As humans, we love categories – we like to know if someone is tall or short, or has Dyslexia or not, etc.
Categorization and classification allow humans to organize things, objects, and ideas that exist around them and simplify their understanding of the world and complex concepts. However, this approach can result in some people missing out on gaining support or having talents recognized.
I thought I needed to dedicate this week’s newsletter to provide the research evidence of why we need to be person-centered.
The link contains lots of references to show it is evidence-informed.
Go directly to the Do-IT blog.
I have placed all the content there so I can update the references as we gain new learning and new information. I hope you find this useful.
The reason for putting this blog together came after speaking with several parents whose children are struggling in school. One child was having difficulties with reading, listening, and recording in class, but the only solution being offered was being taken out for spelling lessons twice a week. There was a lack of understanding that the impact of Dyslexia for this child was pervasive and challenges were being presented to her throughout the day. The other child was finding writing notes, and organizing work was difficult. This led to feelings of isolation and difficulties joining in lessons. Both were displaying high levels of anxiety at home and impacting their sleep. Both are usually happy children but school was making them feel sad themselves. They were both insightful and articulate realizing they are struggling compared to others in their class. They were also both children wanting to do well and not disruptive to others in the school. School thought all was OK. But, the ripple effect was being seen at home.
I also asked on Twitter what parents wanted educators to know and some of the many responses included:
“Getting schools and other professionals to see that behavior presented at home, and behavior presented in public are two totally separate things.”
“Making the school aware that it’s not just the kids who obviously ‘look like they need support that needs support. My child hides this and they thought I was being neurotic, they said they were too bright, social, etc. Lack of understanding/awareness, they had no idea of their struggles”
This is important for us all to consider:
Task demands will vary over time – this is not a static picture – if the child has gaps in skills and can’t participate fully this will impact their learning and their wellbeing.
Some children ask how they feel in school and put on a brave face during the school day despite struggling and are often harder to notice. I have often seen this. The well-behaved quiet child in school can have a meltdown when they get home. Home is the safe space to do this. This is very distressing for parents. I remember it clearly with my own child. I think this is a protective measure.
Each day is 24 hours long. We all know that a bad day at school ( or work) impacts the way you feel and act at home. You come home and let it all out! Also, a bad night’s sleep means we are often under par the next day. Parents and teachers working together are vital. When there is good communication and partnership working it can make all the difference.
We need to recognize this is a dynamic picture ( see the blog about the ICF) and will need to be reviewed and needs to change over time. We are all part of the solution in helping each child and young person to be their best selves.
Amanda is CEO of Do-IT Solutions, a medical doctor and Professor in the field of neurodiversity, and comes from a very neurodivergent family. She ran a clinical and research service for more than twenty years supporting children and adults with neurodevelopmental conditions.