Hiking in nature brings a sense of peace and calmness to my soul. I enjoy leisurely strolls, not the mountainous, strenuous or endurance hikes. I definitely do not like wearing those huge backpacks. They are uncomfortable and hard to carry around. So I choose to not go on those type of hikes. If I wore one of those backpacks daily and built up the strength to persevere and endure I could do the hikes. Imagine hiking up a mountain wearing a backpack that weighs hundreds of pounds. People who make such hikes take practice trips where they build up endurance. If you put a backpack on someone and expect them to hike without building up endurance while keeping pace with the rest of the team, there would be a serious problem. In some ways, that’s what we do with our children with special needs who are placed in regular curriculum, classes without assistance, or no modifications.
Each struggle or disability is another weight in their backpack. Each assignment takes more effort than non-strugglers. The more we ask of them to do assignments without giving them tools or accommodations, the pressure builds. Giving appropriate interventions and therapies takes the weight out of the backpacks.
Many parents think waiting until there is maturity or age in their child will help with the disability. Waiting only hinders. “He’ll grow out of it” is one of the most dangerous statements for our backpack wearing kids. The earlier you can alleviate the weight of the backpack, the more you can set your child up for success.
Ease the burden
Living with learning disabilities is difficult, but with tools and interventions, we can ease the burden. While we want the burden eased, or the weights lessened, over-accommodating doesn’t teach them how to overcome, it simply stalls the burden. I wrote an article on Dysgraphia about how I manage this with kids. There needs to be a balance in what we do for our kids with modifications and how we help them to overcome the struggles. IEPs are a helpful way to keep track of what your student needs, how to make modifications and goal setting so that modifications can be monitored and eventually won’t be necessary.
Art of Modifications
There is an art to making modifications and keeping things balanced without over modifying, which I wrote about recently. When you assign work to your child, remember the backpack. I love hikes, but if I were made to keep to someone else’s pace while wearing a backpack that weighed me down, I would hate it. That’s our kids who struggle with learning disabilities.
Where to get help!
Need more information about how to help your child? The Thinking and Learning Center now has coaches! You can find help with IEPs, homeschool accountability, executive functions issues, therapies, and tutoring.
There are also classes and interventions, but the classes are closing soon. If you don’t get into a class, we can still do interventions – one on one classes instead of in a group. Find more information HERE. We want to help you help take the weights out of the backpack with appropriate interventions and modifications.