A Chilliwack couple with more than 80 years of teaching experience between them is hosting a free seminar to help parents understand why their child might be struggling when it comes to learning.
Walter and Karen Loewen have taught for 32 and 50 years, respectively. Walter is retired and Karen still teaches online. They have decades of experience working with gifted children, those who have learning disabilities, and students who have dyslexia.
“Children who have learning disabilities, who are very bright and the gifted, are just lost in our system,” Karen said.
“And a lot of those are dyslexic,” Walter added.
A big focus for the Loewens is dyslexia, a disorder that makes it difficult for someone to learn how to read. Signs of dyslexia include: reversing letters and numbers, slow reading speed, not remembering what they’ve read, trouble with spelling, and unable to tell time on an analogue clock.
“They can’t get their hand to do what their brain tells them,” Walter said.
For the past 25 years, Walter has been administering learning abilities assessment tests which tell parents exactly what is interfering with their child’s learning. The tests are done online and are geared towards students of all ages, from Kindergarten right up to college.
Once the assessment is complete and Walter gets the results, he prepares a report stating what the problem is, and then provides specific brain-training tasks needed to correct the problem. Six months worth of lesson sheets are printed out for the child.
“When parents realize it, they’ll come to the conclusion ‘My child isn’t stupid. My child is gifted,’” Walter said. “You have to take a different approach (to learning).”
On Nov. 9, the Loewens will be hosting a free seminar called ‘Is your child struggling in school?’ The focus will be on brain-training and dealing with dyslexia in hopes parents will realize that, perhaps, their child simply learns in a different way than other children.
People with dyslexia see things more three-dimensionally and they make excellent architects and engineers, Karen noted.
One brain-training exercise to help a child learn how to read is for them to use plasticine with which to mould letters out of.
“What the hand creates in three-dimensions, the brain can remember in two,” Walter said.
Dyslexics are also primarily stronger with their right brain, which does not lend itself well to reading, Karen added.
“It’s not that one part of the brain is better than the other, but they serve a bit of different functions. They have to work together to be able to learn,” she said.
Although people will often refer to dyslexia as a learning “disability,” the Loewens prefer not to call it that.
“You learn differently. It’s not a disability,” Karen said.
On Nov. 9, the Loewens will be talking about factors that interfere with learning. They’ll address questions like: Why is my child not learning? Why doesn’t my child remember what they’ve read? Why can’t my child spell?
The Loewens’ free seminar ‘Is your child struggling in school?’ takes place on Wednesday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. at 46000 Fifth Ave. in Chilliwack. Registration is not required.
For more, call 604-798-0575 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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