Never Play Down the Power of Patience
In my research of late I came across an astonishing statistic: according to the authors of Executive Skills in Children and Adolescents, research shows that it can take decades for some students to overcome gaps in executive functioning and attention disorders. Rather than seeing this as a negative, I choose to hold this information positively, and I encourage you to do the same if your child struggles with executive skills or maintaining attention.
Here’s why: when we see slow, incremental growth and sometimes even setbacks, we can take solace in the fact that this is normal. When we accept that these skills are difficult to learn and that the process will take time, we can meet the situation with curiosity and acceptance. Our role is to be as positive and supportive as possible. The authors of the book recommend that teachers, tutors, and parents of children with these deficits practice as much patience, compassion, and empathy as possible.
Sometimes, when students face these struggles, it can manifest as defiance or what might look to us like a lack of motivation, laziness, or an “I don’t care” attitude. This can test our last nerve. Most of the time, however, this behavior is how the student chooses to mask their feelings of inadequacy about their struggles. Having patience, compassion, and empathy is not easy, especially in the midst of frustration or anger when something isn’t going the way we want it. But I believe it is crucial to show as much patience as we can to keep up the student’s spirits and let them know support them.