it is that’s happening, we can help understand what it’s not. Like laziness or they’re just not trying or they’re just difficult.
Instead when we can understand what’s going on in the brain, we can kind of ease maybe some of the feelings we feel as parents and navigating these things and help put us on a path and what resources are going to be the best fit for what my child is experiencing and what other kind of supports are out there. It helps kind of that hopefulness of there is a road to help navigate whatever challenges we might uncover.
Jill Stowell: Absolutely and I love the comprehensive approach. Everything is connected. The longer that I do this work, the more I realize nothing is operating in isolation. So yeah, your child may have a reading problem but that is not an isolation from other things. It can affect how they feel about themselves. It can affect their social skills. But also as we’ve talked about in previous episodes, a lot of times there are real strengths that go along with the thinking style that is kind of contributing to the reading challenge.
So looking at the whole picture is so critical and I love that you said it helps you understand what it’s not because I think there’s a lot of misunderstanding and fear around that, so yeah.
Dr. John Danial: And also Jill, if we just look for one thing, OK, let’s see how they’re reading, we miss that whole picture because like we were saying earlier, maybe that’s within the expected window. But compared to what we’re seeing everything else, which let’s say is at a much higher level, that really speaks to the experience of this child, of how difficult reading is going to be for them compared to these other automatic processes that they’re used to and then that’s going to impact the way they feel, the way they’re experiencing.
That’s really what we want with testing and with therapy and I really think with education as a whole, if I’m being a little idealistic, we really want to understand how is this individual experiencing all of this because that’s what’s going to help us help them.
Jill Stowell: Right, right, and what you were describing is exactly what happens with our students that you might say have stealth dyslexia. They have very strong areas that they rely on and they can read. But their reading, the reading is usually more difficult but it still sits in that average range.
So in spite of the fact that it is not as strong as other areas, it kind of gets overlooked with these kids.
Dr. John Danial: Right.
Jill Stowell: And, you know, speaking of school and – you know, they do testing at school and there are pretty specific parameters around getting diagnosed with a learning disability and qualifying for services at school.
Sometimes what happens is parents of these bright, savvy kids, like these kids with steal dyslexia, are told that there’s no problem because the student doesn’t qualify based on the school guidelines and those are guidelines that schools have to work within.
But a lot of times, kids don’t qualify because their skills are just strong enough that they don’t fit into those guidelines. Do you ever run into that issue where a parent sees that their child is struggling but they don’t really fit a diagnosis?
Dr. John Danial: All the time and one thing I try to help parents understand is just what you’re saying. It’s a different guideline and so what school really looks for in their IEP testing is, is this currently impacting their academic functioning.
So again it’s within – that’s what schools have. So that’s OK. That’s what we can expect is their goal is academic functioning in terms of what other supports are needed. But in the whole picture which is what as parents and definitely in the work that I do, we want to prioritize. It doesn’t mean that it’s not impacting.
So the difference in the type of testing is there’s the school parameters and then there’s that individual approach I was talking about earlier and in school testing, they’re really trying to identify is this impacting the expected range we would want a child to be compared to their grade level. In this comprehensive testing or even just identifying learning challenges, we want to identify is it impacting this individual, like I was saying earlier.
A lot of times even with the testing that I do, it might not meet a diagnosis but we can really tell what are those strengths and weaknesses and a better picture of what might be happening for the child even outside of do they fit the box of what a diagnosis would entail.
Jill Stowell: Yeah, and I think that’s the most important thing. We just need to understand the kids and who they are and what they need and what – how we can support both their strengths and their weaknesses. Thinking about a diagnosis when kids do get a diagnosis, I think sometimes parents are afraid that a diagnosis will hold their child back and so they might think, oh, I really don’t want to get testing because I don’t want them labeled.
But I have found it can be very helpful for people in getting services and mainly in helping parents and everyone working with that child or teen to understand them better.
Dr. John Danial: Right, yeah. And to me, I never like to work from, OK, diagnosis. So I know exactly what we’re going to do for this child. Again it’s an individual. So the diagnosis just describes something that we’re seeing. But we still want to see how that’s impacting the child and then something else that I see a lot to circle back to, it can be comforting in a lot of ways to hear from a school, “Oh, actually, we’re not seeing that here.”
So a lot of times parents might feel like, “OK, it’s just me.” But then also that goes back to the pressure of, “Oh no, it’s just me,” and the more we understand what it is that’s happening – and I’m a really big believer in parents supporting themselves too. It can be stressful to just be a parent. I could finish the sentence there but especially when that there’s these specific challenges that are happening. It just adds more stress and I’m a big believer in parents making space to take care of themselves and explore what they might need and what’s coming up for them in this whole process. That goes a long way in supporting their child as well.
Jill Stowell: I used to say – I’ve been in business a long time and I used to say moms know. Moms just know. So trust yourself. No matter what you might be being told, trust your gut and now we find that so many dads are very involved as well. So I would expand that to say parents know and so if your child doesn’t qualify for services at school but you know there’s just something, that’s when it’s helpful to go out and get that more comprehensive testing just so you understand a better picture.
At the learning centers, we do what we call a functional academic and learning skills evaluation. We’re not really going after a diagnosis. Our testing is not going to qualify a student for services although we do diagnose dyslexia. But what we want to see is kind of what you were saying John but just in a little bit different way I guess.
We want to see what those challenges look like functionally for the student and we always want to look at what are those underlying skills that are at the root of the problem so that we can create a plan to strengthen those skills. That’s really, really our focus is what is really going on here underneath. How can we develop those skills so that the student then can go on and remediate their academics and learn more easily?
One of the reasons that I think testing and diagnosis and treatment is so important is that having dyslexia or any other learning disability is traumatic and I know we talked about this a little bit. I’ve worked with this population for over 35 years and I’ve always known that having learning difficulties is painful and it’s embarrassing. But in the last few years, we’ve been working with a number of trauma-informed specialists and realize that our kids are experiencing chronic trauma every day as they go to school.
Do you see that with students and families that you work with? I mean when you look at them, do you think, “Wow, this is chronic trauma”?
Dr. John Danial: We can definitely call it that when we really think about the impact. Kids and teens and especially as they get a little bit older, they’re naturally finding who am I and a lot of times that’s in comparison to what’s around me or in comparison to whatever my imagined standard is or where am I supposed to be. As adults, we do that too.
For a child with learning challenges, it’s very natural to feel less than maybe my sibling or the other kids in my class or I notice myself getting in trouble or not turning things in or not getting as high of a score or all these things that we can see how their perception is that makes me less than.
Then when we kind of see that over years and years, we can see the chronic impact on that and then really where I come from in terms of therapy and our approach is where you talked about at the beginning is the impact on that whole family and what does that do to the family and what is homework time or the stress of just getting through the school year, the semester or tonight’s homework.
Then we add that over years and years. It’s so – the impact is so difficult and sometimes we just get used to it. Just this has to be the way it is and we really try to support families in finding – it doesn’t have to be that way. So in lots of different ways. The more we’re getting to the root of where as a parent my anxiety is coming from or what does it mean that my child is struggling and then same with the child or the teen themselves and then how can we communicate about this differently. How can we understand where we’re coming from or each other’s experience, teen to parent, let’s say? We really find that impact can be lessened and that confidence grows for both the child and the parent.
Jill Stowell: Yeah, absolutely and that’s interesting you say because we – as humans, we are adaptable. So we can get into patterns of just accepting. Well, this is just how it is and I remember a mom who told me her son was dyslexic. He was 12 and really struggling in school and I didn’t – at the time, I didn’t really realize how big an impact that was having on the family. But as those underlying skills got developed and he was becoming a reader, his mom said, “Oh my gosh! Everything has changed in our family. We talk to each other differently now. We communicate differently.” So things really, really can change.
Dr. John Danial: Absolutely, yeah.
Jill Stowell: Yeah. So how do you – I know kids and especially teens, they don’t always just tell you everything that’s going on. How do you dig down and figure out what’s really going on with a struggling teenager, say, emotionally?
Dr. John Danial: So the first and I would say the most important thing that we have to do is create a sense of safety and that I’m here. If my role as a therapist becomes I’m just an extension of their parents or their teachers or just some other – another adult, then we can’t really get to where we want to go.
So it’s really fostering that I’m here for them and I care what’s important for them and I don’t know what is yet and maybe they don’t know what that is yet. But this is a space to come explore that and to find what is important to you. Everyone has something that’s important to them and a lot of times what happens for teens is I’m forced into doing what’s not important for me. I’m forced into doing what I don’t have buy-in or I don’t care about.
The first step of therapy is really being able to explore. I want to get to know you and from there, we can really get to the part where maybe school or academics has its place but it’s just a place. When I’m taking care of that place of my life, as a teen, I feel better. My parents are less on top of me or I’m less stressed out about getting through the semester or passing my classes.
So it has its place but it’s not this whole picture. So to answer your question, the way to start digging deep is to really just understand – join the child or the teen’s world and kind of see it from their eyes. Then a big part of that too is working with parents to do the same and again a lot of times we just as parents come with our own anxieties, our own stressors, our own self-criticism and being able to notice and work through that and how is that impacting my relationship.
So when we’re working with that whole system, we can really see a lot of change.
Jill Stowell: When kids have been struggling for years and they have all this pent-up anxiety or frustration around learning, I think you kind of said this but I want to hear it again. What shift in thinking are you working toward with them? Because they have all this angst about school. It’s pretty ingrained now. We got to help them make a shift. What is that shift?
Dr. John Danial: So it really depends on the child too but a lot of times what we believe or what we think, we don’t really actually put words to. It’s just automatic. So if we’re really exploring our thinking about school or why is it harder, we can get to some things of “I’m not good enough,” or “Nobody cares what I want,” or “I’m not capable.”
A lot of times for teens, it doesn’t matter if I try. Nothing will change. Like what’s the point? So when we’re really exploring what’s the current belief of that child, then we can start to explore ways to challenge that or even currently evidence against it.
So starting to go from a strengths-based place of recognizing what I am good at or what I do care about or what I am capable of or times I’ve overcome challenges. When we can really help shift their thinking to a strength-based place – and also take away some of the pressure of just this grade-based outcome of school being the most important thing but instead how about some balance. How about – just I would feel better if I made some time for school but also time for the thing I care about and time for friends and time for – so that’s what I mean by giving schools its place.
Then we can start helping the child or the teen not just see themselves in relation to how school is going but to really see themselves as a whole and then again that puts a lot of – takes a lot of pressure off of maybe how much spotlight school is getting.
Jill Stowell: Yeah. I really like that. I always encourage parents that it’s never too late to get help for their child. Generally earlier is better. It just saves everyone a lot of grief. But as a parent, it’s hard to know if what you’re noticing really warrants help. In your practice, what do you see as ramifications of untreated learning challenges?
Dr. John Danial: Yeah. So a lot of what we’re describing of just the years and years of – it’s untreated. Another way we can think of that is unsupported for the family. Not just for the child but for the family is we’re on our own to figure this out.
So there’s just such a stressor that comes with. It’s such a pressure or the responsibility falls on as a family, we have to figure this out, this thing, that we might need some additional support for.
So we see like we were describing earlier a lot of times that that affects the relationship. That affects the – a lot of times, parents are feeling, “Don’t you see how hard I’m trying and how much I’m trying to help you?” Whereas your effort, we might see that from the parent’s perspective and then really similar for a teen of “You just don’t get it. You don’t get what’s happening for me. You don’t get that I am trying. You see what I’m not doing, not how much I am trying.”
So we find these dynamics a lot and so when we’re able to support this family, it really helps to address that root and what – we want to go from the root of what’s happening for this family, what’s happening in this system as a way to help the child or the teen and then sometimes it’s – actually a lot of times just so helpful where from a cognitive or a learning standpoint, where we can also get the support from you all of what’s happening at a more neurological level or process level in terms of learning.
Then when we get the proper supports wrapped around a family, we can see kind of the change of getting them back on a path that feels like this is the path that we want to be on.
So yeah, without that, I would feel like – I would think a bit of just that’s a lot of pressure to be under unsupported and be dealing with all of this.
Jill Stowell: Right, and for such a long time.
Dr. John Danial: Right.
Jill Stowell: Yeah. I mentioned earlier that when students struggle with reading, math or other aspects of school, there are almost always underlying processing skills that are weak or inefficient, that become roadblocks to learning. Mental health is critically important. In addition, it is important to recognize that kids don’t just grow out of learning challenges.
The only way to make real and permanent change is to identify and develop those underlying skills, to retrain the brain, to process information more effectively in order to eliminate the struggles associate with dyslexia or other learning disabilities.
We know this is absolutely possible both through our work with thousands of children and adults and through the brain research. I really want parents to know this.
John, what would you like to leave our listeners with today?
Dr. John Danial: Yeah. So I would like to leave them with really shifting maybe our common philosophy as parents and I feel it too as a parent of the more I just invest in my kid and make sure they’re OK and make sure they’re doing well, that’s the way to help them live the life that they want to live.
But in addition to that, right, where I think I’m speaking not at a risk of neglecting that because as parents, we’re going to want to give as much as we can to the kids. But in addition to that, we really want to give our kids fulfilled parents and recharged parents and parents that are confident and know that they’re enough.
So the big kind of thing I would like to leave with is really investing. It’s such a critical thing that you can do as a parent to explore how can I take care of myself too and to shift if that’s feeling selfish for you as a really giving thing, something you’re giving to your child and to your family when you’re able to invest in yourself.
So a lot of times, I feel parents need to hear that message. So I want to make sure to take some time to say it.
Jill Stowell: Absolutely. That is so true and it’s so easy to put ourselves aside.
Dr. John Danial: Right.
Jill Stowell: So John, thank you so much for joining us today. I am so happy to be partnering with you and Simi Psychological Group to help kids and families get to the root of learning and mental health challenges in order to live their best and most fulfilled lives.
Dr. John Danial: Thank you so much.
Jill Stowell: Next week, we are starting a new series where we’re going to dig into neurodevelopmental and processing skills and their impact on behavior and learning.
So a nice segue from this show. Be sure to download the Learning Skills Continuum by going to stowellcenter.com/continuum. It will be helpful for our new series as well.
At Stowell Learning Centers, we help children and adults eliminate struggles associated with dyslexia and learning disabilities or other learning differences. We want to make this journey easier for you.
Connect with us on social media and on our website stowellcenter.com for information and free resources. If you found this episode valuable, please like and subscribe so you don’t miss out on any new episodes. The struggles associated with dyslexia and learning differences can be eliminated.
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- Episode 56: Executive Function, Procrastination, and Strategies – Natalie Borrell and Alison Grant
- Episode 55: How Processing Skills Impact Behavior and Attention – Jill Stowell
- Episode 54: Teen Anxiety – Jamie Roberts
- Episode 53: Anxiety, Attention, Behavior and Learning – Jill Stowell
- Episode 52: Stealth Dyslexia and the Trauma of Undiagnosed and Untreated Learning Challenges – Dr. John Danial
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