Summer is almost here, and so is the final REPORT CARD…duh, duh, duh! For some families report card time is a time of celebration, but for too many students and their families report card time means crying, finger pointing, and frustration.
Each new school year brings hope (and a little denial) that this year all the problems of the past will have magically disappeared and the student that struggled last year will have amazingly just grown out of the problems of the past.
Unfortunately, that just doesn't happen.
The underlying causes of learning difficulties don't magically go away. They can't be grown out of. They persist each year in one way or another. But, they can be fixed so that next time report card time comes around it can be a time of excitement, not dread.
I have many parents that ask me similar questions around this time of year so I have posted them and my answers below.
1. I was a struggling learner. Isn’t it possible that my kid just inherited my learning disabilities?
While genetics can contribute to a small part of learning struggles (like reading difficulties), the majority of learning struggles are simply the result of weak cognitive skills. Students with ADHD, for example, tend to have weak selective, divided and/or sustained attention. Likewise, students with reading struggles are almost always weak in phonemic awareness and auditory processing. Even learning struggles that are inherited don’t need to be lifelong labels or diagnoses; cognitive skills can be strengthened to make learning easier, faster and even FUN!
2. I know my kid is smart. Why does he continue to get bad grades?
Unfortunately, some people wrongly assume that less-than-stellar grades are a reflection of poor teaching, lack of intelligence or laziness on the part of the student; this is rarely the case.
The truth is, most bad report cards are just a reflection of a struggling learner and many struggling learners have an above-average IQ. That’s because IQ is simply an average of all the underlying cognitive skills, so it’s possible for a student to have a high IQ score and a learning problem at the same time.
For example, a child who has ADHD may have a severe deficiency in the mental skills of attention, and be well above average in other cognitive abilities. When you lump it all together and average it out, it’ll look like there’s no problem because the IQ score is average. In fact, that score is masking what could be a serious problem.
3. How do you strengthen weak cognitive skills?
LearningRx uses proprietary, customized training programs based on years of clinical and scientific research. These include a combination of one-on-one work with a professional trainer (NOT a tutor) combined with at-home follow-up.
4. Isn’t brain training the same as tutoring?
Not at all. Tutoring is academic-based and should only be used when a student has fallen behind in specific subjects (such as history) due to an illness, injury or family move. Brain training improves the underlying skills needed to perform tasks (like reading) and make learning easy. LearningRx’s programs tackle the source of learning struggles and fix them with permanent solutions.
Summer is a great time to address cognitive skill weaknesses before another school year (and another round of bad report cards) comes and goes. As a quick review, here are some benefits of brain training.