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When Learners Shut Down: How to Help Your Academically Discouraged Child (page 2)

When Learners Shut Down: How to Help Your Academically Discouraged Child

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Updated on May 12, 2009

In fact, Selznick says, if these kids can survive school without losing too much self-esteem, they have a good chance at being highly successful.

Lloyd Stone, a classic shut-down learner growing up, has turned out to be successful despite his earlier challenges in school. Today, at 53, Stone is president of Manny Stone Decorators in New Jersey, a company that designs and builds trade show exhibits for clients on a national and international scale. I’ve overcome this and adapted to it and have actually been able to assimilate into society by creating a different path,” Stone says. “It’s almost like a mutation … I branched out in other directions that got me to the same place.” Stone’s experiences in school have also given him a very specific take on best practices in business: “I hire B students. A students, things come too easily to them,” Stone says. “I want the B student, the guy who has met with defeat and has been able to learn from defeat.”

This should be music to many parents’ ears. However, Selznick urges parents to trust their instincts when their kids are young and to spot the learning problems early. “Some people will say, ‘Oh, you know how boys are. He’ll grow out of it.’ But if your gut tells you something’s wrong, get it checked out,” Selznick says. “Save your kid the trouble later.”

If you think your young child might fit the mold of the shut down learner later on, here are a few things to look for:

  • Tuning out in circle time
  • Highly spatial and visual learners
  • Active or over-active
  • Difficulty with language-based activities such as reading and writing

Shut-down learners don’t develop overnight, and early intervention is key. Selznick suggests that if the problems persist into 1st or 2nd grade, a visit to a child or school psychologist is probably a good idea.

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