Skills Deficits or Areas for Growth?

Training And Development

Why, when looking at helping children, do we focus on calling areas that they have yet to master as deficits and disorders, rather than areas for further growth with directed instruction?  Why do we take a deficits-based approach rather than a strengths-based approach?

Whether a child would benefit from more reading instruction using a multisensory, structured, language-based approach to master reading and spelling, more instruction and support in the development of social emotional skills, or instruction to expand his vocabulary and language skills through verbal and nonverbal means, we need to frame these are areas for further growth to add to his list of strengths. We would increase the child’s self-image and confidence by focusing with the child on where his current strengths are and where are areas of future strengths, which can be developed through individual, focused instruction.

This would require us to  not talk about having the student stop doing activities that showcase his strengths, such as art, music, or sports, which is a problem that many students have to live with. Instead, we need to focus on using the times already set in  the curriculum for the skills training needed for future endeavors by providing smaller group and individual skill-building instruction.  I know, we call this special education. But special  education focuses on deficits. Special education has also lost its focus on remediation as policies have changed to look at most-inclusive classrooms, which for students in need of skill building, become more restrictive environments.

In the world of sports, and in many  businesses, as this point, the emphasis has changed to coaching to focus on areas where strength building and skill development are the targets for advancement. A good coach doesn’t talk about where failures are. The focus is on what is the goal of the player or student.  Then the objectives and resources are looked at to help the student reach his goal. Some goals are many years away, such as a 3rd grader who wants to be a firefighter some day. But the objectives can be very similar academically for many long-term goals. The resources may include one-on-one assistance/instruction to build a firm foundation for further growth. It may entail providing technology for accessing knowledge beyond where his current academic skill-set it. It may require providing more instruction on the hows and whys of social emotional interactions, along with support and feedback as he practices these skills.

Let’s develop a growth mindset when looking at providing support to children. Let’s stop focusing on defeats but on future endeavors with the supports for success.

Dyslexia and Me: Dyslexia, Self Esteem and Depression

pediatric profiler pictureThis is an important blog to read about Robin Williams.  I have to admit that I did not know that he had dyslexia although I  was well aware that Whoopi Goldberg had it.

It is so important for us to realize that dyslexia and other learning struggles do have an impact on children.  What they don’t need to hear is that they have to work harder and then they will get it.  What they need is for teachers and parents to realize that the “usual” way of teaching them might not be fitting, and to look at other methods which have evidence to back that they help.  The use of multisensory, structured, language-based reading approaches have been around since the 1930’s but most schools still don’t use them, even for the struggling readers. While the most severely impaired students with dyslexia may not make as much progress they still will make more than with the right brained approach of look/memorize, write and rewrite approach. They need to have the left side of their brains activated in order to develop the phonemic and phonologic neural pathways.

I hope that you approach children differently who are struggling with learning after you read this.

Dyslexia and Me: Dyslexia, Self Esteem and Depression.

Bill to Adopt Internationally Recognized Definition of Dyslexia Now Law – Cape May County Herald

See on Scoop.itDevelopmental & Behavioral Challenges in Children

By Press Release TRENTON — Legislation sponsored by Senator Jeff Van Drew and Senate Education Chair M.

Dr. Pat McGuire‘s insight:

This is such an important action by New Jersey for all those with dyslexia.  We as a nation don’t recognize dyslexia as the neurologic, language-based disorder of oral and written language that it is.  It is sad that knowledg has to be legislated but sometimes that is the only way to get people to acknowledge something they need to know more about.  Now lets get the rest of the states that are not already on board (which is most of them) so that accurate identification and remediation can be put in place for our children.

Contact your elected officials to see where your state is (Iowa doesn’t recognize it for example) and push for a bill to be introduced and pushed to passage fort his significant minority of our population (1 in 7 to 1 in 10 depending on how it is classified).

See on

Stressed Out? | Reasons Your Child’s LD Might Stress You Out – NCLD

See on Scoop.itDevelopmental & Behavioral Challenges in Children

Parents of children with learning disabilities and ADHD endure many challenges that can trigger stress. Being aware of your own stress levels and specific reasons for stress may help you cope.

Dr. Pat McGuire‘s insight:

This is a very important article to read because these are real reasons why parents of children with learning problems struggle.

Having worked with these families for 30 years, I know about these stresses and about how many people (friends, family, schools) want to add in their two cents as to what the parents must be doing wrong, or not doing, when the child doesn’t magically lose their learning disability with the interventions provided by the school.

Share this with others who are raising children with learning disorders.

See on

You Not A Program Helps Your Child to Read

You Not A Program Helps Your Child to Read

This is a must see video that shows what a scam this program is/was. Development has shown that the vast majority of children are not ready to read.  They are able to recognize patterns which is why they can find their favorite toys and you.  The best way to help your child is to talk to them, read to them, and help them notice all that is around them visually and auditorally.


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Help me to help your with challenging children & adolescents

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Are you ready to help in the education transformation?

different yet beautiful

different yet beautiful

A colleague shared this video with me which I must pass on to you.  It shares the facts about what is happening to our country compared to others in terms of literacy and strong nations.  We have to make a change in how children are taught and how they are seen when they struggle developmentally and behaviorally.

Literate Nation 

Share this if you agree.