How to Facilitate Learning in this New Reality
Online learning is the “new normal” but it can put a strain on families already struggling to navigate these uncertain times. The novel coronavirus has driven us all online, making it difficult for students who need extra help to rise above the digital noise. But amidst the confusion, we may be able to illuminate some opportunities for kids with learning disabilities.
Education is a lifelong endeavor. To borrow a popular turn of phrase, it is less of a sprint and more of a marathon. But life tends to put obstacles in our way, no matter where we plan on going. Learning disabilities can impede the way that students absorb certain educational materials. When behavioral patterns get disrupted, kids feel lost, having to find their place – be it in a book, a lecture, or even an online session.
COVID-19 has presented the greatest challenge to society that many of us have experienced in our respective lifetimes. All of our routines have been upended, which proves to be a daily frustration. Now consider the perspective of a student trying to overcome a learning disability. The struggle to focus on a lesson plan becomes increasingly difficult, especially when the plan itself keeps changing day by day.
If your kids are having issues with the rapidly evolving realities of our pandemic educational system, we can help. Contact NeuroZone online or at one of our three convenient Southern California locations: Playa Del Rey, Santa Monica, or Redondo Beach. Call (310) 821-3640 to discuss your unique educational challenges and we can work together to transform those obstacles into jumping off points.
About Learning Disabilities
The human mind is a collection of curiosities and individual flourishes. The way that a math tutorial “adds up” in your head may be vastly different than the way it plays out in another student’s brain. The common core curriculum of state and national learning standards attempts to engage these variations in our thought processes. But what if the student and teacher are on completely different wavelengths altogether? It is important to identify some of the most common learning disabilities to assess how to approach online learning without leaving anyone behind.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
ADHD can really detract from a day’s learning. Kids may express ADHD in a number of ways, including fidgeting, lack of impulse control, or simply the inability or unwillingness to focus. To diagnose where you are losing your child’s attention, consider a free consultation with NeuroZone. We can determine the best online learning tools to redirect a student’s wandering mind and make sure that your next day of learning is better than ever.
Autism Spectrum Disorders
As the name suggests, Autism Spectrum Disorders encapsulate a wide array of conditions. Many symptoms of autism manifest themselves socially, which may not necessarily interfere with a child’s overall learning trajectory. In-person schooling, however, places a great amount of importance on social-emotional learning. Online classes may actually remove some of the obstacles from certain autistic children’s daily routines, but that can only be determined on a case-by-case basis. Even if a child on the autistic spectrum shows improvement during these days of online schooling, we should use this as an opportunity to help kids prepare for the return to social-emotional learning.
When school presents an overwhelming challenge to students who dread situations like crowded classrooms or pop quiz pressure, those kids may struggle with anxiety. Certain stimuli can trigger physiological responses like a rapid heart rate, obsessive, inescapable thoughts, and impaired functioning at school. Online learning allows us the ability to strip away those external stimuli and concentrate on the lesson playing out on the screen. It is a process akin to neurofeedback training, a service that is central to the NeuroZone model of psychological improvement. By identifying the ways in which the brain responds to a series of sights and sounds, we empower our clients (and their kids) to study their own minds’ activities.
Dyslexia is one of the most common examples of a communication delay/disorder. The information from the written page is not properly making its way through the cognition process. Kids with dyslexia get frustrated when they fall behind the rest of their peers, so it is imperative that we help streamline the comprehension process and remove any blockades that stand in the way of success.
Program Your Own Pace
As you can see in the descriptions for all of the learning disabilities described above, the common theme is a lack of control. While we all feel a bit discombobulated since the spread of COVID-19, we are learning to take back some semblance of control. The ways in which we find our way back to a “new normal” will offer a bevy of opportunities in the learning space.
One advantage that online learning has over group gatherings is its ability to modulate the pace of a given lesson. A common complaint about public education plans is their inability to bring every student forward at the same rate. One child may struggle while the rest of the class speeds ahead. That makes the ensuing days, weeks, and months a race to catch up rather than absorbing the materials on a meaningful level.
Online learning changes the paradigm, offering video tutorials and interactive screens that play out at the pace designated for each individual student.
Additional Help Is Just a Click Away
When a child is lost, they raise their hand for assistance. But when learning disabilities cloud a student’s perspective, they may find themselves raising their hand after every piece of information. Online schooling can be optimized to include additional help that doesn’t distract the entire class. Instead, it creates a detour for struggling kids and provides them additional context to walk them through the lesson plan according to how they are processing it.
Cyberspace: The Ultimate Controlled Environment
Let’s face it: modern life is noisy. Every time a car horn blares or a coworker chatters away, the residual audio distraction can prove to be too much to bear. Now multiply that sensation for people on the autism spectrum. Loud noises cause many autistic individuals undue stress. The anticipation of audible stimuli can cause an autistic student to shut down, eliminating the ability to carry on with that day’s curriculum.
Even Temple Grandin, about whom HBO made an award-winning biopic, admits that loud, sudden noises still startle her. In the aforementioned TV movie, Ms. Grandin observes the anxiety on the faces of the livestock on her farm. She strives to ease their strife, pioneering a new chute device that cradles the cows as if hugging their anxiety away. In a key moment of the true-story narrative, Ms. Grandin allows her own chute device to quell her burgeoning panic attack.
Temple Grandin provides the ultimate illustration of how controlling one’s environment helps mitigate external stressors. Online learning offers several opportunities in that same vein. The popular video conferencing technology utilized by many online education providers organizes the learning experience onto one finite screen. When you control the interface with which you teach, you allow a feeling of control to pervade the entire demeanor of the learning process. Autistic students can focus on the familiarity of their device rather than unexpected noises or lights streaming in from the window. The only streaming going on now is online learning.
Filter Out the Distractions
Digital schooling not only lowers the volume on group learning, it harnesses the power of focus. Lesson plans can be laser-guided, assembling all of the essential materials on the screen without added distractions. Kids struggling with ADHD may actually benefit from the online experience. It is important that parents, teachers and administrators collaborate to make sure that the devices on which kids are interacting are optimized for their individual needs. That means no superfluous apps that can derail an otherwise productive virtual learning landscape.
Lest you think that online schooling removes all of the social-emotional benefits of the in-person models of education, think again! Zoom and other video networking software have allowed wondrous innovations in the field of socially distanced synchronous learning. Kids can still raise their hands (virtually), break out into designated study groups (virtually), and share each other’s work (virtually). Truly, the only limit on the future of education is our shared imagination.
Benefits of Neurofeedback
One amazing way to prepare your little ones for the challenges of online learning is to dive right in. At NeuroZone, we offer students the opportunity to learn digitally and monitor their own progress as it occurs. Kids can react to the neurofeedback activities on their screen and study the brain waves they are generating as a result. It is the ultimate online learning tool!
Private Consultation at NeuroZone
Not only is neurofeedback an exciting educational opportunity in these uncertain times, but it also allows you to diagnose various learning disabilities before they become more pronounced. Brain training identifies chaotic or unwelcome thinking patterns and directs the human brain into more productive modes of operating. Call (310) 821-3640 to schedule a free consultation and check out our blog to familiarize yourself with our work before you arrive.
Education is its own reward. When we help students with learning disabilities break through their barriers, we all emerge more enlightened. It thrills us to read the kind words that our past clients have shared online. Their praise galvanizes our resolve to continue providing world-class service from the convenience of Southern California.
How much does online learning assistance cost in California?
You are the author of your own life lesson plan. We are merely here to usher you further down your chosen path. NeuroZone offers free consultations to help identify the areas where you want to focus. From there, we will provide transparent pricing along with a comprehensive strategy for your ongoing quest to be the best. See you in (virtual) class!
- Burns, M. (2013). Go Figure: Math and the Common Core. Educational Leadership, 70(4), 42-46. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1003272
- Peterson, R. L., & Pennington, B. F. (2012). Developmental dyslexia. The Lancet. 379 (9830) 1997-2007. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(12)60198-6
- Stiegler, L. N., & Davis, R. (2010). Understanding sound sensitivity in individuals with autism spectrum disorders. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities. 25 (2) 67-75. https://doi.org/10.1177/1088357610364530
- Grandin, T. (1988). Teaching tips from a recovered autistic. Focus on Autistic Behavior. 3 (1) 1-8. https://doi.org/10.1177/108835768800300101
- Kohnke, L., & Moorhouse, B. L. (2020). Facilitating Synchronous Online Language Learning through Zoom. RELC Journal. https://doi.org/10.1177/0033688220937235