How can a Learning Specialist like me create learning breakthroughs in 4-6 weeks? This is the first of 5 blogs which will show exactly how this happens, how a child moves from feeling depressed and hopeless to full of confidence and motivation very rapidly.
I did a phone intake today with a a mother who is seeking new solutions for her 11th grade daughter's school difficulties. It didn't take long during the intake to determine what underlies this high school girl's struggles - she has all three risk factors working against her academic success: 1) she has a late October birthday and therefore is young for grade level; 2) her OptiKode shows she is a non-traditional learner; and 3) she has recently been diagnosed with a learning disability as well. In looking at her OptiKode pictured above, both the gold Reading Modality and the dark blue Thinking Modality are 'dormant' in her OptiKode. This means that both reading and math are not her natural strengths. As the word dormant implies, she has had to work quite hard in school to make the grades. The problem now is she is running out of energy to sustain this battle and she still has two more years to go.
Cases such as these are very heartbreaking, but as I explained to her mother today, the power of OptiKodes is how quickly they create learning breakthroughs regardless of how long a student has struggled. As I briefly explained to this mom, there are 120 different OptiKodes, with multiple variations of each one. Yet all that is needed with each student is to dial in their particular OptiKode for it shows which tools and techniques will unlock each student's full learning potential.
The image of this new client's OptiKode above tells me just how to work with her. The light blue outer ring shows that she is very image or picture oriented. A picture literally says a thousand words to her and this can be used to help her in all her subjects. One of several tools I will use to help her with reading comprehension and vocabulary will be a visual story boarding technique instead of using traditional, written notes. The second ring in her OptiKode shows she is very Moving Dominant - no wonder she is such a talented athlete. When the red, Moving Dominant Modality is first or second in an OptiKode you almost always see a student who plays year-round sports. Unfortunately most of the time this same Moving Dominant OptiKode will also be Reading Dominant and this is true of 25% of all OptiKodes. These are the non-traditional learners who confound teachers year after year. If only the education system at large knew about Functional Styles and how to empower these equally gifted students with a fine-tuned understanding of their OptiKode.
I will meet with this high school student and her mom and brother in two days time. As is always the case, this family will go away with a very deep understanding of the similarities and differences in all their OptiKodes and how to keep this understanding at the forefront of their interactions with one another. For the 11th grade student who is the real focus of treatment, my goal is for her to leave feeling real hope that the next two years of high school will be entirely different.