A New Approach for Helping Children
A New Approach for Helping Children
It is time for a new approach for helping children who are struggling in school. The strategy used by our educational system has been ineffective for many children. In some cases, it has even done more harm than good. This is not the teachers fault; it is the policy maker’s. We believe that teachers are the most important professionals in our society.
It is important to note that a child must be labeled with a type of learning disability or disorder, to receive special education services and funding.
Dr. Helms believes the terms “disability” and “disorder” can be disabling for children who are just struggling with academic learning. If a child accepts these terms and incorporates them into their self-concept, it can influence their choices, goals, aspirations, expectations, judgment, and how they handle challenges and setbacks. Also, teachers and parents may change their expectations of the child, thus reinforcing the label and affecting future interactions.
Dr. Helms believes that the term “disability” should only be used when a child has a vision, hearing, physical or significant special need. The term “disorder” should only be used when a child has a psychological or medical issue. If labels are a necessary aspect of the special education system, we need to use them to help students rather than assign them a life long negative identity.
Dr. Helms believes the primary cause of most learning difficulties, especially in the early grades, are developmental delays in what he calls the “Foundational Processing Systems”. If labels are necessary, he prefers the term ‘Delay’ because it sounds less permanent than disorder or disability. Some examples of “Foundational Processing System” delays are:
- Sensory Motor Processing Delay
- Physical Self-Regulation Delay
- Spatial Awareness Delay
- Visual Processing Delay
- Auditory Processing Delay
- Working Memory Delay
- Selective Attention Delay
Once a label is placed upon a child in our educational system, the strategy is to develop a plan that provides some accommodations and slows down instruction. By slowing down the instruction, aren’t we ensuring the child will never catch up? The fact is that most children in special education programs get further and further behind mainstreamed students as they proceed through school.
Dr. Helms believes that in the early grades, the first and most essential part of a plan, should be to strengthen the “Foundational Processing Systems”. Strengthening the “Foundational Processing Systems” would improve a child’s learning ability. If a child’s “Foundational Processing Systems” are not strengthened, the child will most likely never catch up, regardless of how much extra academic assistance they receive.
What makes it possible to strengthen developmental delays in the “Foundational Processing Systems”? Neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to continuously re-organize and construct new neural networks and connections, as a result of experiences. With the proper methodology, these systems can be strengthened significantly.
Dr. Helms designed the BRAIN LAUNCH programs to accomplish this.
Dr. Helms believes it is the parent’s responsibility, not the educational system’s, to insure that their children have a strong “Foundational Processing System”. Once the child’s “Foundational Processing Systems” are strengthened, and then if needed, the educational system could provide extra one-on-one assistance or accommodations. But, only until the child catches up.
It takes teamwork to make sure a child gets the best education possible. Make sure your child’s “Foundational Processing Systems” are well developed, so they have the opportunity to perform up to their potential.
Launch your child toward their true potential !
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