The key is collaboration. Academic and social skills do not develop in a vacuum. They are the result of interactions between the child and his/her environment. Your child’s capacity to complete tasks independently occurs when skills have been mastered and external supports are no longer required. For example, complex academic assignments may overwhelm your child’s brain. She needs you to look at the task with her and collaboratively develop a plan for how the assignment or project will be executed. This means breaking the task down into steps, then creating timelines for each step to be accomplished. You might also have to work with your child to actually complete the steps. The idea here is not to do the work for your child but to do it with her. This collaboration will enhance his learning, while also helping her develop the organizational and planning skills necessary to eventually mange the work on her own.
A “reactive” parenting style focuses on a child’s observable behavior with a tendency to incorrectly assume negative motives for academic problems, behavior issues or social challenges. This is a mindset that is easy to fall into but it reduces your child’s challenges to intentional choices he or she is making, a perspective that will leave you feeling frustrated, angry and confused. In this state, you are more likely to react intensely and/or punitively. When talking with parents and teachers, I frequently hear them use terms like “lazy,” “defiant,” “attention seeking” and “bossy.” By using these terms, they are labeling a child’s observable behavior and making negative assumptions about his motives. Instead, what a child’s problematic behavior usually indicates is an issue with environmental demands (ie: home and school) exceeding their capacity to succeed. So, how do you make a shift in parenting style to help your child? The first step is trusting that children will do well if they can. Remember, children with learning differences, in particular, lack the skills to consistently meet environmental demands. Ask yourself why your child would choose to do poorly if they possessed the skills to do well. The human brain is not hard wired to work that way. Develop some curiosity about why your child is struggling. Is too much being asked of him? As a “reflective” parent, you can help your child feel that their thoughts, emotions and experiences are understood, considered and accepted. You might not agree with a child’s perception of an experience; however, you can still take the time to listen and try to understand. Assisting your child with describing his experience and learning how to name emotions helps him to tolerate and effectively manage challenging feelings. Listening to your child’s feelings without judgement allows him to experience you as a resource for coping with any challenge that arises.
“Helping Your Child with Language-Based Learning Disabilities” by Daniel Franklin, Ph.D. My good friend and colleague, Dr. Daniel Franklin has just come out with a new book for parents on how best to help their children with challenges like Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia, ADHD and processing disorders. Dr. Franklin, who has been in education for over 30 years, is founder of Franklin Educational Services, which provides individualized school support services for students of all ages and needs. Franklin helps parents discover how a secure relationship between them and their child can optimize the child’s learning ability by enhancing motivation, reducing anxiety, and increasing flexibility. The book also contains practical strategies for navigating school and home life. I highly recommend it. For more information go to https://www.franklined.com/
Academic Skill Deficits
1. Dyslexia, or reading difficulties, effects about 80% of children with learning challenges.
- They may have difficulty decoding words, reading fluently, as well as comprehending text.
- Writing may also be difficult, which includes organizing thoughts, putting ideas into sequence and using grammar, punctuation and spelling appropriately.
2. Dyscalculia, or difficulty with math, is also common among children with learning challenges.
- This may include difficulty with mental math, transposing digits, failing to line up numbers properly in an equation or omitting steps in a math problem.
Fortunately, there are strategies and accommodations that will help your child cope with his or her learning challenges, including implementing the right modifications and accommodations at school to help him learn, supporting the development of his interests and strengths, helping him understand his challenges, and providing him with support and understanding.
- Most children with learning differences are affected by multiple challenges.
- Learning challenges often surface when there is a mismatch between the child’s abilities and the demands of the environment. For example, an academic curriculum may be accelerated beyond the developmental level of the child (or many of the children) in a particular classroom.
- People with verbal learning disabilities have difficulty with words, both spoken and written
- People with non-verbal learning disabilities may have difficulty processing abstract concepts, abstract reasoning and conceptualizing concepts.
- A visual processing or perceptual disorder refers to a hindered ability to make sense of information taken in through the eyes.
- An auditory processing disorder interferes with a person’s ability to make sense of information taken in through the ears.
(To be continued)
November 6, 2013 Campbell Hall
Homework is an important topic on the minds of most parents today. On November 6th, I am looking forward to speaking to the parents of Campbell Hall, one of Los Angeles’ premier private, college preparatory schools for students K-12, located at 4533 Laurel Canyon Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91607. I plan to share my insight and experience on the subject with more area schools.
Schools place a heavy emphasis on children completing homework independently. While most of us would agree that this is a worthy objective, we might not all agree on just how to move children toward this goal. Children have a natural drive for mastery over appropriate developmental tasks. With mastery comes confidence that allows them to take on the next challenge. However, when challenges confronting children exceed their developmental capacities, they become vulnerable to frustration, discouragement and potential failure, unless they receive some assistance to develop the skills they need to succeed. Many kids experience these homework difficulties, especially when you consider the volume and complexity of the work they are expected to complete.
In this workshop, I will help parents:
- understand the various reasons students struggle with homework
- learn when and how to assist with homework
- understand the difference between collaborating with a child and enabling him to be overly reliant on you
- discuss strategies for setting up an effective homework structure
- identify when tutoring support is needed