Got a Problem?
Talk it Out!
I am a educational strategist. I can spend one hour with a student and know exactly what they should do in order to complete school successfully. But sometimes life get in the way of education. Sometimes students have problems. Big ones, small ones, and ones that don't seem like problems yet. Either way, they don't just go away.
Reading, math, test anxiety, and lack of attention/motivation are the most common problems that students face in high school. It is important to fix such issues early. Why? They get harder to fix as time passes - much harder. Plus, students become less willing to accept help as they reach adulthood.
Step #1 is Identifying the Problem - See a doctor then get an educational assessment like the Woodcock-Johnson or the Wechsler, which includes an IQ, Memory Index, Auditory Processing Assessment, Core Subject Learning Ratings, and in the hands of a true pro, a clear picture of what is wrong and how to start fixing problems.
Unfortunately, there are A LOT of people out there willing to turn every new piece of science into a business or a product. Many good people fall into this trap. If someone is selling a solution to ADHD, Inattention, Auditory Delays, or Autism -- BEWARE! The hard truth is, THERE IS NO CURE FOR LEARNING ISSUES!
There is help. Things can get better. But the underlying problem will always be part of the child because it is part of their neurowiring. And absolutely nobody has been able to change neurowiring with any consistency. Each brain needs a highly customized approach and that takes time which does not give a business a good financial return. So they package what they want to sell you.
My clients (including my own children) have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on Tutoring, Little Giant Steps, LearningRx, NACD, Lindamood Bell, Scottish Rite, Sensory Integration, Hyperbaric, Cranial Massage, and numerous alternative doctors and herbals. It all works sometimes for some kids but none of it works consistently.
MY TOP THERAPY SOLUTIONS
ADHD (ADD, Inattention, Auditory Processing)
- I am generally opposed to medications but I have seen kids who could not move forward with out it. I will always try supplements, physical therapy, neuro-feedback, and nearly any alternative therapy first but when the time comes, meds may be needed.
- Therapy is also needed but not the kind you might think. Processing disorders are at their core language acquisition problems. Intensive and early speech therapy or auditory training therapy can work wonders. Once it starts to work, don't let the therapist release you. The verbal feedback from the student is the key to reorganizing those neural pathways.
- Anyone like me, who has been in this field for a few decades but is not deriving income from offering services, will tell you the truth: APD, ADHD, etc are actually just different ways of saying that the brain is wired in an unconventional way. To fix the problem you have to target what is specifically wrong in a given student. To do that, you have to look for all possibilities, not just apply what you know. This article is a bit more sensational than it need be and the title is arguable but the facts are accurate. Enjoy!
- This disorder runs in my family. It is what drove me to educational strategizing. Eventually, I met Dr. Kenneth Lane. His results were consistent and remarkable. Then he retired and Dr. Brecheen took over his practice. Lane's books are still in print and there are other practitioners who use the same
- Looking back, I wish I had not wasted my client's time & money on Brain Balancing, NACD, BBAC, QEEG & Neurotherapy. Any benefits we did see, quickly evaporated after treatment ended. Some strategist have reported permanent damage from such programs.
- Almost all of the disorders on this page will have a sensory component. Kids with these issues always stim, i.e. bounce, pace, tap, twirl, video game, or bounce off the walls. Setting up regular intervals (up to 4 hours/day) for the child to stim is a major part of therapy for APD, VPD, ADHD, etc.
- The best outcomes I have ever had was with daily trampolining in combination with auditory training and therapeutic tutoring in core subjects. If I could be a parent all over again, I would build my child's entire day around these three things.
- This type of at-home program combined with something like Little Giant Steps or Star Institute for up to 18 months, has turned out remarkable results in long term learning and behavior. The other national programs, IMO, are a disgrace and do more harm than good.
- Intensive phonics remediation using any solid program will work for any student if administered daily for 9-12 months. Consistency is the key. A tutor can ease the load but don't switch programs after you start.
- I actually do not like Saxon Math but their Phonics Intervention Program has worked wonders for many students over the years.
- I rely on private therapeutic tutors 2-3 times per week using immediate feedback and conversational based, hands-on, interactive grade level math. Never remediate! Nothing ruins a subject like going back and doing it all over again. Go slow the first time and trust that once they get it right they will be leaps and bounds ahead of their peers.
- I use Khan Academy for curriculum. Start at the beginning, go slow, and get it locked down. I do a little every day instead of a lot at one time. I always add real world components like grocery shopping calculator, baking measurements, balancing checkbook, interest accrual for savings accounts, etc in order to make the work have meaning. I do this EVERYDAY, day in and day out. It will come naturally over time.
- Talk Therapy 2+ times per week with medications added as needed. Remember, meds are not curative but they can placate the brain chemically and allow therapy to work.
- I always use PsychologyToday.com's free service that allows you to screen for therapist in your zip code, under your insurance, that specializes in your child's disorder.