Transforming a learning disability into an academic strength

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015
Bonnie Terry, best-selling author of Family Strategies for ADHD Kids, Five Minutes to Better Reading Skills, and Ten Minutes to Better Study Skills and one of the co-authors of Amazing Grades is with us today. For more, go to: BonnieTerryLearning.

Bonnie Terry, best-selling author of Family Strategies for ADHD Kids, Five Minutes to Better Reading Skills, and Ten Minutes to Better Study Skills and one of the co-authors of Amazing Grades is with us today. For more, go to: BonnieTerryLearning.

Our learning expert, and guest blogger, Bonnie Terry, has developed a phenomenal consulting practice around helping kids with ADD/ADHD issues become successful at school. Terry’s book, Family Strategies for ADD/ADHD Kids, explains the possibility of overcoming distraction which is increasingly commonplace in our modern lifestyles. Children with ADD/ADHD are considered to be especially vulnerable to distraction, having difficulty concentrating on a task at hand and staying focused.  Terry’s work is featured because the modern child is also increasingly prone to distraction as our dependence upon cyber-powered tools encourages us to focus less and multi-task more, which can create learning challenges much like ADD symptoms. This is a feature she has authored on how to help your child turn a learning disability into an academic advantage.


Nationally 7 out of 10 students are below grade level…7 out of 10 students are not proficient in reading, writing, and math…and these are not just the struggling or learning challenged kids. These are national statistics – so out of every 10 kids, only 3 are at grade level or above grade level. They may have basic skills, but they are not proficient! So why are so many students not proficient? Why are so many children and teens doing poorly in school?

Learning disadvantages can be due to:

  • Dyslexia
  • ADHD
  • Comprehension problems
  • Spelling problems
  • Writing problems
  • Math Problems

Twenty percent of the population has some learning challenge and 15 percent has ADHD…these are major causes of learning disadvantages and life disadvantages. But that being said, the reality of it is, a learning disadvantage isn’t due totally to those things. Let me repeat that, a learning disadvantage isn’t due totally to those things. Each of those does impact learning and is a disadvantage.

BUT the most severe learning disadvantage is your mind-set, your “self talk” – whether you have a learning disability or not.

Let me explain.

We all talk to ourselves throughout the day. Sometimes we congratulate ourselves for doing a good job at something, but more often than not we say bad things to ourselves about ourselves…You know what I mean things like … I’m not smart enough or I’m stupid. And you know what, You can be gifted and still say things like that to yourself because it takes you a long time to get your work done – I know, I lived it – being the baby of the family and never feeling like I was as good at anything as my brothers and sister were. And then one of my boys felt that way – even though he was in a gifted classroom.

Mindset is crucial to turning your disadvantages into advantages, beginning writers into proficient writers, lousy “gobble-de-gook writers into really good writers. These statements – not feeling good enough, feeling you’ll never get it – being blocked from letting your true self shine – after all I have dyslexia or I have ADHD or I’m the baby of the family or I am no good at math – we all have something – that excuse – that blockage that holds us back – it is common to all of us. This is when learning is hard. But, we can change that. We can develop a can-do mind set, and then we can improve our skills. We know it may take some time, but that we can do it. This is hope for a bright future.

So, how do we do that? How do we get to hope? How do we get to an “I can do it place”?

Taking a few minutes a day with simple exercises can and does make the difference. For example, you want to improve reading or writing skills so learning will be easier. The best way to do this is a two-step process. The first step is to work a reading fluency program that just takes 5 minutes a day because you will see improvement in 3 to 5 days. You can see your improvement so you know it is possible.

Once you know it is possible, you start step two…doing simple writing exercises that improve writing skills. Remember, one of the reasons for improving writing skills…is that improving writing skills is improving thinking skills. You can’t write without thinking…and you can’t write without reading. So ultimately to become your best self, you need to improve reading skills and writing skills. Fortunately there are simple ways to improve both reading and writing skills in just minutes a day, no matter what your age. Check out our Awaken the Scholar Within Programs OR go to my calendar to set up a complimentary 30 minute consultation.


ABOUT:  Banana Moments Foundation is a non-profit education center founded in Roseville, CA to strengthen the parent-child bond in a hyper-connected world. The BMF mission is to restore families with the mustard seed of faith that declares liberty already belongs to the soul because one God, the Creator of all humanity, grants every human being intelligence and free will to choose what to believe, and that is power that can never be taken, but is easily surrendered to the bully, the drug or the device. To that end, ten percent of all BMF proceeds are donated to prison ministries. Your Donations are greatly appreciated.

Comments are closed.

Latest News

Go to Core Connectivity to see current articles and resources.

About Joanna Jullien

Joanna Jullien

Joanna ( and her husband have raised two sons in Roseville, CA. She has a degree from U.C. Berkeley in Social Anthropology (corporate culture). Her honors thesis was awarded the Kroeber Prize and funding from National Science Foundation grant. Joanna writes to help parents with the modern-day leadership challenges of raising children. She is a contributing writer for The Granite Bay View, the Press Tribune, the Sacramento Examiner, and editor of Banana Moments.