We are a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization. P.O.S.S.E. began in 1998, when Marlena’s son, Michael, was diagnosed with a severe reading disability known as Dyseidetic, Dysphonetic Dyslexia. This is a learning challenge that affects children both visually and auditorily.
Michael was in the second grade and was fortunate enough to have a teacher who noticed that he had special academic needs. The teacher admitted to not knowing the appropriate services to help him, but knew that it was imperative that he required academic help. Discouraged by lack of guidance from the school district and her son’s feelings of failure, she was left, through trial and error, to close the educational gap and make certain that the appropriate learning programs and remediation for her son’s needs were implemented.
As a parent, she witnessed first-hand the agony, struggles and sleepless nights and days of “living” at his school to ensure that his educational needs were met. For more than a decade the family had struggled with academic challenges that seemed almost insurmountable at times. The maze they traveled for academic success resulted in a strong desire to make the road easier for other families in similar situations.
P.O.S.S.E was birth from Michael’s dream that no child should experience what he did. Every child deserves to enjoy their younger years at school and have the everlasting memories of success. Out of this P.O.S.S.E. was created.
CHARACTERIZING LEARNING CHALLENGES
A Learning Disability does not define our children. It is a term used under I.D.E.A. [Individuals with Disabilities Education Act] With the appropriate support, intervention and remediation children with learning challenges will achieve success in school.
Globally 1 in 7 of us live with a disability. And of those 80% are invisible. That is 1 Billion people who are living with a non-visible disability. While some of us experience a disability that is visible, many of us have a non-visible impairment or condition. [Journal of Sport Psychology in Action-Children.] In children, when we refer to “Hidden Disabilities”, it can be a child that appears intelligent; however, the child is not able to demonstrate the skill level expected from a child of a similar age and grade level. Invisible Disabilities can be physical, mental or neurological conditions that can limit or challenge a child’s movement, senses or activities and can impact their ability to learn. Our children can experience a combination of both visible and non-visible impairments and conditions.
“JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN’T SEE IT, DOESN’T MEAN THAT IT IS NOT THERE”
Various learning challenges include: Dyscalculia affects a child’s ability to understand numbers in math; Dysgraphia affects a child’s handwriting ability and fine motor skills; Dyslexia affects reading and related language-based processing skills; Nonverbal learning challenges are when a child has trouble interpreting nonverbal cues such as a facial expression or body language and may have poor coordination; Oral/Written Language Disorder and Specific Reading Comprehension Deficit affects a child’s understanding of what they are reading or of spoken language. Dyspraxia is a neurological (or brain-based) disorder that impacts a child’s ability relating to gross motor skills, motor planning and coordination.
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a brain disorder. Scientists have shown that there are differences in the brains of children with ADHD and some of these differences change as a child ages and matures. The front of the brain behind the forehead is the frontal lobe. The frontal lobe is the part of the brain that helps children to organize, plan, pay attention, and make decisions. Parts of the frontal lobe may mature a few years later in children with ADHD. The frontal lobe is the area of the brain responsible for: Problem Solving; Memory; Language; Motivation; Judgment; Impulse Control; Social Behavior; Planning; Decision-making; Attention; Ability to delay Gratification and Time Perception [American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry].
Executive Functions are the cognitive abilities needed to control our thoughts, emotions and actions. How does this relate to children? The phrase “Executive Function” refers to a set of skills. These skills underlie the capacity to plan ahead and meet goals, display self-control, follow multiple-step directions even when interrupted, and stay focused despite distractions, among others. These skills typically develop most rapidly between ages 3-5, followed by another spike in development during the adolescent and early adult years. It takes a long time and a lot of practice to develop them, but, children’s executive function skills grow, adults can gradually allow children to manage more and more aspects of their environment. Key: The increasingly competent executive functioning of children and adolescents enables them to plan and act in a way that makes them good students, classroom citizens and friends [Center on the Developing Child Harvard University].
“BUILDING CHILDREN’S EXECUTIVE FUNCTION SKILLS BENEFITS EVERYONE.”
The educational consultants and advocates affiliated with Parents of Students in Special Education are not licensed to practice law. Thus, the services offered should not be considered legal representation. Further, all information provided by Parents of Students in Special Education should, in no way, be construed as providing legal advice. Information provided by the educational consultants and advocates is intended to be recommendations based on their knowledge and experience as well as the facts associated with each individual situation. All rights reserved. ©2011.