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Knowing your child's learning style will help her succeed

Understanding your child's specific learning style can leave even the most studious parent feeling lost.

Althea Penn, the director of Shepherd's Academy for Excellence in Teaching in Snellville, works with parents and teachers to help them better understand how kids learn.

"A learning style is the way your child processes information and demonstrates what they know," Penn said.

According to Penn, there are three types of learning styles: visual, auditory and kinesthetic.

"Visual learners learn by what they see. They always want to show you something, and they usually have a photographic memory. They even demonstrate their emotions visually; their emotions show on their face" Penn said. "These [types] of children are attracted to color, textures, puzzles, beads, blocks, and drawing.

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"Auditory learners rapidly develop their vocabulary. They will tell you what they're feeling. They will tell you what they learned by singing it. They sing and rhyme. Everything becomes a song. They often repeat what you say, so they talk a lot. They always want to tell you something. They love reading, storytelling," Penn continued.

"Kinesthetic or physical learners learn my moving, touching and feeling things. They have to do activities in order to process it. They thrive in experiential study. They need to get rid of energy [in order to learn]. They need to engage their senses while they work. They love dancing, finger play and role play, hands-on activities, building dioramas or robotics," she said.

Penn encourages parents to be studious about understanding how their children learn. "Observing and listening to your children is the best way parents can learn about their child's learning style."

Kay Ness of Southeastern Neurodevelopmental Consultants in Alpharetta is a neurodevelopmentalist certified by International Christian Association of Neurodevelopmentalists.

"[As] a neurodevelopmentalist, I take a different approach," Ness said. "I evaluate how a child learns best, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and how to teach the child to their strength and remediate their weaknesses. My goal is to have the child strong in all areas.

"So, if a child has issues with visual tracking and conversion, but they're a strong auditory learner, we'll teach them from the auditory pathway while we remediate those visual issues. If a child has tactility issues, we work on sensory pathways to help settle them down."

Neuroplasticity, Ness said, is the brain's ability to rewire itself when properly stimulated, and explained how that is used with her clients.

"The brain can change and grow and reorganize. It's adaptable ... . Parents don't have to be stuck with learning problems. You[r] child can actually overcome them. Our job is to fix the problem," she said.

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