Seldom have two words caused such anxiety for both students and parents. For some, poor grades can reflect feelings of inadequacy (as a student or a parent), worries about being held back a grade, or fears of not getting into a good college.
Who’s to blame for learning struggles?
For parents, these fears often manifest as blame; blame on the student, the teacher or themselves. And while the assumptions that less-than-stellar grades are a reflection of poor teaching, lack of intelligence or laziness on the art of the student, or poor parenting, they are almost always untrue.
The truth is, most bad report cards are just a reflection of a struggling learner, many of whom have an above-average IQ. That’s because IQ is simply an average of the combined strength of all our cognitive skills – the underlying tools we need to successfully focus, think, prioritize, plan, understand, visualize, remember, solve problems and create useful associations. They include things like attention, visual and auditory processing, memory, logic and reasoning, and processing speed.
It’s very common for a student to have an average or above-average IQ score and a learning problem at the same time. For example, a child who struggles with reading may have a severe deficiency in sounding blending and phonemic awareness (two subskills of auditory processing), and be well above average in other cognitive abilities. When you lump it all together and average it out, it’ll look like there’s no problem because the IQ score is average. In fact, that score is masking what could be a serious problem.
What about genetics?
It’s not surprising that parents who struggled in school often experience anxiety over their children’s report cards. While it’s likely that most of the concern stems from the parent’s hope for their child to get better grades than they did, another fear is that they’ve somehow genetically passed on their learning struggles.
Certainly, genetics can contribute to a small part of learning struggles (like reading difficulties); but the majority of learning struggles are simply the result of weak cognitive skills. Students with ADHD, for example, tend to have weak selective, divided and/or sustained attention. Even learning struggles that are inherited don’t need to be lifelong labels or diagnoses; cognitive skills can be strengthened to make learning easier, faster and even FUN!
So how do you strengthen weak cognitive skills?
Cognitive skills training (also known as “brain training”) uses intensive, on-on-one programs to tackle the source of learning struggles and fix them with permanent solutions. Effective brain training customizes programs based on the results of an initial cognitive skills assessment and uses exercises founded on years of clinical and scientific research.
Unlike tutoring which is academic-based, brain training is skills-based. While tutoring can be effective when a student has fallen behind in specific subjects (such as history) due to an illness, injury or family move, cognitive skills training improves the underlying skills needed to perform tasks (like reading) to make learning easier in any subject.
Cognitive skills training physically changes the connections in the brain and it works for all learning disabilities; dyslexia “trouble with words”), ADD, ADHD, dyscalculia (“trouble with numbers”), and certain autism spectrum disorder, including Asperger’s syndrome. In fact, because brain training treats the root cause – not the symptoms – of learning struggles, it can make anyone a stronger learner. From athletes looking for the mental edge and senior citizens fighting age-related cognitive decline, to soldiers and stroke victims fighting the effects of traumatic brain injury, cognitive skills training is changing lives by changing brains.
Let cognitive skills training change your child’s future by making learning easier. Make this your child’s last bad report card. Take the first step toward helping your child become a more efficient, effective and confident learner by having their cognitive skills assessed. You have nothing to lose and a future of better report cards to gain!