“I would not be just a nothin’,
My head all full of stuffin’,
My heart all full of pain.
I would dance and be merry,
Life would be a dingle derry,
If I only had a brain.”
-The Scarecrow, Wizard of Oz
It’s All About The Brain
So, why is LeBron James great at basketball, and you are not? Why is it that Bill Clinton could walk into a room and “own it”? Why is one person a great surgeon and another a “dog whisperer”? Why is it that your child is a great student but has a really hard time with friendships? Why is your oldest child a wonderful artist, but your youngest can barely hold a pencil? Why is it that one of your children loves to read, but the other never lifts a book? Why is it that you are so bad at math, and yet, you are the one that people look to organize a group to ensure the success of a project? Why can your husband not “see” what you are suggesting for kitchen decor, and why is it your son’s bedroom is a total tip, no matter what you try?
Everything we do-cognitively, physically, emotionally- is the result of how our brain works.
And, each brain is different-which is why each of your children can be so different from each other.
Thanks to advances in 21st-century medicine and technology- scans and MRIs – researchers are much better able to understand much more fully the neurodevelopment of how the brain works. This is especially important for children and adolescents because their brains are still developing, and the scans provide us with the opportunity to better comprehend the impact on every aspect of the child’s life.
The new research from neuroscience, cognitive psychology, child and adolescent development, and related fields are clear about how the brain functions and how these functions affect a student’s development.
There are eight identified domains within the brain that impact each person’s life. These domains are not each equally strong. There is a bell curve, with some definite areas of strength; some that are average, and some that are areas of weakness. Thus, in the area of motor development, Lebron James is at the top end of the continuum with physical skills, dexterity and, likely, strong visual skills. At the other end, are those with motor disabilities who live in wheelchairs and who have limited physical ability. Bill Clinton has very strong “people” skills and in communication, but has shown a lack of common sense; you studied math and science in college, but you do have have a creative bone in your body.
And so it goes- all because our brains are wired differently.
Question: Why is it important for parents to better understand their child’s neurodevelopmental profiles?
Answer: Simply because it impacts every aspect of life. When you can visually look at each of the domains of your child’s brain; when you have a good, general idea of the profile of your child, then it is possible to really understand his/her strengths and challenges in all aspects of life.
Now, you can better understand your child’s cognitive profile; the areas of strength, and those things that are difficult. It allows you to articulate that your child is not “lazy”, but instead, faces challenges in one or more domains that impact his/her performance. It helps you to see that forcing your clumsy child into one failed team sports experience after another will be destructive, and the profile enables you to support your introverted child in difficult social situations.
How We Can Help
At Confident Parenting, our belief is that formulating a profile of each individual child is the foundation upon which future success is built. With it, a parent has a pathway forward, although it may mean attacking certain domains in greater depth; without it, you are Moses wandering in the desert. Moreover, with new vocabulary to describe your child, your conversations with your child and others can become more meaningful. No longer will it be legitimate to suggest that your child is simple “stupid” or “ lazy.” Now you can discuss spatial skills, executive functioning, graphomotor development, etc-a much richer conversation.
We have provided the neurodevelopmental instrument FREE to you. Simply, complete and e-mail it back to us, and we will score it for you, and provide a follow-up conversation with you.