Learning challenges affect people of all ages. The difference between a learning challenge and a learning disability is the severity. Usually those affected are frustrated and discouraged, not knowing why they struggle, when others seem to find work easy. They are often very intelligent or gifted, they just process information differently. Not all of these students are seen as having special needs, or learning disabilities, but they are struggling learners. Parents and teachers ask them to try harder, offering consequences or rewards as incentives, yet no amount of labor seems to be enough.
Indications of a Learning Challenge
- ✔ Homework is a struggle
- ✔ Your child often forgets instructions
- ✔ Schoolwork takes longer to complete than it should
- ✔ Your child is frustrated
- ✔ Your child works harder than he should have to
- ✔ Your child feels dumb
- ✔ Your child is behind in their grade level
- ✔ Your child is exhausted at the end of the school day
- ✔ Your child has frequent stomach aches or headaches on school days
- ✔ Your child often forgets math facts or spelling words
Learning challenges are neurologically based, which means they have roots in the neurological system. The neurology of learning or neurological network (1) of our brain develops from our neuro-reflexes and movement. Processing skills (2) are how we use our neuro network, and life management skills (executive functioning) (3) are how we manage our neuro network. Without these tools in place, or with weak underlying processing skills and executive functioning, a learner will struggle academically (4).
With a learning challenge, the individual’s input, output, and/or internal processing is inefficient. This typically causes exhaustion and overload from what others see as a normal amount of work.
The key to eliminating learning challenges is to identify the underlying causes. Once identified, a program can be designed to correct the inefficiencies and eliminate symptoms.
Whether a student needs intervention depends on the amount of stress the learning challenge is causing, and how it is impacting learning, performance, and self-esteem.