Common questions that parents ask about to help my child learn better
Another School Year Begins
Question: What is the most common cause of learning struggles?
Answer: While genetics, inadequate instruction and low motivation can contribute to learning and reading difficulties, science confirms that by far, the most common root cause of learning struggles in underlying cognitive skill weakness.
Question: What are cognitive skills?
Answer: Cognitive skills are the underlying tools that enable kids to successfully focus, think, prioritize, plan, understand, visualize, remember and create useful associations, and solve problems.
A child’s cognitive skill set is made up of several cognitive skills including auditory processing, visual processing, short and long-term memory, comprehension, logic and reasoning, and attention skills. Each of these can also be divided into identifiable sub-skills. For example, attention is made up of sub-skills such as sustain attention (staying on task), selective attention (ignoring distractions) and divided attention (handling more than one task at a time). Each of these skills and sub-skills play a specific and necessary role, and must work in concert before an individual can learn effectively.
Question: What causes dyslexia and other forms of reading disabilities?
Answer: A 10-year study by the National Institute of Health found that 88% of learning-to-read difficulties resulted from weak phonemic awareness – (the ability to blend, segment and analyze sounds)
Question: What about kids with ADD/ADHD?
Answer: With the right program, most children who have been labeled as having ADHD, ADD or other learning disabilities can improve from three to five grade levels and about half the students no longer require medication.
Question: How do you determine which cognitive skills are strong and which are weak?
Answer: A professional cognitive skills test is the only way to pinpoint the exact cause of learning problems.
Question: Is there anything I (as a parent) can do at home to help?
Answer: Parents and teachers can watch for common traits that children with weak cognitive skills often display, including:
- Difficulty paying attention
- Poor test scores, grades or reading comprehension
- Poor memory
- Difficulty organizing activity
- Poor study and work habits
- Taking a long time to complete tasks
- Disinterest (or dislike) in school