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?

Sports is the name of the game for Josh. Hes good at them all and brags about going to college on a sports scholarship of some kind. Secretly, though, Josh is pretty worried. He cant seem to make the grades in school and the football coach is talking like he might not be able to continuing playing.
Josh puts on an attitude of not caring, but deep down hes humiliated and embarrassed. How can he be so good at every sport he tries and be so lousy at school?
His dad thinks hes just lazy. Maybe, thats it, Josh thinks. I mean why else would it take him so much longer to read the darned history assignment and then still not have a clue what its about. Math is OK, but he always seems to forget to do some of the problems, and English, forget it! Hows he supposed to read a whole chapter and write an essay on it every night? He cant think of a thing to say when he gets ready to write. Maybe hes just stupid. Maybe he should forget about college. His parents are going to ground him anyway if he gets one more F.
Josh is one of those kids who can read, write, and do math, but just cant seem to pull it all together to get his work done with any consistency.

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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This article was published on 2011/02/19