Monthly Archives: June 2013

Lesson from a Golden Eagle

Living Well with Learning Disabilities

Keeping learning alive during the summer is a HOT topic with parents …Amp that up for parents of a child with learning disabilities! Parents are intent on keeping a young persons mind active during summer break. Taking life’s experiences, extracting the lessons and reusing them many places in your child’s life, is one way to nurture an active mind.

In the summer you can dip into so many experiences. Expose your children this summer to great activities and then have them relate these experiences to other parts of their life. When you take this extra step you create an awareness around  how learning can touch all of their life. As a life skill, this goes WAY beyond the classroom while having great impact in the classroom.

Here is an example. This weekend I hiked and played in nature seeing a golden eagle for the first time. This eagle was amazing! With a five-foot wingspan and golden head he truly was magnificent. Seeing him was experience enough but to tap into what he brought me was the real learning. Here is what I learned. He took several passes by us out over a cliff. He was majestic, confident, patient and sure while being present, attentive and non-reactive. He was so steady. I want to bring more of those qualities into my life. A great conversation with my family ensued.

Now the experience from the weekend informs the Monday morning task – or the paper for the classroom.  Asking what the lessons were…going for the deeper stuff is something kids are really good at. You will be surprised!

If kids can be present enough to break down the barriers between parts of their life, and have one inform the other, they will be able to carry their “life lesson” with them, like I carry the “calm confident, majestic, patient, and attentive” that the eagle taught me. Now THAT is the kind of summer lessons that I want to have and I want my child to have! This is especially important for kids with learning issues. Some parts of their life are hard and these lessons can be of great service getting through those times.

Be sure to ask about the deeper lesson from experiences you have. You will be glad you did as you will be rewarded with an active mind.

This is important stuff…let’s talk.

Fear – It Feels So Real

Living Well with Learning Disabilities

fear-is-a-lie_largeFear. It is a palpable emotion. I was reminded today how powerful an emotion it really is. My father had been “invited” to the doctor’s office. No one likes that invitation, especially if you had lung cancer six months ago and a chest x-ray in the last two days…

My logical mind said, “They have been discussing his healing, it probably has to do with that…” my emotional brain was out of control…OMG what if “it” is back, it is to soon! Can he take it? I’m SCARED!!! And so it went…bigger, badder and scarier as the minutes ticked by…

Then I thought, this same feeling happened when our son was diagnosed with a learning issue. How was he going to finish high school, get to college, how would he (and us) cope, what could he do to feel good about himself, earn a living and be a part of society?

The world comes crashing down on you in times like this. The weight is unbearable. You start shaking (maybe literally), your thinking goes foggy and perhaps you say some things you wish you hadn’t. What is important to know is this is what fear feels like. You have to hang on until it passes. It will. It always does. It is the unreal part. All those catastrophic thoughts, they are the heart of the unreal.

Have YOU felt FEAR around you or your child’s learning issue? Is your emotional brain in charge? How can you cope in a way that you will feel better and make progress?

Share your story. It is the first step to feeling better and progress. I was reminded how awful fear can be this morning. Dad and I talked when he returned with a clean bill of health. I told him I was scared. He said he was too. We shared and it diminished the pain.

You can share here. I will listen. Your pain will abate when you share.

This is important. Lets Talk.


Take Time for a School Year Review

Living Well with Learning Disabilities

TransformLDIt is summer! The air is warm and life slows down a notch. Kids, and parents of kids, are getting a break from the school routine. No one appreciates it more that those who have a learning disability or those who support someone with a learning issue. No Kidding. Freedom. Delicious!

So what about those that advocate for “Not getting behind” and “Now is a time to catch up” or “Get ahead so next year will be easier”? As the cry goes out for more learning, scheduled time and keep your skills up, ponder this….

What about assessing where you are right now, first, before doing anything else. Take stock of what you have learned this year. Parents you learned a thing or two, also. In addition, what can you celebrate that happened this year? There is such a mad dash to live in the future and in the process NOW gets trampled! Summer helps us see that we might be moving to fast. 

Lets slow it down and look at what could be gained from noticing the “Now”. What could be gained from noticing, talking about, and sharing as a family what you have learned this year? There are bound to be many small wins and learning that add up to a worthy celebration.

What can be gained from this exercise? Start with Self esteem around a job well done. Self-esteem comes directly from a job well done. Reviewing that well done job allows the benefits be deeply felt. Self-efficacy (an important part of resilience) comes through knowing successes and becoming aware you can replicate the result. This helps the learner be aware of how to parlay your knowledge to novel situations. As a side benefit, you are honoring a value of Family, Communication, Compassion, and on and on.

So how are you going to slow down this summer to reap the benefits of the hard work and progress you created in the last year? Reach out for ideas. This is important. Lets Talk.

Stay tuned. Upcoming entries will address keeping the learning alive without anyone realizing it and what it was like to live with dyslexia for a day…