Each child’s learning style is as different as their fingerprint. Although there is plenty of research to show that this is indeed a fact, most traditional classrooms still teach in a way that only meets the needs of very typical learners. Multi-sensory, explicit, and systematic ways of teaching, like Orton-Gillingham based reading programs, not only benefit students with learning differences, they can benefit all types of learners across the board. When a child is struggling to grasp a concept in a traditional classroom the go to “fix” is more of the same delivery but in a smaller environment and with a slower pace. This is not the solution. If we attempt to place a round peg into a square hole slower and in a smaller environment, will it all of a sudden fit? No, it will not, and it is the same thing for children with learning differences or different learning styles.
When you notice that your child is struggling in school, find out how the teacher is differentiating their instruction to meet your learner’s needs. More of the same in a different environment is not an acceptable resolution. Phrases like, “she needs to read more often” or “it will click with more one-on-one practice” are all signs that the educator does not fully comprehend the learner’s struggles and specific learning needs. This can feel frustrating as a parent when you don’t know where else to turn and you hope to see your child’s school staff as experts. Not all classroom teachers are properly trained to help children when they need interventions. Seeking outside help is the most effective way to help your child feel successful. It is important, when looking for academic support, to find a place (or person) that understands that all children learn differently and it is the teacher’s job to teach the way they learn, not the other way around.