If you haven’t read Three Upsides of Children’s Learning Challenges, Part 1 go ahead and read it now. When you’re ready, come on back for Upside #2.
UPSIDE # 2 – Extra Help Gives Children an Edge over “Typical” Learners
So what happens when your child shows signs of learning struggles? No parent likes to see their child suffer, so you immediately seek out help, correct? And if you’re lucky, you manage to find the quality help that your child actually needs. This is a twofold blessing.
First, the main purpose for receiving extra help in the first place is for children to strengthen their ability to learn. Ideally successful intervention elevates these learning skills up to grade level, at the very least. The happy side effect, you might be surprised to learn, is that students’ performance can easily grow well beyond the level of their peers.
Second, children develop specific learning skills that other students in class do not. Stay with me here. I’ll use myself as an example.
I was a quiet child who, in the early years, picked up new concepts quickly. My teachers believed I belonged in the gifted program. What they didn’t know, however, and what the gifted testing never uncovered, was that I had developed practically zero visualization skills.
Why does that matter? Well, if you’re not visualizing what you’re reading, you’re PROBABLY not remembering much of it. You’re probably also not understanding much, either. No one ever taught me what visualization strategies were let alone how to use them to my advantage. Why would they? I never showed signs of needing such instruction.
Had anyone noticed that making pictures in my mind did NOT come naturally to me, I’m guessing that my entire academic career might have gone quite a bit smoother. At least the extreme effort I put into studying might have been a lot less grueling.
Children who require extra help, on the other hand, receive very specific cognitive training. They strengthen auditory skills, visual skills, spatial and reasoning skills, and a whole lot more. They learn what their strengths are, and how to amplify them. And they learn to use specific learning strategies that optimize their chances for success.
Advantage: child with learning challenges.
So many students I worked with began educational therapy performing years below their grade level. After receiving specific training that expanded their cognitive abilities, often they completed therapy as current or soon-to-be straight A, dean’s list students. You can imagine what that transformation did for their confidence, their sociability, their futures!
So, parents, instead of thinking to yourselves, “Oh no, my child needs extra help,” try this thought on for size: “Hooray, my child needs extra help!”
Now, are you ready for 3 Upsides of Learning Challenges, Part 3?