Six Facts about Learning Struggles

Published: Mar. 27, 2017 at 12:47 PM CDT
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If your child or teenager is struggling in school, here are 6 facts related to learning disabilities and learning struggles that you may find helpful

1) Accommodating a learning disability or struggle may not be the best solution. An accommodation for a child with slow processing speed, for example, might involve giving that child extra time to complete assignments. Likewise, an accommodation for a child struggling with attention issues might involve allowing that student to work in a separate area to avoid being distracted by other students. Neither of these accommodations address the core problems of slow processing speed or weak attention, both of which are cognitive skills that can be targeted and trained. In fact, in some cases, accommodations may "enable" the learning disability or struggle by working around the problem, rather than addressing the cause of the problem. Finally, accommodations don't help a child prepare for academics down the road (or adulthood) where teachers, professors, and bosses don't cater to individual needs.

2) Smart kids can struggle with learning. Have you ever wondered how your child can be creative, smart, and funny but still struggle in school? If so, you're not alone. That's because it's not only possible-but even common-for intelligent children to struggle with a learning disability. Did you know that Thomas Edison had dyslexia? Or that Albert Einstein had ADHD? Because IQ tests measure the combined performance of cognitive abilities, a child with six strong cognitive skills and one very weak skill, for example, can be both highly intelligent and learningchallenged at the same time.

3) The majority of learning struggles are caused by weak cognitive skills. Studies show that weak cognitive skills are at the root of most learning struggles. Cognitive skills are the foundational skills the brain uses to think, learn, read, remember, reason, and pay attention. In other words, these are the skills that make it possible to learn and perform mental tasks. Because these skills work closely together to perform even simple mental tasks, if even one skill is weak, it can make learning and life harder than they need to be.

4) Brain training and tutoring are different solutions to different problems. Many families look to tutoring to make school easier for children with learning disabilities or struggles. And tutoring can be the right solution, depending on the cause of the struggle. Tutoring, as you know, re-teaches information that was originally presented in class. It can be particularly effective for a child who has missed classroom content due to illness, injury, vacation, etc. Essentially, tutoring provides an excellent way for students to "catch up" on material missed due to an external cause. But if weak cognitive skills are creating the learning struggle, tutoring may help for an assignment or class, but it is not designed to target the weak cognitive skills that are at the root of the problem. To exercise and strengthen weak skills, you need brain training.

5) Weak cognitive skills can be strengthened. The one-on-one brain training offered by LearningRx uses challenging, fun mental exercises to strengthen weak cognitive skills. In the program, designed to help kids and adults of all ages, clients work one-onone with their own personal brain trainers to achieve the best results. One-on-one brain training targets and strengthens cognitive skills including attention, visual processing, auditory processing (critical for reading success!), longterm memory, short-term memory, logic & reasoning, and processing speed. In other words, if a weakness in any one of these areas is at the root of a learning struggle, that weakness can be strengthened. And when cognitive skills are strong, learning (and life!) is easier.

6) A one-hour cognitive assessment can give you a detailed look at your child's cognitive strengths and weaknesses. If your child is struggling in school, you don't need to wonder if weak cognitive skills are exacerbating the situation. A one-hour cognitive skills assessment is very reasonably priced and can tell you exactly what cognitive strengths and/or weaknesses are impacting how your child learns. You can schedule a cognitive assessment at any LearningRx Brain Training Center near you. look!