Once parents observe their child having learning challenges, they may want to dive a bit deeper into the underlying causes. Having the neurologist or the pediatrician diagnose is not sufficient in most cases. Additionally, when a neuropsychological test is completed the average Intelligence Quota (IQ) will not provide all the answers. By following these five steps, parents can help their child lessen the negative impact of their learning disabilities and improve academically.
Step 1: Determine the Underlying Causes of the Learning Difficulties
Parents can choose to have their child tutored for specific academic areas of concern. If the tutoring is provided for a few sessions and the student is able to become independent without the ongoing need of the tutor, then it is possible that lack of or poor instruction is the root cause. However, if some brief tutoring does not solve the problem than this is a red flag that the problem is beyond poor instruction or not enough instruction. If learning problems cannot be quickly resolved with tutoring then usually there are weaknesses in underlying learning skills.
Step 2: Understand the Learning Skills Required for Success
Learning skills all work together to produce great results. If, for example, a car has a bad transmission, then putting premium gasoline into the tank will not produce successful results. Our brains have an active processing system which requires many learning skills to be strong at all times. First, the brain requires attention and memory skills when attempting to receive information. As additional input is received, other learning skills are activated to assist in processing the data. Next, visual processing is needed for discerning and analyzing input. Additionally, auditory processing is used to review, process and discriminate sounds. We cannot leave out logic and reasoning skills to focus on problem solving requests as in Math. Reading comprehension skills are integrated to deal with listening and reading activities. Finally, each skill will play a part in processing almost every input. Therefore, the degree of strength in these individual learning skills will impact the ability of the active processing system to handle information. If a person's skills show some or several weak areas, then the overall learning process will not be accurate, fast or efficient.
Step 3: Assess Which Learning Skills Need to be Strengthened
One way to objectively measure a person's strong points is through standardized testing. First, the most common testing approach is using achievement tests. These tests measure how well a child is doing academic not learning skills. Another popular choice are intelligence tests. These tests measure the strengths of the underlying learning skills. Unfortunately, intelligence tests provide an average intelligence scored based on all the measures of the learning skills. They will not give the individual measures of learning skills necessary for reading, math calculations or comprehension. Parents can look at the individual test scores and compare them to their child's grades with each academic subject and discover which underlying learning skills need to be strengthened.
Step 4: Explore How to Strengthen the Weak Learning Skills
Cognitive Training is one of the fastest growing markets. Studies prove intense, challenging procedures completed one-on-one will strengthen weak learning skills without any regression. As a child progresses through a procedure, tasks are added requiring greater attention and forcing new skills to become automatic. Research studies have shown a child will gain an average over 3.6 years improvement in all deficient skills within 10 weeks! This type of training requires working with a certified trainer at least 5 hours a week for 12 weeks. The programs offer a variety of choices to work through to completion. The child, trainer and parent(s) all have a role to play in this type of therapy. The programs are not academic in nature and the children enjoy themselves. The results show great improvement but the children will notice the differences themselves without needing an assessment. They can list one to several noticeable changes a week that contribute to an improved academic and social life.
Step 5: Make your Decision
If your child has difficulty learning which impacts their self-esteem, school success, parent-child relationships then you should consider further investigation into cognitive therapy. There is plenty of studies and research results to back up the programs. A child can compensate for only so long when trying to avoid weak learning skills. Eventually, the child will run out of options. Help is available to your child through cognitive therapy.
By following the five steps outlined in this article, parents can understand that learning challenges are complex but manageable. They do not necessarily go away. However, with proper advances in science, there are alternative methods proving to be successful. Children with learning challenges are now creating new neuropathways to enable faster more efficient processing. By completing a cognitive therapy program, children lives are being changed. With new neuropathways and stronger learning skills, children once considered out of synch can now become active participants in the overall learning process.
Colleen Bain has a Masters in Special Education. She is certified in special and general education. She has been married for 16 years now and been blessed with two children with special needs. She has over 11 years of experience with special needs and over 20 years business experience. As sole proprietor of Enhanced Learning Skills for Kids, Colleen provides intense one-on-one intensive cognitive training to individuals ages 6 and older.
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