Wednesday, August 3, 2022

“Overachiever?” is that possible?

One of my favorite learnings from college was the discussion about underachiever and overachiever. Clearly, an underachiever is someone who’s achieving below his or her potential. But an overachiever has been said to be achieving more than they are capable of.  Now isn't that silly?  How can anyone achieve more than they’re capable of? What it really means is that if one has is labeled as an overachiever, they've always had the capacity and the potential, but circumstances have prevented them from achieving what they were capable of – all along!! It could be a learning style or environmental issue or several other possible problems. But the issue becomes - - in order to uncover that individual’s real, true, actual capacity, their circumstances need to be changed and/or adapted. Sometimes that may be difficult - but it doesn't change the fact that it can be done.

 As an example, in the early days of LD, the definition of learning disabled was one who wasn't able to achieve up to their potential due to a learning impairment or impediment. They had the potential, but some often neurological disconnect prevented learning or performanceSo, the issue becomes figuring out how to overcome or work around that learning impairment. And that's where the challenge and the change comes in!

SO – what can you do, as a parent?

Patience. Try and try again, with patience. Show no frustration…

Try different approaches.  Most of us use all three modes of learning: visual, auditory and kinesthetic.  For some, the kinesthetic approach – touch – holding in their hands – may be the best.  Most of us [about 70%] are visual learners – but that doesn’t eliminate the others.  I can do two things at once – but ONLY if I turn the radio up REAL LOUD.  Experiment, OBSERVE, see what works – and especially, what they REALLY dislike or jump back from - and avoid it.

I once worked with a young person with learning challenges – he hated sitting in a chair – but if we went outside and practiced arithmetic – counting trees on the playground, he lit up!  He loved it!

And don’t always rely on their teacher to do all this experimenting – teachers have a lot of kids and a lot of varied and varying responsibilities.

And please don’t ask your child how they learn best – THEY DON’T and WON’T KNOW.

Einstein said, “we cannot teach people, but instead provide conditions in which people can learn and grow.”

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