1. Any road begins with a foundation. We begin building our road using rock, not sand.
What is your beloved’s greatest needs? Is it being loved? Accepted? Encouraged? Is it that they don’t believe in God? Are they are never invited? Is bullying or being the victim of bullying impacting mental, emotional and physical health?
In Japan, there are special need programs, formal testing and many resources to read regarding special needs. Yet, parents claim the programs in school, do not meet their child’s needs. They find academic gains are slow, and their children hate school. I have read many articles and interviewed many schools to discover that small group help, in public or special schools, cluster students of various ages, challenges and levels of learning. This learning environment can expeditate learnng for the more delayed students in class, but not for those who are ahead of the class. It does just the opposite, as higher level students end up helping the more delayed students. They may feel safe and good about their abilities but solely in the confines of that class. Progress for their capabilities can be slower for those with disabilities that are not challenged.
Educators and Administrators are not trained in how to create individualized curriculum specific for a child with a Learning Disability in Japan, versus other countries who address this area as a priority. As a result, the child does not improve in their academic needs. Parents and family become disappointed, frustrated and with the emotions resulting form this, words, and actions can open the doors for ungodly beliefs. Words can be emotionally laden wounding all involved, and anger and despondency can be fueled.
Working parents often spend money on tutors and therapy that show very few results. Some may attempt homeschooling, but without training, once again find that they need help, overwhelmed in how to teach their children, and become desperate with the lack of available help.
2. Vital, is knowing that the vehicle you use is working.
Accuracy in formal diagnostic testing is what is needed, otherwise, it is a false baseline. In Southern California, it is not uncommon to hear from pediatricians that they have a limited understanding in the process of learning, its deficits, what happens in the school, and in what special need programs are available. Doctors will medicate symptoms to remediate the problems that parents and patients indicate. The problem with medicating symptoms is that the root cause may not be just physical. Learning Disabilities fall under an “umbrella” of similar characteristics, and observable behaviors. Without knowing the cause of the symptoms, a misdiagnosis can easily occur. For example, one-on-one formal intelligence testing by a top neuro-psychologist can be skewed erroneously if the testee has verbal and/or language receptive or expressive challenges, increased fears, anger, apathy, or depression, a lack of established rapport between tester and testee, active allergies and/or illnesses/pain, medication side affects, auditory problems, fine-motor and visual motor deficits, anger upset, relational upsets, or perhaps just a lack of motivation. Individuals with impulsivity issues can answer too quickly and may not be careful, and those that can’t read the material or comprehend oral directions may also give wrong answers. Some children may have hidden agendas of anger, strategy, and hurt. Many families in Japan and in America have expressed that pediatricians only spend a few minutes with their child, and often just prescribe medication. versus a comprehensive questioning with those who know the child in question best. There are many factors that need to be considered.
God has shown me in the 45 years of serving children and adults of all ages, that what is often overlooked is the need to pair sanctification and the renewing of our mind with learning. More powerful than any word spoken, is how one thinks of themselves. PROVERBS 23:7 says, “For as a person thinks in his/her heart, so they are.” Professionals who are not Christian, often are giving their very best from their experiences and education. It can be a “hit and miss” attempt with the “misses” opening doors for unholy lies to speak into our beloved’s hearts. One lie that I have heard from literally thousands of students is, “I am stupid. I can’t learn.” If anyone believes in this ungodly lie, the future will hold no vision. God says in Proverbs 29:18, “those without vision, perish (KJV)”.
In 2018, suicides among the youth were at a all time high in Japan, for those aged 6-19 years. Yet, because God sees and knows all, there is no mistake when He faithfully leads us. He also brings the truth to light that with Him, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).
3. Determine how far the road map needs to be to get to our destination. When and where are the rest stops? What is needed to maintain focus to “stay” on the road.
This is when a few questions must be answered to lead us further. How it is answered them will provide the detail of the road map forward. What is your destination or goal? Is it behavioral, academic, social, emotional or psychological? How is progress revealing? What choice of “fuel will you uses to empower this vehicle?
In free time, what do they enjoy doing?
How long is their attention span for learning?
What reinforces them or motivates them?
Can they do one problem independently, or with only help? If so, can you give insights why?
Socially outside the family, and within the family how healthy are the relationships?
4. Create your road map from what you know.
We can now draw our maps to determine when the road starts, when we take our breaks, and how long we go for the first destination until we know the vehicle is in top position. Knowing the condition will equip you first to know how long and what is needed ensure the race is possible.
5. Cheer them forward, running the race with them, to the finish.
This is when we celebrate. Your believing in your beloved will allow them to see they can achieve, they can reach their goals and the joy will return to learn. Road maps get you from where you are to where you want to go smoothly and in the shortest amount of time. We, in the ChildD Ministry, see the value to incorporate these five steps in every learning need. Soon, your beloved will be making their own “road maps” because they will know how they learn best, can see what works best for them and why. Truly, these road maps to learning gives them hope, vision, and the strength to go further. They will become all they are created to be.
Joyce Inouye MA.Ed. © 7/30/2020