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

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

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: 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

 

Move Your Body, Energize Your Brain

Briana Hurst ADD, ADD / ADHD, ADHD, Anxiety, Attention, Classroom, Core Learning Skills, Development, Developmental delays, General Information, Homeschool, Homework, IEP, Learning disabilities, Learning Disability, Primitive Reflexes, School 0 Comments

Have you ever sat in a long meeting or seminar and found yourself getting sleepy, antsy, and dying for a break so you could get up and move around?

Research shows that physical movement can enhance clarity, attention, and readiness for learning.  Physical movement increases oxygen flow to the brain, improving alertness, concentration, and receptivity.  Adding movement or physical action to a learning activity increases recall.

At the Learning Center, we find that integrative movements that cross the midline of the body are extremely helpful in bringing students to a calm, alert, and mentally and emotionally ready state for learning.

Periodic brain breaks that involve movement throughout the school day and homework time will also improve learning, productivity, and attitude.

Here are some references for fun, quick, movement exercises that can be easily integrated into the classroom, clinic, or home:

Brain Gym Teacher’s Edition by Paul E. Dennison and Gail E. Dennison  (www.braingym.com)

Hands On: How to use Brain Gym in the Classroom  by Isabel Cohen and Marcelle Goldsmith  (www.braingym.com)

Move It:  Physical Movement and Learning by Alistair Smith (www.networkpress.co.uk/MI)

Brain Breaks (www.alite.co.uk/information/brain_breaks)

Deep breathing and water are also great brain energizers.  Deep breathing immediately brings more oxygen to the brain and encourages relaxation, improving thinking and focus.  Water improves the electrical transmissions in the brain and nervous system, providing energy for learning and attention.

Movement Breaks and Struggling Students

For students who struggle in school, recess may be their “best subject” of the day.  They need the movement and mental break in order to re-focus and do their best in the classroom.

The same is absolutely true with homework.  It may be hard to give your kids periodic 5 – 15 minutes break in homework because you don’t want to add any more time to the hours you’re already spending.  But the bottom line is, that a few brain breaks may actually reduce the amount of time you have to spend.

Why Do Smart Kids Struggle?

Reading, writing, spelling, math, social, and school skills are supported by numerous underlying learning skills.   If one or more of these underlying skills is weak, it will cause the student to have to work harder, longer, and less effectively than expected.

But the brain is amazing!  Brain research over the last 30 years and the decades of clinical work in the trenches actually working with children and adults with learning challenges, have shown that these underlying learning skills can be developed.  The brain can change.  New, more efficient neuropathways, or connections in the brain, can be made so that learning can be easier.  Once the brain is getting the information it needs, it can do the job it is meant to do – to learn!

Need to know more??

JOIN US for a FREE Parent Information Night

For information and RSVP go to www.learningdisability.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

Frankie’s Story- The Catalyst for Change

Briana Hurst Classroom, Development, Developmental delays, Dyslexia, Executive Function, General Information, Homeschool, Homework, IEP, Learning disabilities, Learning Disability, Mental Health, Poor grades, Reading, School, Spelling 0 Comments

Last week I attended a media training event and was interviewed by Mike Koenigs.  He asked me about the root of my passion for correcting learning and attention challenges.  And I remembered a student, a 12-year-old boy…

Thirty-five years ago, I was teaching special education in a public school when Frankie slouched through my door.  He was very bright and kind of charming, but belligerent and a little scary at the same time.  At 12, he was already entrenched in a gang and everyone in the school, including the teachers, knew not to mess with Frankie.

Frankie was coming to see me because he couldn’t read or write.  I really liked him and I promised him I’d teach him to read, but I failed him.  I didn’t know how to get to the root of the problem.  I didn’t even know what the root of the problem was.

Frankie didn’t think he could learn, but I just knew that couldn’t be right.  I left the public schools and went in search of the experts around the world who were doing the clinical research in the field.

What I found was that learning is like a continuum. School subjects are at the top of the continuum, but there are whole sets of underlying skills, such as memory, attention, and auditory and visual processing, that must be in place in order to learn easily up at the top of the continuum.  These skills are not taught in schools or traditional tutoring; they are assumed.  When any of these skills are weak, it’s like working at the top of a ladder when some of the rungs are not stable.  It’s always going to be harder because a lot of your mental energy and attention has to go to not falling off the ladder.

The brain research over the last 30 years has shown us that the brain can change – literally be rewired through intensive and targeted training.  If we want to permanently change dyslexia or a learning disability, we have to identify and develop the underlying skills that are at the root of the problem.

It breaks my heart to think what may have happened to Frankie as an intelligent, frustrated, non-reader, particularly with his early gang affiliation, because I know now, that at least the non-reader part of the story could have been different.

After 33 years of working with children and adults with learning and attention challenges, I know that most of these challenges can be dramatically improved or completely corrected.  It takes identifying and developing the weak underlying skills that are at the root of the problem so that the academic skills can be remediated and stick!

If you or your child struggles with learning or attention and you’re ready for real change, we invite you to …

JOIN US for a FREE Parent Information Night.

For information and RSVP go to www.learningdisability.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