Category Archives: Learning Issues

Living Well with Learning Disabilities

The Power of Reflection

Living Well with Learning Disabilities

Take a good look at this picture…I was trying to capture an image of a little frog in this puddle. To no avail! I must have shot the picture 10 times. Then I realized what was blocking my shot…I couldn’t move away from my own reflection despite my best attempts…What a parallel to life!IMG_20130822_080023_598

Our kids with learning disabilities are always living with their own reflection.  When people talk of being stuck, or can’t move forward, those of us in the helping professions look see what is blocking them from their desired progress. Sometimes the blocks are self created – internal blocks – and sometimes they created by our situation – external blocks.

The internal blocks are often made up from our own beliefs and habits that can cause problems because we are so used to them we don’t even know they exist. In this case my reflection was so familiar I didn’t even know it was blocking the shot! The same thing happens with beliefs and habits in everyday life.

What can you do about the familiarity with your own habits and beliefs? Becoming aware of the assumptions and default patterns you or your children subscribe to and examine them more closely is a great place to start. This can be tricky but well worth the effort. People with learning disabilities do so much better when they become aware of their habits and beliefs. Here are some examples of habits and beliefs that could be blocking progress for a person with learning issues:

  • “I have weaknesses that hold me back!” This is a belief.  Weakness demand to be understood along with what you do about them. We aim for having the child with learning issues be able to say, “That is hard for me AND this is how I would rather accomplish that task”. Do you see the beginning roots of self-advocacy? Unseating the limiting belief allows the opportunity for self-advocacy to grow.
  • Avoidance is a sneaky habit for folks with learning disabilities. Let’s be honest, it is hard to engage in tasks that are hard! Yet, being aware that the habit of avoidance can create low-level stress and feelings of lack of competency might have a person with learning disabilities choose not to avoid things. Replacing avoidance with “Doing the hard thing first” can boost feelings of competency and remove stress. Becoming aware of the avoidance habit is the challenge here. The fix is motivating and easy!

How can you find out about your limiting beliefs and habits? Ask for help from those you trust. Simply ask, “What do you see that I do that gets in my way that I may be unaware of?” As a parent, redirecting negative thoughts and actions is a great way to build healthy habits and beliefs. Start early and employ this strategy often to help build healthy self-esteem in your child.

As always, reach out if you have questions around the concept of limiting beliefs and habits. You will soon see how uncovering these will make noticeable improvements in you and your child’s life!

Come visit us at The Navigator’s Way for more inspiration on how to live well with learning disabilities!

HOT NEWS: The Navigator’s Way is a participant in a new compilation of blogs for the Learning Disability Community. Come see LDAction: Creating Possibilities

Perfect Fall?

Living Well with Learning Disabilities

ImageWhat a perfect changing leaf to herald the fall! I saw this on my walk in the woods this morning and was stunned by its color, pattern and early arrival on the floor of the forest. I snapped the picture. It was only when I got home did I see the hole. At first I saw a perfect leaf. What did I see now? I decided, in fact, the leaf is perfectly complete with the hole. Learning Disabilities can be viewed as a “Hole” or as part of a “Whole”, perfect picture, too.

What if you were brave enough, yes, that is what I said, BRAVE ENOUGH, to view the learning issues you and your child deal with as a part of the WHOLE, absolutely perfect picture of your child? What would be different? Would you be more excepting of the learning disability? Would you waste as much time lamenting and feeling cheated, that you or your child got a bum wrap in life? Would you more easily look past weakness and embrace the strengths that were present? What if you didn’t waste those precious moments worrying about what it could be like and what it should be like? What would you do with that time you are now wasting in worry? (Believe me it’s more time than you think.)

What would the emotional impact of focusing on the positive and leaning into strengths and passions do for your child and frankly, you? Positive psychology’s newest findings say we need to be happy FIRST and then we will find success. Boy that spins around the old “I’ll work hard to “make it” so I can be happy later” thought process. We have had it backward all these years!

There are proven ways to get rid of the fear, worry thus letting the brilliance of your child with learning disabilities truly shine. In doing so you will not put off the happiness we now know is critical for success. Reach out to learn about coaching and parent programs to help you see the beauty of the WHOLE instead of the HOLE in your life.

This is important – Let’s Talk!

Learning Disabilities Influence The Weather of Your Life.

Living Well with Learning Disabilities

rainI’m watching a gentle rain this morning as it lightly touches down on a pond in my back yard. The rain looks as though it would be gentle as silk strands if it were to fall on my skin. The water surface is hardly moving. In stark contrast, the rain yesterday was pounding. It was the kind of rain that leaves little bubbles on the water as a result of their impact.

Events, people and circumstances all have a part in creating the “weather” you and your family experience. Learning Disabilities can be a major weather pattern in any family’s life, let alone the individual who actually experiences the learning issue. Moreover, learning disabilities can be a rain storm that has trouble moving on if you let it get entrenched.

When our youngest son was diagnosed with LD, there was a hurricane blowing through our home. It felt like a CAT 4 storm! Siblings were furious at the extra time the child with the learning issue was absorbing, my husband was having trouble grappling with the reality and acted like an ostrich by burying himself in his work, I felt guilty and was trying to keep our family ship sailing forward at the same time…and notice, we haven’t even mentioned the child with LD who had “quit school”! This was a hurricane for sure.

So here is the deal…There are ways to stay out of a hurricane when dealing with learning issues:

  • Get smart – learn all you can about what you’re dealing with.
  • Talk with all your family members – don’t sweep anything under the rug. Share knowledge and feelings. This will avoid the building of those hurricane force winds.
  • Learn to be an Advocate.
  • Reach out for help in areas that you’re struggling. Ignoring challenges doesn’t make them easier.

Wouldn’t it be great to feel the soft silken rain instead of the downpour or worse, the hurricane? It really is up to you what weather the learning disability creates in your family. Reach out today to The Navigators Way to see what options are available to calm the storms your experiencing.

 This is important – Lets talk.



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…



Welcome to the Navigator’s Way

Living Well with Learning Disabilities

littlegirlThe dynamic between parents and kids is powerful. Used to its best advantage it moves mountains.  Kids with learning issues need their parents to be powerful, optimistic and compassionate. They need their parents to understand where they are challenged, to trouble shoot compensatory strategies and advocate in a big way for their child and their ability to succeed. One of the ways a child with a LD learns to thrive is by watching their parents handle the issue…so you better jump right in when it comes to the learning issue in your family!

AND I know it’s scary to jump right in…..

I am living my dream of helping parents of kids with learning issues. You see, I have traveled that road and know first hand, how scary it can be to “step into the fog” around raising your child in a world that likes to put people into boxes. “Focus on those strengths” I kept saying to my youngest son who had awful learning issues. AND “Know your weakness’s so they don’t get a hold of you and tear you down when you’re not looking” I would say. And you know, just as I do, that there is so much more… We deal with all of it at The Navigator’s Way.

I compassionately coach parents, young adults and individuals with learning disabilities to grab a hold of their dream by using their strengths, passions & unique talents to find out of the box answers to perplexing questions so that they are free enough to create a successful and fulfilling life. Come on over to The Navigator’s and see how you can get started tackling your challenges with learning issues.

Let’s talk. This is important stuff. I can’t wait to hear from you!