Learning Disabilities and Attention Challenges
Learning disabilities and attention challenges are perplexing because they may cause very “able” individuals to be unsuccessful or “disabled” in certain situations. Learning disabled children and adults look and act like the rest of the population. They are bright and often talented in creative or physical areas. Their “disability” – with its accompanying frustration, embarrassment, or coping behaviors, rears its head in the face of specific tasks or expectations.
Individuals with learning disabilities generally have something different or perhaps not completely developed in the way they process or think about information. The way they process is not wrong, but it may not be efficient, particularly for academic tasks. Because they are obviously intelligent and generally do some kinds of tasks very easily, parents and teachers may, at first, see the learning disabled student as lazy or unmotivated. With very few exceptions, learners of any age want to be successful and would if they could.
While we never want to take away a student’s thinking style, the key to teaching the learning disabled student is to help him or her develop the underlying thinking processes that will allow him to take-in, remember, and use information efficiently. Creating a solid foundation of basic skills is a critical piece of the picture, but only when the brain has been prepared to understand and hold onto those skills.
It has long been thought learning disabilities could not be resolved, that these individuals would just have to find ways to compensate for them. However, our experience in the field and current research on brain function and learning has shown otherwise.
Students are often taught compensating strategies to help them cope with their learning disabilities. These are helpful and important, but they are not enough! Students with learning differences need to be taught in a different way, because these students CAN learn.
We CAN help!
At Learning Foundations, we recognize that many individuals with learning challenges need to be taught differently. In order to make real changes in their learning, we explore the underlying cause of the learning difficulty, the learning/processing skills. This way, instead of focusing our instruction on the symptoms, we can create changes where they will permanently impact the individual’s learning; in the neuro-pathways of the brain.
Individuals with learning and attention challenges often have wonderful talents or abilities in other areas. These may tend to get overlooked in the confusion and frustration of poor school performance and low test scores. Many outstanding artists, musicians, actors, athletes and inventors of our time have had differences in thinking that caused “learning disabilities.” Yet, it was precisely those differences that were the key to their success. As we seek to help students work through and overcome their inefficiencies in learning, it is also important to notice and encourage their areas of strength and uniqueness.
Please use our Parent Resource archive for recommended books, articles and videos about learning disabilities, the brain and how learning disabilities don’t have to be permanent . There is a wealth of information and resources contained there.
Our goal for each student is for them to become comfortable, independent a learners and be as successful as they want to be.