Surviving in school with a learning difference

What is survival?

Survival is about "continuing to live despite difficult circumstances. It's about avoiding an inferior position or place." And as I mention in my Beyond Ok: from Invisible to Invincible book, while others were learning, I was mostly surviving, as I didn't learn like others and I had no idea why. 

So what happens when kids are surviving: 

1. They smokescreen others to avoid feeling inferior.

Think about it.  

Would you rather have people think you did something on purpose rather than feel bad or 'less than' because you couldn't do what was asked of you? Would you rather act out or be the class clown instead of waiting for the response you get when you do something differently than others or not as quickly? 

A smoke-screen is protection and smart kids are good at pulling them off, so good, that many adults don't pick up on them.  So when you think a child is lazy or unmotivated or a problem child -- look a little deeper.  

Here's the truth bomb:           All kids want to do well!  {yes, ALL}

2. Smart kids fool others -- and sometimes even themselves. 

Kids that learn differently are smart.  Yes, they are average to above average intelligence, so they can figure out ways to give people what they want even when they don't quite understand.  They may achieve higher grades because of how a subject was taught (there are so many reasons why grades can fluctuate) -- but because they are so good at 'figuring out' how to survive, they are uncertain if a good grade wasn't just another 'fluke' or them pulling something off without even them knowing it! This is due to the fact that they are unclear how they learn and what their strengths and abilities are! 

Here's a truth bomb:   When you are unclear how you learn than grades mean nothing! {Somehow you made it through again}

3. Kids who survive can get high or low grades -- the only thing that seems to drop continuously is their self-esteem.

Grades or marks do not offer the golden sign of when a child has a learning difference.  The only sign that may be a true indicator is when a child's self esteem is dropping.  When they feel they can't learn as well as others or they show their frustration by shutting down or acting out.  

Here's the truth bomb: It's time to figure out learning differences sooner than later because what is really 'on-the-line' is a child's self esteem.  

We have to look beyond the smoke-screens and grades to figure out how a child learns so they can start to "learn their way" and drop the strategies for survival.