I recently read some updated lyrics of the classic song, Auld Lang Syne. In spite of hearing the traditional New Year's Eve anthem for decades, I had never really known the song's message. After reading it again I realized it refers to looking at times gone by as well as anticipating the times that are ahead. I found this version both easy to read and comforting. We are all celebrating the coming of this New Year. May we all be in unity as we anticipate the great things that 2013 will bring.
Being in the educational field, I am drawn to the verse that mentions children. As 'our children' grow we certainly desire to leave them capable of reaching out and grasping a future that is bright and filled with promise. We all desire to look forward in life and see promise. Looking at the year behind us, I can see where Breakthroughs has impacted the destiny of so many lives. Breakthroughs in Learning provides a unique opportunity to optimise brain skills that are not fully developed and which are often holding individuals back from success in life. These brain skills affect all areas of our lives including academic, career success, and social skills. When our clients start therapy with us, there are areas that have limited their potential, and in many cases, made day-to-day life and relationships quite stressful.
We had a young man come to us for an Individualised Brain Development Program in the middle of this summer. He had absolutely no ability to cope with even a glimpse of failure. For example, in a computer program we use that exercises memory skills, he would instantly melt down with just one incorrect answer. He would jump off his chair, toss the head phones he was wearing and run to another office, hide under the desk, raise his voice and tell all within ear shot what he thought of that computer program. Imagine the stress levels he and his parents lived with. A few weeks ago he got an answer incorrect and calmly moved onto the next activity asking if he was going to have to go back a level. I answered no and on he went. This is a perfect example of how many of the brain skills we work on developing link directly to social skills and behaviour challenges.
This spring we had a young man in high school join our program. He lacked the ability to understand personal and social boundaries and was unable to organize things around him. He was not able to understand when a yes or no answer was appropriate, and the idea of maintaining his environment was overwhelming. Without these skills, teens are especially susceptible to peer pressure. It may start out as an invitation to be dishonest, or to participate in stunts that are slightly dangerous and beyond his physical ability, and progress to speeding in a car and other unlawful behaviour. Without balanced judgment skills there is no knowing the trouble that could have befallen this young man. Within just months his judgment skills climbed 3 years! He went from being two years below grade level, to high average for his age. His organizational skill went from the 2nd percentile to the 93rd percentile!
What a blessing it has been to watch our clients' learning disabilities turn into learning abilities and even areas of strength. They reach potential that in many cases they did not know existed. It has been wonderful to watch their school lives, home lives, relationships and careers make a turn. I truly believe I have one of the most rewarding careers. I watch individuals come to us filled with discouragement and disappointment, and leave with an empowered sense of accomplishment, ready to tackle whatever their future holds.
I have such great anticipation for all the new clients we will help in 2013.
From all of us at Breakthroughs in Learning, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.