Learning Disabilities

in Skill
Learning Disabilities Chino, CA

The many faces of learning problems.

Whats Really Going on When Kids with Average (or Above) IQs Struggle in School and Drive Their Teachers and Parents Crazy?
Chatting with friends and making jokes gets Mark through his day at school. Of course, his teacher is extremely irritated with him for constantly disrupting the class with his talking and his jokes. And she cannot understand how such a smart boy can refuse to do his work and get very little accomplished during the day.
The truth about Mark is that he is very intelligent, but he cant read very well. His intelligence gets him by; he can read enough to sometimes get answers right, to sometimes get parts of assignments done. Unfortunately, he can get just enough done to make it look like he can do it, so when he doesnt, he looks unmotivated.
Marks teacher thinks he has Attention Deficit Disorder.
In reality, he is dyslexic.
He cant do the work so he finds other ways to entertain himself. Hes getting Fs in 4 th grade. Marks mother sees how hard he tries at home, but even she is frustrated because Mark cant seem to get any of his homework done without her there helping every minute.
Dad is mad because he thinks Mark could do better if he tried harder. And Mark just wants to give up. No matter how hard he tries, he still cant manage to make the grade.

The 4 Groups of Learning Skills
Easy learning is built upon a continuum of neurodevelopmental learning skills that start with reflexes in utero and continue developing to the highest levels of thinking. We think of that continuum in four basic levels:
Developmental or Core Learning Skills - Learning, or information processing, is actually stimulated by movement. It begins in utero with movements triggered by reflexes. When babies are born, these reflexes begin to go away, or become integrated, as higher levels of thinking begin to take over. Integration happens through trial and error movements and gradually intentional movement. Physical movement and exploration is critical to developing visual skills and becoming internally organized.

People often think of organization in terms of planning and organizing time, projects and materials, but internal organization is needed in order to sit in a chair or walk across a room without bumping into things.
Processing Skills - Processing skills is the second level in the learning skills continuum. These include such skills as memory, attention, visual processing (how we think about information that we can see or imagine), auditory processing (how we think about information that we hear, such as the sounds in words or the tone of voice our friend is using), language processing, and processing speed ( how quickly we can think about and respond to information).

Challenges in any of these areas will cause the learner to have to work longer and harder than they should.
Executive Function Skills - Executive function is like the brains CEO. This is the part of the brain that guides our behavior and attention, that helps us plan and reason and solve problems. Students are notorious for putting long term projects off to the last minute. But the bottom line is it takes a number of sophisticated executive function skills to plan out and execute a project.

If a student looks lazy, unmotivated, or disorganized, the real culprit may weak executive function skills.
Academic Skills or higher learning skills - The highest level on the continuum is academic and higher learning skills. Success in this arena depends upon a solid base of skills in the levels below. People of all ages learn how to compensate for their challenges, but compensating is hard and inefficient. The supporting skills must be in place in order to learn new information easily.
Learning problems are very broad. They look different on different kids, but the thing they have in common is this:
Something is breaking down in their processing of information.
Learning is all about processing incoming information - whether its a toddler picking up a cracker and finding out that it breaks in his hand or a 12th grader doing calculus.
When students that you know are struggling in school, when you are tempted to write it off as lazy, or attention, or immaturity, take a closer look. There are dozens of skills that may not all be working together to make learning easy.
The Good News: All those skills can be taught, built, corrected. There is REAL hope for all those kids.
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By Jill Stowell - Director
Stowell Learning Centers, Inc
15192 Central Ave
Chino, CA 91710
(909) 598-2482

Copyright 2010 Stowell Learning Centers, Inc
All Rights Reserved

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Learning Disabilities

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This article was published on 2011/02/19