Learning to Walk Again

I consider myself lucky, yet if I could go back in time, I would choose to be at any other intersection than the one I was stopped at when a car crashed into me six years ago. This car accident has resulted in three major back surgeries and more pain than I could ever begin to explain.

The last surgery was performed just a few weeks ago, and it has been the worst of all. I am older now, not as strong. It fell in less than a year’s time from the other. And, worst of all, I had complications. I couldn’t walk at times. My legs locked up and refused to let me move.

I don’t know if this happened in my brain or my body, but after prednisone and cortisone shots, and a host of different medications, I figured out how to walk again. The problem? I was doing some sort of sideways shuffle, not my ordinary gait.

Like learning to walk, kids with learning issues can be taken back and taught to weave micro-activities into macro-activities. One step at a time.

Finally, one morning I figured it out. In order to correct the situation, I taught myself to say, “Heel, toe. Heal, toe.” Over-and-over again in my mind…in time to my steps. I had to teach myself to walk with my heels then my toes.

Heel. Toe. Heel. Toe.

It worked, although I still have to remind myself to do this every morning. I know the brain will eventually let me do this naturally again, but for now, it is a conscious effort until my brain decides it can be an unconscious act like breathing or pumping blood through my body.

So what does this have to do with learning issues? A lot.

Kids who struggle to learn need to do the same thing I did in order to teach themselves new ways to build neural pathways in the brain. They need taken back to a smaller stepping stone and repetitively perform this small, micro-activity. Then, they need to build it back up, one step at a time.

It has to be conscious at first, and then, eventually, it becomes an easy, nearly unconscious activity.

If your child struggles to read, you have to think about all the little components of reading, the micro-activities. Then you need to break it down and have your child practice these micro-activities until they become easy.

Heel. Toe. Heel. Toe.

Short a, long i. Short a, long i.

Of course, there’s a lot more that goes into reading than vowel sounds, like visual memory, auditory memory, visual discrimination, auditory discrimination, tracking the eyes smoothly across a page, visual closure, auditory closure…

I could go on. If you think about reading, it’s a wonder any of us can do it, but if your child is struggling, whether he has autism or dyslexia, you need to take him back and focus on building up those micro-activities.

Heel. Toe. Heel. Toe.

I may never run again, but I can bustle around my life again. But not if I hadn’t known about the brain, not if I hadn’t known about micro-activities versus macro-activities.

Heel. Toe. Heel. Toe.

I’m walking again, and it feels like a piece of heaven dropped down from above.

Your child can read or succeed in school, but not if you’re asking her to run a marathon before she learns to walk.

Heel. Toe. Heel. Toe.

Micro first, macro later.

Heel. Toe. Heel. Toe.

#helpforlearningissues #learningsuccessandmicroactivities #helpyourfailingchild #helpfordyslexia #breakbigskillsintolittleforlearningsuccess #helpforautism