I’ve written before about how important it is to advocate for your child as a visual learner in an education system that isn’t designed to meet their needs. But along with the good thoughts on being an advocate for your child, there’s a pretty big elephant in the room that needs mentioning. As much as we need to be sensitive to the needs and stresses visual learners face – it’s not time for excuses or a pity party.
Visual learners are highly intelligent people that need some help understanding how their mind works and getting in sync with the educational system so they can thrive and learn effectively. But at the same time we have to be careful we don’t start making excuses or expect less of them. They have bright futures ahead and it’s critical we adapt teaching to the way their brains work best so they are well prepared for what lies ahead.
Stay informed. Know what’s up.
As a parent and advocate you need to know what’s happening at school. What happens during your child’s school day? Do they have art, music, gym and recess? (You’d be surprised what schools do and don’t have these days.) Get to know the classroom teacher. Be involved. Volunteer if you can, but if you can’t there are plenty of other ways to be part of what’s happening. Be sure homework is getting done every day. Get extra help where needed. Visit the classroom. Attend conferences. Attend school events as a family. You being involved shows your child school matters to you and it will to them.
Get a plan. Not a pity party.
Visual learners often struggle in one or more areas of the academic classroom. For some kids this can lead to low self-esteem, acting out in class, or withdrawing emotionally. But the more you’re involved the more you can see where those areas of struggle are and can do things to bring change. Being a visual learner is not a handicap. And it’s certainly not an excuse for kids not doing the work or doing well. These kids may need extra help in certain areas, but they need to do what they need to do. I was reminded of this last year when our grandson entered elementary school. The amount of reading and writing in first grade was challenging for our visual learner, but we dug in and did some extra work at home with sight words and handwriting. The extra effort on his part and our part, rebuilt his confidence and had a big impact on his classroom work. Now he’s in second grade, feeling a lot better about himself, and it looks like we’ll be spending some extra time this year learning math the visual way. But we’re inspired by our past victories and expecting good results.
Where there’s a will there’s a way.
As a parent you want what’s best for your kids. You may not be well versed in the educational system and feel confused about why your child’s not thriving. Maybe you’ve even gone to the school staff and didn’t get the help or clarity you were looking for. I want to encourage you to press in and keep at it. You saying “my child just doesn’t like math”, or “I didn’t like reading either” is not okay. You may have had similar learning challenges that weren’t addressed but this is a new chapter and your child’s future. Not liking something is often the signal for where they’re struggling. So pay attention. Dig in and find a way. No powerless parenting allowed. No excuses.
Working hard and putting extra effort into something pays big dividends. Kids who learn to work at something are stronger, wiser and learn far more than the subject at hand. It builds skill, character and self confidence they’ll carry into everything they do.
Here at BetteFetter.com we’re committed to helping you create success for your visual learners. Check out the resources we have on hand – but stay tuned for lots more. And let us know what else you need us to help you with.