Giftedness and Learning Disabilities appear together when both strong potential in some areas of test performance are present along with weak skills in others or when emotional regulation is immature. Giftedness with Learning Disabilities is diagnosed ...
Giftedness with Learning Disabilities is diagnosed when test performance shows very high scores in some areas of test performance that are significantly higher than weak areas, even if these weak areas are not below average (this result is not due to chance).
Learning disabilities are diagnosed when test performance indicates significant differences between strengths (that signal potential) and weaknesses, that do not occur by chance.
By the time action is taken, many learners have fallen behind their classmates in developing their knowledge, skills, and function within average parameters for the grade. Thus, especially in young students, difficulties in learning to read, write, spell, use language, and do mathematics have appeared. These skills look weak in comparison to their other skills not dependent exclusively on classroom lessons that reflect an average or even gifted potential (i.e. they seem bright).
If measures to correct the root of the problem are not undertaken, then this diagnosis becomes predictive of life outcomes, a self-fulfilling prophecy, since the ineffective (for them) learning approach, style, and strategies that caused the problem are embedded in the regular school system in both public and private schools.
However, at the VLC, we now know the brain is neuroplastic and can improve in skills and function when a different, strategic approach to teaching these learners is undertaken. The VLC’s individually designed, strategic, targeted program addresses its signature programs and services to the root cause of learning difficulties and developmental delay in each case in 4 ways:
- We establish goals and potential academic destinations by identifying and using the learners’ strengths (i.e. giftedness is directly addressed)
- We address weaknesses (below grade level performance) by building new skill platforms in areas of weakness using a different approach to teaching them.
- We integrate both of the above by building success into current and future learning by the array of neurocognitive and academic programs and services set forth in each individual program at age appropriate levels in:
- Neurocognitive training
- Academic skills and executive function development
- Emotional maturity and regulation training
- The VLC’s Learning to Learn signature programs and services are taught at appropriate age and grade level so they can be used to grow strengths to challenge levels to:
- Build skills to grade level and work directly on emotional strength and regulation to inspire more mature behaviour
- Look ahead at their academic challenges directly (Week-Ahead Program) and use teaching, coaching and practice strategies to reduce their challenges to manageable levels.
- When appropriate these processes are integrated with whatever education is ongoing.