Understand Your Struggling Child’s World In These 4 Videos
May 18, 2016 by Geoff Nixon
The Learning Videos That Led To Gemm Learning
Your child is diagnosed with a learning issue or is struggling with reading. Now what? Most parents, including me, get this news and move immediately into fix it mode.
However, before you do that, it is worth taking the time to put yourself in your child’s shoes. Try to understand the world as he or she sees it. For me, coming to that understanding was a life-changing event. It frightened me and saddened me, but it also gave me the patience to meet my child as he was, and not to manage him as I wanted him to be. And it gave me the profound conviction that I would do whatever I could to improve his life.
For me, that life-changing came in the form of the F.A.T. City video (below). Ever since embarking on this journey, which eventually also led to starting Gemm Learning, several other important learning videos have come to my attention, each adding to the overall picture.
F.A.T. City (Frustration, Anxiety, Tension)
This video shot in 1987 remains the classic video that demonstrates the difficulties children with auditory processing delays, dyslexia or other learning difficulties experience in class. This difficulty creates anxiety, which exacerbates their ability to participate in class and leads to frustration.
The moderator of this class, Rick Lavoie, has gone onto create a series of videos and books about the various aspects of life impacted by a learning difficulty. This includes a second video workshop, “The Last One Picked … First One Picked On, Learning Disabilities and Social Skills,” and a book called “It’s So Much Work to Be Your Friend: Helping the Child with Learning Disabilities Find Social Success.”
Here is the first workshop called, “How Difficult Can This Be?”
This is a video about the embarrassment many children (and adults) feel about their inability to read and the extreme lengths they will go to, just to avoid reading. The Children of the Code Project is a not-for-profit, formed in 2008 to draw attention to the challenges involved in learning to read, unscrambling the “code.”
The website has a wealth of short learning videos that explains why reading is a challenge. It then goes onto to describe the avoidance behaviors and shame that is often felt by children who are struggling to learn to read or who feel they are figuring out the “code” at a fast enough rate to please their parents and teachers.
This video describes that shame, using anecdotes from well-known learning specialists and scientists.
Why Reading Is So Difficult
Here is a video by a collection of cognitive researchers and learning specialists that describes why reading is so difficult to learn. The takeaways for me are that reading is a seriously challenging task that requires mature language processing as a basic minimum and then the capacity to manage the complication of English rules and conventions.
In Finland and other countries ahead of the US on international reading tables they start reading at 7 years of age. This video does not mention this, but makes a compelling case for delaying learning to read until later in life — a forced early start, which unfortunately is becoming more common in the US, risks a lifetime hate-affair with reading.
Think About The Brain As A Muscle
And now we come to the second reason I started Gemm Learning. When I started looking around at options, I saw there were lots of ways to spend thousands of dollars on an evaluation, and there were plentiful choices when it came to tutoring or special schools that help deal with the consequences of learning disabilities.
However, it was only by chance that I came across the potential to rewire learning, to address the underlying delay by identifying the underlying difficulty and exercising it just like you might nurse a sore shoulder back to health with regular exercises.
While there has been a lot written about the power of the brain, it is amazing to me that while billions of dollars are spent annually on the consequences of learning issues, very little is being invested in tapping into neuroplasticity to target the underlying difficulties.
There are a number of learning videos on neuroplasticity and how it can be used to impact reading and learning. This one by Dr. Don Elger uses physical skill anecdotes to explain how brain change works. He compares the ways to build biological skills and shows how the same process can help cognitive and learning skills. Among others, it explains how practical and real brain change can be. It backs up the results seen by Fast ForWord and other brain-based software that have consistently shown dramatic gains in a short period of time.