Why is Change so Hard?

Briana Hurst 504 Plan, ADD / ADHD, Attention, Auditory Processing, Classroom, Comprehension, Core Learning Skills, Development, Developmental delays, Dyslexia, Executive Function, General Information, Homeschool, Homework, IEP, Learning disabilities, Learning Disability, Poor grades, Processing Speed, Reading, School, Social Skills, Uncategorized 0 Comments

Once when I was traveling in Europe, I heard some American tourists grumbling that things just weren’t the same in Europe as they are at home!  “Of course not,” I thought.  “Isn’t that why we travel to other countries?  To experience something different?”

Most of us do like routine and predictability in our lives most of the time, but a little change now and then keeps life interesting – variety is the spice of life, and all that.

But some children (and some adults) are extremely inflexible.  They are completely disrupted by change.  Going out for tacos on Friday night instead of pizza may throw some children into a complete tailspin.

Why is change so hard?

Learning, social skills, and overall functioning are supported by numerous underlying learning/processing skills.  The more solid these foundational skills are, the more flexible we can be.  When there are weak areas in the underlying foundation, people can become rigid and stuck, because it’s too scary or may not feel safe to try something different:

  • If I can’t process what you say, I have to stick with topics I know
  • If my body is not in control, I have to stay rigid to be in control
  • If I can’t visually process my environment well or fast enough, I have to dig in so I don’t have to feel insecure with new places or things.
  • If I do things the way I always do, then I can predict the result. If I have to do something in a different way, I don’t know what will happen.

These rigid behaviors can look like stubbornness, defiance, or obsessiveness – and they are – but the behaviors are often rooted in weak underlying learning/processing skills.

At the most basic level, much of the communication flowing between the brain and body via our nervous system happens as a result of reflexes.  Reflexes that are active when not needed or not active when needed, create glitches in that communication.

Unintegrated reflexes, or reflexes that are not working properly, cause stress to our whole system and push us into “fight or flight” mode.  Spending too much time in “fight or flight” when we don’t actually need to be fighting or running for survival, can lead to rigid, anxious behavior and fear of change.

At a little higher level in the brain, auditory and visual processing, memory, or processing speed challenges can cause students to feel lost and insecure.  Once again, sticking with what they know and resisting change is often the route these students take in order to maintain control.

Thankfully, we know now from decades of clinical evidence and research that reflexes can be integrated and the brain can be re-trained or re-wired to process information more easily.

Once the culprit underlying skills are identified and developed, the person can experience a greater sense of security and confidence.  Strong underlying learning/processing skills contribute to mental flexibility and easier learning.

Making and keeping friends also becomes easier and more likely as kids are able to be more flexible, try a different way, and see other points of view.

Does your child struggle with learning, behavior, or keeping friends?  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.  Behavior, confidence and self-esteem improve.  Need to know more??

JOIN US for a FREE Information Night

Click here for details and RSVP: http://learningdisability.com/parent-info-night/.

 

“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

Celebrating Transformation

Briana Hurst Development, Developmental delays, General Information, Homeschool, IEP, Learning disabilities, Learning Disability, School 0 Comments

It’s mind-boggling for me to think about, but 33 years ago, when I was still in my twenties, I opened the learning center to help smart but struggling students become better readers.

While our understanding and techniques have developed tremendously over the years, the joy of watching frustrated children and adults transform into confident learners is every bit as strong!  No matter how many times I’ve seen it, I still get just as excited every time!

We are now in our 7th year at the Irvine center and have just expanded to meet the needs of our growing population of students.  To celebrate, we are hosting an Open House event that we hope you all will attend!  Here are a few highlights:

  • Simulation activities to allow you to feel what its like to have a learning or attention challenge
  • Tour the beautiful new facility
  • Try out various activities and techniques our students use
  • Student art / talent display
  • Speaker (me!)
  • FOOD!
  • Gifts
  • Special activities for kids

Come Help Us Celebrate!

Irvine Open House:  Simulation, Education, and Fun! 

Saturday April 22 –10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

 

If you have a struggling student, we would love to help you understand and permanently change those struggles.  To learn more…

JOIN US for a FREE Parent Information Night

Click here for details and RSVP: http://learningdisability.com/parent-info-night/.

 

“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

HOMEWORK: Bonding Time or Battleground?

Briana Hurst Classroom, Development, Developmental delays, General Information, Homeschool, Homework, IEP, Learning disabilities, Learning Disability, Poor grades, School 0 Comments

I’m sitting in Starbucks writing and sipping a hot cup of coffee, listening to a dad and young son enjoying doing homework.  Did you get that?  ENJOYING doing homework.  The little boy needed a fair amount of guidance and Dad was very patient, but the instruction was received with smiles and understanding.

I think that’s what all parents want.  To be able to work with their child on homework in a stress-free way, moving through it without resistance or tears.

When kids have learning challenges, homework is often more of a battle than a bonding experience.

At my Parent Information night last week, several parents shared how 15 – 20 minutes of homework at their home consistently morphs into painful hours of tears, yelling, and frustration on all sides.

One parent said, “My son is very smart.  Why does it take him hours and hours to get his homework done when his classmate next door gets it done in the car on the way home and has all afternoon to play?”

Great question!  How is it that you can have 2 kids with equal intelligence, same neighborhood, same teacher, and supportive parents, yet when the teacher gives the assignment, 20 minutes later one is done, and the other has barely started.

The answer is that they bring a different set of mental tools to the task.

All kids procrastinate or whine about homework once in a while, but in my experience, students of all ages are proud and happy to do their schoolwork/homework most of the time if they understand it and they know they can do it.

Learning and using reading, writing, spelling, and math depend upon a solid set of underlying learning skills, or mental tools.  These skills allow us to:

  • Pay attention / focus
  • Listen and get complete and accurate information (auditory processing)
  • Accurately perceive and understand what we see, including visual organization on the page (visual processing)
  • Visualize and comprehend
  • Remember
  • Gather and assimilate information quickly (processing speed)
  • Mentally organize thoughts and language
  • Use eyes and hands together (visual motor)
  • Self-monitor attention and behavior (executive function)

When any of these underlying learning skills are weak, it can cause even very bright students to have to work harder and longer than they should.  Struggling students often work so hard in school to try to maintain attention and at least look like they can do the work, that they have nothing left for homework.

And so, parents see the tears, the avoidance, the dragging of feet, and the arguments.  When you don’t have the skills to do the job, you will do almost anything to get out of it, especially if that job makes you feel uncomfortable or stupid.

There are Solutions:

The underlying skills that support efficient learning can be trained.  The brain can develop new neuropathways or new connections for learning.  Once the brain is getting the information it needs – once the mental tools are in place – the reading, writing, spelling, or math can be remediated and stick!

Adam is a successful adult and a “voracious reader” with 2 Masters degrees.  But at 7 years old, he was not reading a thing.  Once the underlying skills that were keeping him from learning to read were developed, we were able to go on to not only teach him to read but to become a lover of reading.

If you have a struggling student, we would love to help you understand and permanently change those struggles.  To learn more…

JOIN US for a FREE Parent Information Night

Click here for details and RSVP http://learningdisability.com/parent-info-night/.

 

“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