You and your child are likely experiencing a lot of changes in this new age of remote learning.
Everything you and your child are used to has changed.
For your LD child, these changes might add to their challenges and increase any anxiety they already feel.
I know how difficult it can be to adjust to such dramatic changes because I experienced learning disabilities as a child, before becoming a learning specialist and educational consultant.
But what if I told you that knowing one simple thing about your child can help you solve all these issues, and help make remote learning easier for them?
Just as every child in a classroom has their own personality, character, likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses, each child also has their own learning preferences.
Their learning styles or modalities describe how they prefer to learn, and how they learn best.
What are Learning Styles?
As I describe in more depth in my online course, The ABCs of Academic Success, learning styles or modalities are the visual, auditory, or kinesthetic ways in which your child learns.
Some children learn better by seeing – they process text, charts, graphs, maps and other visually represented information better. They are visual learners.
Others learn better by listening – they like lectures, presentations, audiobooks, and reading study materials out loud. They are auditory learners.
Kinesthetic learners learn best by physically engaging with their learning – they remember things they’ve done in experiments, interacting with learning material, moving around, and so on.
In a typical classroom, where everyone is taught in the same way, your child might not be able to play up to their individual learning strengths.
School in fact tends to favor visual learners – a lot of the information is presented visually, tests must be written, and visual learners (and you’ll see why soon) have a natural advantage in this environment.
This mismatch in learning styles might be one of the causes of learning difficulties your child experiences.
Academic overwhelm and anxieties, attentional issues, etc., may all arise in part because your child does not know how to learn, and what works for other students does not work for them.
And while remote learning has its own challenges, it also gives you and your child the opportunity to figure out strategies that best match your child’s learning style, with the one-to-one guidance often missing in a traditional classroom with dozens of other students!
Let’s take a look at how your LD child’s learning style will make remote learning easier for them.
4 Ways Your LD Child’s Learning Style Will Make Remote Learning Easier
1. Matching Learning Styles with Tasks Helps Unlock Your Child’s Full Academic Potential
Remember, every child is intelligent and has limitless potential – if they are falling behind their peers, it is simply because their peers have strategies that they don’t know about yet.
For example, imagine asking a chef to fix your car, or a mechanic to cook you a five-course 7-star restaurant meal.
Of course, they might be able to do it – but would they be able to do it as well as a professional who has developed strengths and strategies in their field?
Learning how to learn involves matching your child’s strengths to their learning strategies in the same way.
Usually, you’ll find your child is a combination of learning modalities, with one or two styles dominating.
So, if your child is primarily a visual learner, classes involving mostly the teacher speaking might be less helpful to them.
Instead, help them translate this information into a visual format – presentation slides the teacher may have prepared, corresponding chapters in the textbook with illustrations and diagrams, videos about the topic, etc.
Guiding your child to summarize what they’re learning in mind-maps is another incredibly helpful and brain-science proven method to boost understanding and memory.
A mind-map, beginning with a circle in the middle with the main topic in the center, has spokes going around the sides leading to the different subsections and topics.
This benefits visual learners – and in fact, all learners, as you’ll see in a bit – to map out everything they need to learn.
It gives them an overview of the topic, see how everything is connected, and is much easier to remember than lines and lines of text.
It helps them develop an understanding of the associations between what they’re learning, and creating associations is a neuroscience-backed way through which the brain learns best!
Auditory learners, on the other hand, might benefit from the audio of online classes, since they learn better through hearing.
Ask your child’s teachers whether these classes can be recorded, so your child can play them back to themselves later.
Your child might also learn better from reading out the information to themselves, so they can hear it out loud rather than just read them off a page.
You can have your child explain what they learned to you in their own words, which is one of the best ways of both learning and knowing that your child has successfully understood and retained the material!
If your child is a kinesthetic learner, they might have a hard time sitting for long periods during an online class listening to the teacher or reading off the screen.
But using technology to learn also opens up the opportunity to learn in a more interactive way.
Consult with their teachers and look into learning resources at your child’s grade level which engage the learner – interactive quizzes and learning games, for instance, are one example.
Your child might like to move around when they’re studying or listening to information – while this isn’t something they could do in a classroom, they can do this at home.
Encourage them to try walking around or tossing a ball at the wall while they study, timing their movements with information they’re learning or trying to recall.
Have them act out what they’re learning to you – this can be a fun and exciting way for kinesthetic learners to apply what they have learned and therefore remember it!
There are plenty of other ways to match your child’s learning style to specific strategies, and these will differ depending on the child and their unique modalities, as I go into in The ABCs of Academic Success.
The moral of the story is simple – knowing what your child’s learning strengths are helps you know how to play up to these strengths!
2. Showing Your Child How to Use Other Learning Styles When Necessary Makes Remote Learning Easier
A chef might be right at home in the kitchen of a five-star restaurant, and a mechanic doing his best work in a garage.
But if they have the right skills, the chef can also fix a car, and a mechanic can also cook a stunning five-course meal.
In just the same way, your child is not limited to their dominant learning style.
When your child goes back to school, they are going back to a system that, as you saw earlier, benefits visual learners better because of the way classes and assessments are conducted.
Even during remote learning, the quizzes, tests and homework they’re required to submit will be in the written format, and a lot of resources teachers hand out are in text.
So just like the chef and the mechanic, your child can benefit from not just matching their learning style strategies to their primary learning modality but adding strategies from other modalities too.
Mind-maps are an excellent visual learning tool for all learning modalities.
Did you know that the brain processes images several thousand times faster than it processes text?
Images communicate a lot of meaning instantly, compared to decoding a bunch of letters and making sense of them.
This is why visual learners have an advantage in school – they are naturally able to convert what they learn into mental images in their head.
Adding on strategies like mind-maps and other visual learning strategies, like visualizing what they read and other strategies I cover in The ABCs of Academic Success, gives them the tools to succeed in all learning environments.
Because your child will have their own unique combination of learning styles, they will also need a combination of strategies from each style that works best for them.
And figuring what this combination is can help your LD child overcome not just any difficulties with remote learning, but with learning overall!
3. Proper Use of Learning Styles Increases Motivation
And as they do, they will feel more motivated, which in turn, helps them learn better!
This is a brain-science proven fact – when your child accomplishes something, for example, getting top grades for a quiz or piece of homework, their brain’s reward center lights up thanks to something called dopamine.
This neurotransmitter or chemical messenger makes them feel satisfied and happy with themselves – and the brain likes it so much that it wants to feel it again.
As a result, your child feels more motivated to get top grades in their next assessment, too, and to put in the work to get there!
In fact, you can help your child develop a system to stay motivated for learning, based on what neuroscientists know about dopamine!
By breaking their class assignments down into smaller tasks – which I call “smashing the task” – they can stay motivated in a sustained and healthy way!
For example, if your child set themselves the task of completing an essay in a subject they struggle with in the next hour, and are unable to do it, they’re not going to feel very motivated.
Just as accomplishing something can encourage their eagerness to accomplish it again, failing at something can discourage them from trying again.
On the other hand, if you broke the task down into mini-tasks, and accommodated their learning style strategies into it, every time they accomplished one of these mini-tasks, their dopamine network would be firing up and keeping them in a great mood to learn.
Instead of saying they will complete the essay in an hour, have them break it down into steps like – research the topic, narrow down the topic, create a mind-map, explain it to you, act it out, etc.
Not only does this help you make sure they stay motivated, it also helps you makes sure that they have a deeper understanding of what they’re learning, which will also last longer in their memory.
4. Learning Styles Boost Confidence
By helping them discover their learning style and work out the learning strategies that best match them, they know that they have a strategy for success in any learning situation.
This helps your child be confident in themselves and in their skills and can help them overcome challenges like academic anxieties and social difficulties.
They can overcome their shyness in asking questions and interacting with teachers and classmates once they have greater self-assurance in themselves and can express themselves and their ideas confidently.
Most importantly, your child will be happier and stress-free, knowing that they are fully equipped for any new learning situation!
I hope this article on 4 ways your LD child’s learning will make remote learning easier has helped make your and your child’s life easier during these uncertain times.
In my course, The ABCs of Academic Success, I offer many such strategies to help you identify your child’s academic troubles and find the most effective solutions.
Once you get into the course, you can sign up for a FREE 15-minute consultation session, where you can personally discuss your child’s learning style strengths and strategies with me!
As an Educational Consultant and Learning Specialist for over 30 years, Dana created an easy-to-follow, step-by-step online course called The ABCs of Academic Success so you can help your child thrive academically! Check it out and get a free 15 minute consultation with Dana too.