Why academic intervention is not the starting point

Academic intervention is the standard ‘cure’ when a child is struggling to keep up with formal learning.

Inside or outside of the classroom, tutoring style programs are used to help struggling students in the game of catch up.  Yet if a child is falling behind academically, this approach is not the ideal place to start. It’s just asking the child to do more and more of what they can’t presently do.

Sure, there may be small improvements-coming as a result of blood, sweat and tears. But we don’t want to see any child go through that. What we really need is for the cause of challenges to be resolved. For learning to gain momentum and come from a place of ease.

Here’s the question we must ask ourselves, ‘why is academic learning problematic in the first place?


The Building Blocks for Learning

Academic ability does not magically appear at age five. In the years prior to school, through movement, play and connection, we lay the foundations in our brain and body for what’s to come in later life.

These are the building blocks for learning and they build upon each other sequentially:

  1. Reflex integration
  2. Sensory integration
  3. Motor development
  4. Language development
  5. Auditory processing
  6. Visual processing
  7. Formal learning

When we begin school with these ‘building blocks’ in place, we’re ready for success. We feel safe in the classroom. We’re able to engage with our teacher and our peers. We can follow instructions. We can sit still for short periods of time. We easily layer new learning onto that of old. We’re ‘learning ready’.

However, without the building blocks in place, we may find it hard to follow instructions. To understand explanations. To recall what ground was covered in the day or week before. To express ourselves in academically accepted ways. We may feel unsafe. And if that’s the case, our intelligence will never shine brightly.

Instead of starting intervention at the top of the tower, we need to begin at the bottom, with the reflexes. There is, of course, a place for academic intervention. But it should come once the foundations are already in place. Then it is simply a matter of playing catch-up, achieved easily because the brain and body are now ready.

Save your time. Save your money. Save your child’s self-esteem.

And instead, think for a moment. Where are the gaps?

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