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Dr. Levine’s 8 Learning Systems & Your Child

  What to Look For If This is a Strength If This is a Weakness
1 Attention Control:
The system that dictates focus, alertness, planning and completion of tasks.
Does your child concentrate when reading, playing a video game, playing sports? Is she engaged in classroom learning? Your child should practice behaviors that take advantage of her concentration, such as listening to music while studying or reading. Your child should repeat instructions back to herself; use a timer or stopwatch to stay with a task; go to bed earlier.
2 Memory: After a child understands an idea, this system helps him store the information and retrieve it. How well does your child
memorize and retain what he learns in school?
Your child should study right before bedtime, when memory consolidates best; underline, highlight, and say ideas out loud while studying. Ask your child to write down steps before solving a problem; picture things mentally; write down, diagram, or say facts out loud while memorizing.
3 Language: The way a child uses words, orally and in writing, understands what is said, and reads. Does your child express herself well? Can she explain things thoughtfully? Does she write
her thoughts clearly?
As a family, have meaningful, idea-filled discussions; communicate in complete sentences, play word games, talk about things that are interesting. Encourage your child to read, write, and talk about topics he loves; tell stories and describe experiences, even if this is difficult for him.
4 Spatial Ordering: Enables your child to organize information in visual patterns, to recognize shapes
and patterns.
Is your child organized when he does homework? Does he have trouble using scissors or sketching shapes? Help your child capitalize on spatial strengths through dance, sports, or art, all of which require spatial ability. Help your child organize his space. Talk through spatial
relations: “I put that on the
top shelf” or “The pentagon
has five sides.”
5 Sequential Ordering:
Helps your child see the steps in solving a problem, retain the order of tasks, follow directions, manage time.
Does your child understand the passage of time and how to plan for it? Can she follow multi-step instructions? Can she remember a short list of things to do and carry them out in order? Your child should play or make music (a promoter of sequential ordering) and work on multi-stage projects. Together, start with short lists of things to do and gradually lengthen them; make schedules for homework, errands, vacations. Ask your child to write down directions in school.
6 Motor Skills: Your child rides a bike, plays sport, or dances using large-motor skills; she writes or draws using small-motor skills. How is your child doing with cursive writing? Is he graceful or clumsy? Does he excel at a sport or struggle with drawing or writing? Encourage your child in sports, dance, art and/or musical-instrument lessons, emphasizing that these are for enjoyment as well as challenge. Practice forming letters. Have your child use the computer for writing and art assignments and focus on just one sport (or opt for no sports).
7 Higher Thinking: Helps your child solve problems, think critically,
reason abstractly and creatively, and figure out answers that are
not obvious.
Is your child quick to think up ideas for the science fair? Does she wonder what happens in her book after the story ends? Or is she academically sound but struggling to see past the facts to the bigger ideas? Help your child follow his
intuitive mental and creative drives, be they science,
cooking, comedy, collecting, drawing, etc.
Try brainstorming to spur
imagination and creative thought.
8 Social Thinking: The ability to make and sustain friendships, relate to others, work in teams, and address conflicts. Some argue that this is the most important learning system. Does your child get along with his peers? Does he have some close friendships? Can he
relate to adults? Can he work out problems with his friends?
Encourage your child to enjoy successful peer interaction, but also help him remember to be an individual and feel good when being independent. Let your child use you as a sounding board when she
has social challenges. Talk about social challenges you experience and solve at work.
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