What are available solutions to activate inefficient learning pathways? My last article reviewed the importance of understanding the four primary sensory learning pathways; visual, auditory, kinesthetic-tactile pathways, (VAKT: Visual-Auditory-Kinesthetic-Tactile teaching method, http://www.dyslexia-parent.com/VAKT.html) and these entrances must be in working order. If the senses do not integrate, there becomes a learning problem not only in the classroom, but with everyday interactions.
Unfortunately, learning deficiencies are stigmatized. Although most of us have a learning pathway block, we are afraid to address or identify it, even though it is holding our processing speed down. Advanced processing speed can change your life, and even direct you to a new, more satisfying career. Let alone, determine your child’s future.
If it is your child having difficulties, there are many remedies to tap into their intelligence capacity. Remember, futures are at stake. A processing deficiency, or block, should not be ignored, or minimized.
Parents, unaware of the foundational cause of their child’s learning problems, flounder with eliciting expensive tutors, which can do some good. Practice “Drill and Skill” software training also helps to some degree, although it is like handing an energizing coke to a runner with a broken leg. Like information processing, the race can not be won until the leg is repaired and mended.
To be very sharp you have to have high level cognitive skills; visual and listening memories, plus reasoning ability. That is the bottom line.
So, you agree and say, “What can I do?”
There are five choices:
1. Tutoring Private and public company tutors abound. They teach subject matter, like reading and math. It takes months or years of time to make headway, as learning is encumbered by the student’s slow information processing rate.
2. Cognitive Skills Remediation Before you seek tutoring, you should find a cognitive skills training program. Many abound. Over four million are evidenced if you search the words “cognitive skills training.” Regarding other program choices, be certain to check their documented and published results, with their track record, as many claims are sketchy at best. And most importantly, keep in mind that each cognitive skills program company applies a different methodology using a variety of theory applications. Have an educational expert help you to evaluate the various programs.
3. Private Psychologists offer cognitive skills training, and methods vary greatly from individualized private counseling, to small group therapy. Some offer computerized Brain Mapping and Neuro-feedback Training. These treatments are designed to reduce stress, create focus, and create a new picture of how the brain operates. Request scientific data regarding their treatments that promise to create educational or work performance improvement. In other words, request documentation that their methods work to the extent you are expecting. Most psychologists do not retrain specific cognitive skills.
4. Software Learning Programs are available for any subject matter, such as reading and math, or cognitive skills improvement like perceptual training. There are many companies that sell these in a variety of educational and self-paced formats. They are good as auxiliary programs, but may often require supervised assistance. Schools and classrooms routinely use these in individual workstations for small groups or for independent practice to accompany teacher instruction. Unfortunately, some students may have deficient capabilities, such as slow visual or listening processing, and can not follow these programs without assistance with the practice sessions.
5. Phonics Programs offer excellent training for improving reading skills. There is a noted leader in the market, Lindamood Bell, which has been around since the 1960s. Their strategies evolve from the early basal reader phonics systems used in the elementary classrooms to teach reading. Individualized training is available in centers for periods of time, taught in small group by certified trainers. The drawback is that although reading is enhanced, overall cognitive skills are not developed to jump-start math, verbal and spoken language, and science capability.
Choices are difficult to make. But, get help right away, the sooner the better before your child develops low self esteem and feelings of endless frustration. The long-range benefits will out-weigh the initial up-front cost investment. I worked hard retraining my three children to new heights. It really paid out. As I told my children from the age 12 on: “They were not going to live at home in their 30s.” And, they haven’t. With their on-going successes, it is now tough to get placed on their calendars.
Program Content Developer of The Bridge To Achievement, Educational Consultant, at Mem-ExSpan, Inc.; Received a Masters Degree in Special Education – Learning Disabilities from the University of Kansas. Attended the University of Texas, the University of Iowa, and graduated with B.S. degree in Education from Drake University, majoring in Education, English, and Speech-Drama. Taught grades K-8 in seven Midwestern public school districts. In 1980, formed the non-profit 501 C3 Educational Media Therapy Consultants, Inc., later changed to Innovative Learning Stratagems, Inc. (ILS) a national consulting group offering teacher and parent informative workshops and student scholarships for cognitive skills and sensory integration retraining. http://www.memspan.com/ils.pdf Additionally, formed Mem-ExSpan, Inc. to research and develop educational cognitive skills retraining content for individuals ages 9 to adult. Established thirteen national training-test sites, and published and documented research from six experimental quantitative studies over five generational developmental levels. Five published longitudinal reports appeared in The Journal of Accelerated Learning and Teaching (JALT) http://www.memspan.com/jalt.html with several demographic groups. Website: http://www.memspan.com and http://www.memspan.com/parents.html