"You can't fix poor academics with more academics," Lisa says. "That's like training every day for a marathon - only using the wrong form and techniques."
It's amazing how the solution to poor reading is usually a dose of more reading taught in the exact same way that didn't work all day.
Non-traditional learners need non-traditional methodologies and techniques to help them learn in a way that makes sense to them - not anybody else.
"Most of our learners are bright, intelligent students who die a slow death every day at school. They're usually right-brain dominant, which means they are creative souls who learn best through whole picture learning and movement. If they're interested in something, they have amazing hyper-focusing powers, but if they don't see the value in learning, they turn off like a faucet. They're also hands-on, tactile learners who learn best by doing. The modern classroom relies heavily on the lecture format now, and these kids are lost a large portion of the day," Lisa explains.
There's a different way to help these kids succeed in learning, and it only takes a different approach!
Kids who are tactile learners love science! They have a natural affinity toward it, yet they get confused when science is taught through reading and answering questions. This isn't science; it's reading comprehension. Slowly, they turn off to not only science, but learning as well.
That spark for learning can be lit again. Children naturally want to learn and they actually take learning seriously. Think about a day when your child had a substitute where they didn't get any work done. Usually, kids are indignant about this. They know they go to school to learn.
Learning Should be Fun and Easy!
If you have a non-traditional learner or a child with a learning disability, then your child needs a different academic regime. These kids need movement, pictures, color, crossing the mid-line of the body, auditory stimulus, patterns, and visual cues.
They need the bigger component of academics broken down into smaller sub-skills of learning so we can build those sub-skills back up into the larger skills of reading fluency, reading comprehension, and math computation.
Before a student can write and take notes, we have to make sure she knows the sounds of each letter and how they come together to form words. We have to make sure his hand is strong enough to hold and manipulate a pencil. We have to know that he can spatially find his place on a page and know how to formulate letters and numbers. We have to know she can process information well enough to get her ideas down on papers.
For math, we make sure that a student knows math facts well enough to perform accurate computations. Higher-level math skills can't be taught until the building blocks of learning are in place. That means as student can't stop and think about what 7 x 6 would be. He has to have automatic memory retrieval of this.
Once a student stops to figure out a math fact, she forgets the sequence of events that need to take place to work out the actual math problem and usually comes up with the incorrect answer.
At Harp, we know that math is sequential; you must have A to get to B and B to get to C. We go back and make sure the student's learning foundation doesn't have holes in it. We systematically go back and fill in any learning gaps the child might have. Step-by-step, we fill in gaps with our unique, copyrighted, and research-driven methodologies.
We Teach to Mastery
All too often, schools fail to insure mastery. They teach a skill and if a student doesn't master that skill, they just move on, hoping that somehow the student might fill in the missing gaps on his own.
This might work for a handful of children, but for those with learning issues, it's a death sentence. In order to put crucial academic skills back into place, the student needs to master lower-level skills.
At Harp, we know a student can't write with confidence and efficiency unless visual motor integration skills are strong. That's why we spend a lot of time on those skills in the lower levels of our program. The good news? If a student is strong in visual motor integration, she'll pass the multitude of tests she is given and will move on to more difficult skills.
If she doesn't pass the tests, that's okay. She just spends more time practicing the skill until she passes it.
This is called skills mastery.
For nearly twenty years, Harp Learning Institute has been helping students overcome learning differences and reach academic excellence. Children with dyslexia have learned to read and spell through our Orton-Gillingham based TouchTile Reading System and the Harp Learning System. Often, they surpass their current grade level. Kids with autism have learned to speak, read, and write. They've learned social skills and have a shot at a normal future.
Kids with ADD/ADHD have learned to focus and tune out distracting noises. They've learned to quit being impulsive and think before acting or writing. Students who struggled with visual and auditory processing issues have learned to process sensory information correctly. This led to better grades and standardized testing scores.
After a few months of our program, students generally feel more balanced. They attempt new tasks without fear or remorse. They gain confidence, and this carries over to academics. They start doing homework independently...with less battles.
For the past four years, we've offered a private school for special needs learners. Our school caters to learning differences. We offer our same program but add intense academics n reading, writing, spelling , and math. We strive to offer as many hands-on activities as possible and use guided practice as the norm. A focus on social skills makes a happy, well adjusted student.
The Definition of Insanity
Albert Einstein is credited with coining the phrase, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over-and-over again, but expecting different results.”
This is especially true with the push for academics at an early age. Young children who would have developed at their own pace in "sandbox" kindergartens are pushed into academics too early. They turn off to learning and fall behind their peers. (Research shows that many students with dyslexia have been pushed too early, thus forming the dyslexia.)
The next progression for these students is generally to offer an intervention program. Unfortunately, this rarely works, because a new or different approach isn't taken. Kids sit in boring classes hearing or seeing the same information presented in the same way that didn't work in the first place.
All too often, even when a multi-sensory program is provided for the students, it doesn't address key visual and auditory memory deficits. Kids are forced to remember detailed and complicated reading and spelling rules or memorized math formulas that don't make sense.
Even worse, bad habits aren't corrected. The student continues to line up math problems incorrectly. She reads words wrong and adds in letters or sight words that don't belong. He fails to understand what is read but is still given long passages that don't make sense. She misspells the same words over-and-over, especially in writing, and nobody gives her a strategy for success. Nobody helps him overcome weaknesses in memory or in processing.
This truly is the definition of insanity!
A Better Way
At Harp, we offer a lasting solution so you don't have to keep hiring tutors or send your kids to intervention programs that don't work. We go to the root cause of the problem and correct it. Whether your child has dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, autism, ADD/ADHD, or a processing disorder, we can help!