It has long been a fact of life that some people are naturally curious in the classroom, are voracious readers, and possess inquisitive, restless minds. There are equally capable and bright people who don’t have the same innate love of learning, but who must go through the motions nonetheless.
“Putting yourself out there” isn’t easy, even as an adult. The challenge is even more difficult in adolescence, when everything seems more amplified and the stakes much higher.
The transition from middle school to high school is never an easy one, especially if that high school is a boarding school. Even more, transitioning to a school for students with learning disabilities can sometimes seem more challenging because of the unknown.
I’m not ashamed to admit that I play video games often. I probably average an hour or two each night—playing as adventurous heroes like Batman, who deliver righteous roundhouses to thugs and thieves. I would like to think that despite the countless hours that I have put into my video games, I am still a productive member of society who has other hobbies as well. On the other hand, I have seen close friends of mine play video games nonstop—as if it was a full time job. They shut themselves out from the world and immerse themselves into another one for days on end. There are also horror stories of teenagers who play games to death, literally. In 2012, “an 18-year-old collapsed and died at an internet cafe after playing an online computer game for 40 hours straight” (Reynolds). There are other cases of full-blown addiction, but should you be worried that your child is addicted to video games? Not likely. Recently, the American Journal of Psychiatry performed a large scale study that showed “at most 1 percent of video game players might exhibit characteristics of an addiction” (Ferguson). Keep in mind that playing many hours of video games does not necessarily mean addiction. Addiction forms when refusing to play is not an option, when a person feels “that they didn’t just ‘want’ to play, but ‘needed’ to play” (Gray). More than likely, your child does not have this uncontrollable addiction and his or her gaming in moderation is quite healthy.
You’ve probably heard the term “grit” thrown around a lot recently in relation to teaching and raising successful students. Grit is the new buzzword, synonymous with perseverance, passion, happiness, and success. But, it might not cut it for students with learning disabilities.
For students with learning disabilities, making progress in the classroom is typically challenging. Further, keeping that momentum up over the weeks and semesters of the school year can seem like an almost impossible task. Imagine, then, how difficult it must be for a child who struggles with a learning difference to retain during the summer all the information he or she has learned throughout the year.