Ep. 100: Uncovering Why a Child is Struggling

Sep 27, 2022 | 0 comments

This podcast began in November 2020 in the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic with the hopes of helping parents with a child struggling at home. I wanted to bring information and expertise into their home so they can better support their children. And now, Diverse Thinking Different Learning is celebrating 100 episodes! Let’s revisit the very first episode that sets the stage for the work we do at ChildNEXUS and the mission of the podcast.

Millions of kids struggle with learning, processing, and social difficulties. These challenges interfere with their ability to reach their full potential. My name is Dr. Karen Wilson and I am on a mission to make sure that when kids are struggling, we find out why and we give them the support they need to thrive.

Welcome to the Diverse Thinking Different Learning Podcast. This podcast is a resource for parents and educators working with children with learning difficulties. It is my hope that after listening to this show, you will better understand the challenges that some kids face and know how to help them overcome difficulties, become more resilient, maintain a love for learning, and experience more success.

Today I’m discussing what struggles look like for kids with learning challenges, what parents and educators should do when they see kids are struggling, when to consider an evaluation for a child, and the benefits of targeted intervention. 


Show Notes:

[2:51] – This episode is about why the identification of learning challenges is so important. What do we do right and where do we go wrong?

[3:39] – Approximately 5% of school aged children have a learning disability and 13% of all public school students receive special education services. Another 15% are struggling due to an unidentified learning or attention issue.

[5:25] – Struggles can look different in different children. Dr. Wilson lists many different examples of what struggles look like in different children.

[6:51] – With misunderstanding sometimes comes mislabeling. Mislabeling can lead to behavioral problems and can cause a lot more anxiety.

[8:12] – We see the struggle, but what we tend to do is to rationalize the difficulty.

[10:16] – With a learning disorder, a child typically experiences trouble learning skills in the regular classroom and tends to be behind their peers in one or more areas.

[11:28] – If you don’t know what the underlying problem is, how can you appropriately intervene?

[12:30] – Some reasons a child may be struggling with reading comprehension is poor working memory, poor phonological processing, and issues with receptive language.

[16:00] – The same is true for writing. Writing is such a complex task for students to tackle.

[19:23] – If you don’t know why a child is struggling, it is difficult to give them the proper support.

[19:57] – Assessments serve as a guide for appropriate intervention to address the difficulties a child experiences.

[22:16] – When we give children the appropriate, evidence-based intervention for their specific learning disorder, we can reorganize their brain pathways.

[24:06] – Not all kids who struggle need a full, comprehensive evaluation. Some learning struggles could be tied to anxiety.

[25:13] – If a child has anxiety and a learning disorder, the intervention for the learning disorder is not enough. The anxiety also needs to be addressed.

[26:46] – When kids don’t get enough sleep, you get poor attention or other possible issues in school.

[28:56] – When a real problem remains unidentified, children may grow to have low self esteem and are at greater risk of struggling with anxiety and depression.

[30:33] – We have to move from observing the struggle to getting students the appropriate intervention and stop rationalizing the problem.


Links and Resources:


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The Diverse Thinking Different Learning podcast is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or legal advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Additionally, the views and opinions expressed by the host and guests are not considered treatment and do not necessarily reflect those of ChildNEXUS, Inc or the host, Dr. Karen Wilson.