Throughout preschool and early elementary school, Nicole was a sunny, confident and engaged child. Now 12 and in grade 6, her teacher paints a different picture: “Nicole enters class pleasantly and seems to get along with the other children. During class, however, she never participates and it seems her mind is elsewhere. Nicole’s work reflects a general lack of effort, as if she doesn’t care.”
Jacob, age 9, loves playing with hands-on materials. Building elaborate designs with Legos, he shows confidence and capability. In class, though, Jacob is unenthusiastic and disconnected. Often Jacob looks pained, particularly during open-ended writing assignments.
Both children show signs of being a shut-down learner. The signs typically emerge in the upper elementary grades and become more pronounced by high school. They include:
- a sense that the child is increasingly disconnected, discouraged and unmotivated
- fundamental weaknesses with reading, writing, and spelling, leading to diminished self-esteem
- increased avoidance of school tasks such as homework
- dislike of reading
- hatred of writing
- minimal gratification from and increasing anger toward school.
This workshop will discuss different characteristics of these children, as well as identifying the common “red flags” and early “cracks in the foundation” that need to be understood. Ways of approaching these children and understanding the intersection of dyslexia and executive functioning will be a central part of the workshop.