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Struggling Parents -- How to Help Your Struggling Learner Cope
by Kim Hanson of LearningRx
I'm feeling overwhelmed with what to do for my son. Where do I start? What should I learn? I wish there was some kind of easy button. Any advice?
Having a child that struggles is hard; there's nothing easy about it. We just want our child to be normal. I remember thinking, "I'd be happy if my son was independent and didn't require so much help; if he just felt good about himself and wasn't afraid to try new things; if he could just catch on; if what he was learning right now would just stick."
As a parent, I was just looking for answers—anything that would help. If you just started this search or have been at it for a while, here are some things I wished I had known at the start of my journey:
1. Teachers are meant to teach.
I think we put undue pressure on teachers. Teacher aren't supposed to diagnose and certainly not treat learning struggles. It's outside of what they are meant to do and something for which they have not been trained. They have a lot of topics and material to cover. They have a lot of students and so they count on kids already having the tools needed to learn.
2. Be a strong advocate for your child and find other advocates.
Sitting in my first IEP meeting as a parent was eye-opening. (I have sat in many as a teacher.) I felt like 12 experts had just spent 2 hours pointing fingers at me. I was hopeless and felt defeated. But, they had simply done their job. They reported test findings to me and told me how they would do everything they could to help my son. But, I had to step up my game, be a true advocate for him, and do everything I could to help him beat the odds.
3. Start with the cause. Don't waste time, effort, and money.
I repeat, start with the cause! No matter what label your child has or has not been given and no matter what problems your child was or wasn't born with, start with what is causing your child not to learn. There are 7 key skills your child needs to improve in order to learn better. Start with testing to find out the skill level at which your child is starting out, and then no matter where your child starts or what they have been dealt, start to strengthen them. The lower the skills, the more time it will take, but it will be worth everything you put into it.
4. Talk to other parents.
Other parents can give you great advice. They understand where you have been. Ask for names or organizations who have helped them. They've put in the investment and know what it takes. Watch some parent testimonial videos and read their stories; they will inspire you. They will help you be patient and give you hope.
5. Don't hesitate to put in the hard work. It's worth it!
There are 3 life lessons each student goes through during cognitive brain training. These are good lessons for us parents.
1) Get rid of negative talk. If you find yourself saying or thinking negative things about yourself, your child, or the situation, get rid of it! Don't allow it.
2) It's okay to fail. Don't be afraid to try something new or different or something you might not be able to do the first time. It is okay to fail, but it's never okay to quit. Quitters never win, but someone who isn't afraid to fail will eventually win just by virtue of showing up...and not giving up.
3) Anything worthwhile takes hard work. Change doesn't come easily. Changing your child's underlying skills won't be easy. It will take time, money, and effort. But it will be worth it
Kim Hanson is a former educator, mom of four, a master brain trainer, and currently Vice President of Training and Support for LearningRx, Inc. You can reach Kim at:askKim@learningrx.net. To find out more about LearningRx's programs for preschoolers, elementary students, middle and high school kids, college students, and adults, go to www.learningrx.com..
Disclaimer: Internet Special Education Resources (ISER) provides this information in an effort to help parents find local special education professionals and resources. ISER does not recommend or endorse any particular special education referral source, special educational methodological bias, type of special education professional, or specific special education professional.
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