Writing is one of the most challenging aspects of school for many children, even those who have no difficulty with learning. So you can imagine the challenge for our students, who often struggle with reading and math, and especially writing! I would like to share the story of James.
James is an exceptional reader, but math is very difficult and writing is impossible for him. As a result he was not very confident in the classroom. He was recommended by the classroom teacher to start educational therapy in the hopes of strengthening these weak areas. After doing Rhythmic Writing for 3 months, he was finally able to form a sentence or two in cursive, with much effort.
Through hard work and intentional therapy sessions, James slowly started to begin writing! At the beginning, he struggled to get a sentence written on the chalkboard. Imagine my surprise when one day, six months into the therapy, James wrote a sentence of over twenty-five words on the chalkboard, with grammatical precision. My mouth dropped open and I just stared! I asked if I could run to the car to get my camera and take a picture of his sentence, and he agreed, meanwhile calmly continuing to complete the sentence. We had to stop our therapy session and enjoy some jelly beans in celebration.
Celebrating each accomplishment for struggling learners is critical! Much of the feedback they feel in the classroom is negative, not that it is intended to be so, but because they themselves feel they don’t measure up to the classroom standards. Teachers need to embrace these students and empower them to realize their own potential.
Being on an IEP, their measurement standards are different, and students need to feel this in a positive way. James did not want to come for educational therapy at all when he started, but by seeing the changes himself he feels more positive about who he is! Recognizing that he can write now, and math doesn’t seem quite as overwhelming because he developed strategies in the math block, James will take his learning to the next level.
In my experience of working with students in the one-to-one therapy session, it can make tremendous changes for the child. Students developed more efficient and accurate thinking by the end of their therapy, and this resulted in increased competence and confidence!