When a student struggles, there can be many reasons. Some students have just missed some information along the way. Others simply take a little longer to “get it.” And sometimes some information is just difficult. But none of those characteristics should be on-going. Getting “a little behind” should be a very temporary condition. It shouldn’t last months or years. If it does, it normally means that something else is going on.
One of the things that really frustrates parents is when they can see that their child is bright, but certain “roadblocks” keep making school difficult. Things like:
- Taking 3 hours to do 45 minutes worth of homework
- Need someone sitting right there with them in order to get their work done
- Can’t keep their attention on their work for more than a few minutes
- Don’t get it, in spite of lots of help and repetition
- Appear lazy or unmotivated
- Don’t recognize words from one line to the next
- Can’t seem to get the “big picture” in a story or textbook
- Seem disorganized
- Can’t follow directions
When time and attention don’t solve these roadblocks, what can parents do? Frequently they hire a tutor…someone to provide academic help for their student. When that doesn’t work, they start “tearing their hair out!”
Often, the characteristics listed above (and others) can indicate simply underlying thinking and “executive function” skills that are weak or have not completely developed. These are the skills that allow “academics” to make sense. They make it possible for a student to process all of that information that is covered in school, in their reading, and even in their life experiences.
What are these underlying skills?
Here is a list of the technical names for some of these skills:
Auditory Processing: to process sounds. The major underlying skill needed to learn to read and spell.
Divided Attention: to attend to and handle two or more tasks at one time. Such as: taking notes while listening, carrying totals while adding the next column. Required for handling tasks quickly as well as handling complex tasks.
Logic and Reasoning: to reason, plan, and think.
Long Term Memory: to retrieve past information
Processing Speed: the speed with which the brain processes information.
Saccadic Fixation: to move the eyes accurately and quickly from one point to another.
Selective Attention: to stay on task even when distraction is present.
Sensory-Motor Integration: to have the sensory skills work well with the motor skills -such as eye-hand coordination.
Visual Processing: to process and make use of visual images.
Visualization: to create mental images or pictures.
Working Memory: Holding information in your memory while deciding what to do with it.
While these skills develop naturally in some students, others have a number of areas that need “exercising.”
So how can someone strengthen these skills?
Through the years there has been research in each of these skill areas. Programs have been developed and implemented. These are the types of programs that Learning Enhancement Centers have been using for over 10 years.
The focus is not on academic subjects, but rather on building those skills that hold some students back from the kind of academic success they are capable of.
The best part of this kind of approach is
that the goal is for students to become
And because those underlying skills are brought “up to speed,” they start supporting a student’s academic work, and the need for extra help diminishes or disappears.
“Will this brain training ‘fix’ all learning problems and my student get A’s?”
What the brain training can do is strengthen those underlying processing skills. After any “program,” the next step is always to transfer/transition those skills into academic work.
How do I know if my student needs processing skill training?
At Learning Enhancement Centers, an evaluation is done to determine a child’s areas of strengths of weaknesses. This evaluation helps to verify which program(s) would be best to meet the child’s needs. A plan is made for each individual student, and if we aren’t the right place, we will tell you.
I am tired of watching my child struggle, what should I do next?
Call or email us today, we will talk about your child and your concerns. If we think we can help, we can schedule an appointment for an evaluation.