The Neuroscience of Learning

I found some interesting articles on neuroscience and education written by Ken Wesson.  Also his blog is very interesting.  I wish schools took science into account when educating our children with learning differences instead of relying on outdated models.  Getting my child into a small class really helped him learn.  I listened to the audiobook The Brain That Changes Itself and have been trying to incorporate neuroplasticity principles into my child’s day.  He memorized a very long poem when he still did not have functional communication.  Everyday, I have him walk along the concrete curb in the parking lot until we get to our car, its takes no extra time out of our day.  At first he couldn’t do it.  He slowly increased his balance until he could walk along the curb independantly. It took a full year.  This is the same kid who couldn’t ride a tricycle when his peers could.  We got him a balance bike.  At first, he couldn’t make it more than a few feet without tiring out and he would ask for a break.  We had a breakthrough when I read about using grassy hills to get kids up to speed which makes them more stable, and the grass breaks a fall.  Falls are an important part of learning too.  After a few trips down the hill, he caught on to how it feels to balance.  As he developed more skill, he got faster until last week I noticed him gliding faster and lifting up his feet.  So I got him a small bike and put him on it, and he was able to ride it, no training wheels.  All I can say is, wow!  I figure that because of his brain damage, he will require much more practice that typical kids to achieve many of his skills.  So, that is my plan to help him oversome his weaknesses.  Fortunately my son’s health has improved and he has gotten a lot of help at school and he has the drive inside him to be successful.  I don’t think anything is impossible for him.

I would recommend the book Negotiating the Special Education Maze for parents of kids with special needs.  Getting a good IEP is crucial.  Trying to find a district friendly to people with special needs is also important.  I have heard horror stories about how some districts have a bad attitude about getting services to those in need, seeing them as a burden instead of being compassionate.  I did hire an advocate at one point and it was money well spent.  Networking with other local parents is important to find out what services are available.  And if you find a good teacher/district/administrators, be sure to write them thank you letters; and occasionally write to those special teachers and let them know when your child is older how much of a difference they made.  Teachers have a difficult job,  with budget cuts, bureaucracy,  so many responsibilities, and so little time.

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