Looking at Learning Differences With New Eyes

The year is 2020.  Need I say more?

It’s a year that’s testing us all.

Our patience.

Our resilience.

Our fortitude.


Smiling boy with brown hair wearing brown aviator goggles.


We’re learning that even when we think we’ve reached our breaking point, we keep going.


Okay, maybe we happen to be short-fused.  Maybe we feel like we’re losing our minds a little, but we learn that yes, we can handle more.  We can carry more weight on our shoulders than we ever thought we’d need to, or could.


I’m just as eager as the next guy for these trying times to be over.  I’m ready for a reset.  What about you?


Yet, what if being tried and tested like this offers us more than your basic strength and character-building opportunity?


I can usually find the silver lining in dark situations.  In this case, I see many.  For now, let me just speak specifically to parents and educators of students with learning differences.


Our struggling learners are tested every day.

Their patience.

Their resilience.

Their fortitude.


Maybe they use every ounce of effort they’re capable of giving and still fall short of expectations, ours and their own.  Maybe they feel powerless to do anything about that.  Maybe they carry the weight of their uncertain futures on their shoulders.


Yet, they keep going.


True, sometimes they have an over-the-top meltdown if they can’t work out a math problem.


They might lose their minds a little when homework assignments feel way too heavy to handle.


But YOU get it, don’t you.  Maybe you’ve ALWAYS understood where the emotional reactions come from.  Now, though, you likely “get it” on a much deeper level.


Those sometimes toddler-like reactions from the kids aren’t signs of bad parenting, or bad teaching.


I’m confident that in most cases, they’re not signs of blatant disrespect or defiance.  They’re natural, human reactions to being tried and tested day after day after Every. Freaking. Day.


So, the next time your own inner toddler comes out, uninvited, take note.  Dare I say, thank it for offering a new way to look at things.  Acknowledge that terrified, or overwhelmed, or exhausted piece of you.  Then remember to go give your learner a giant I-get-you hug.  That’s a virtual hug for all of you educators, of course, but you get the idea.


I’m sending YOU virtual hugs as well.  Hang on to this newfound perspective of yours and then… keep going.