The Frostig Center has done more than twenty years of research regarding the topic of helping children with learning differences succeed in life.
Over forty students were studied over their lifetime; when they entered the Frostig Center, when they left, ten years after graduation, and twenty years after graduation. Researchers rated the student’s lives objectively through interviews and studying public records. They surveyed outcomes such as years of school completed and employment results. They listened carefully to what the students said during face to face interviews. All of this data was analyzed to determine what it actually takes for people with learning disabilities to succeed.
Learn how to help your children develop the six success attributes that were found to really matter; self awareness, proactivity, perseverance, goal setting, using support systems, and emotional coping strategies. These attributes were found to be more important than IQ and grades.
This guide is based on over 20 years of research conducted by the Frostig Center in Pasadena, California. The research traced the lives of individuals with learning disabilities in an attempt to identify factors that predicted successful life outcomes. The guide has been developed by Dr. Marshall H. Raskind, Dr. Roberta J. Goldberg, along with research associates Dr. Eleanor L. Higgins and Dr. Kenneth L. Herman.
The authors express their deepest gratitude to the Lund Foundation for its generous support in the development and production of this guide. Sincere appreciation also goes to the participants in the Frostig longitudinal research on success attributes, who openly shared their stories – both their struggles and their triumphs. Additionally, the authors would like to thank the Albert and Elaine Borchard Foundation for funding the research that led to the identification of the success attributes.
We hope that this guide will help parents as they work with their children to reach their full potential and become competent, content, and independent adults who live satisfying lives.
“I never thought I would get very far in life. But look at me now. I didn’t do too bad, did I?”
This comment was made by Vanessa, a 35-year-old family therapist with a learning disability. As an adult, Vanessa has a satisfying career, enjoys a network of caring friends, and is proud of her accomplishments. One might say that Vanessa is “successful.” However, it wasn’t always that way. As a result of her learning disability, the road to adulthood was paved with years of academic difficulties, problems with social relations, and low self-esteem.
Vanessa’s parents also struggled with her learning disability ever since she was first diagnosed in the second grade. They were devastated to discover that their daughter might encounter considerable difficulties learning to read and write, and develop the social and emotional problems often associated with learning disabilities in childhood and adolescence. They navigated through the pain of Vanessa’s school failure, the search for the right professionals to conduct assessments and provide instructional and psychological support, endless school meetings to clarify services, and the most difficult task of all — helping Vanessa grow up with a positive self-image in spite of her learning disability. In this process, like the millions of other parents raising children with learning disabilities, Vanessa’s parents became acutely aware that her learning disability would not go away, but was a life-long condition that would continue to affect many spheres of her life.
Even as an adult, Vanessa faces challenges in reading and writing, maintaining friendships, and, at times, feeling good about herself. Yet despite these struggles, she has managed to achieve outward success and lives a personally satisfying and rewarding life. How did this happen? Why do some people with learning disabilities succeed like Vanessa, while others find little reward personally, socially, or financially? Why do some individuals find success, while it eludes others?