Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Success Attributes

The staff at the Frostig Center (a Pasadena, California school for students with a wide variety of learning disabilities) has developed material they have entitled “Life Success for Children with Learning Disabilities: A Parent Guide.” In it, they identify six “success attributes” that are prevalent in individuals with learning disabilities who have achieved life outcomes that might have once been thought unachievable. They are:

• Perseverance
• Goal-setting
• The presence and use of effective support systems
• Proactive attitude
• Emotional coping strategies
• Self-awareness

My son has already been cited for his perseverance, having won an award for that quality five years ago after his serious illness. He worked incredibly hard on his physical therapy to get his strength back and on his studies to catch up with his classmates. He has also learned very well how to set near-term and longer term goals, in such a manner that he will be able to attain each goal he sets. By focusing his energy on the near term – finishing this term paper, getting to that workout – he is able to maintain his perspective on what is important now and how that will help him in the future.

He continues to hone those other attributes which, as a young adult, he is only beginning to develop. He had been given effective support systems throughout his elementary and high school years and really learned how best to use them. However, at the college level, such supports are not handed to him gift-wrapped; although they might be available, he needs to be proactive to get the highest and best use from them. When he was besieged with doubts and depression over the recent Easter weekend, he learned that one of the coping strategies that will get him re-grounded is a physical workout in the fitness center. He is still searching for other strategies. As for self-awareness, my son struggles with that; and he also struggles with his self-awareness as it intersects with peers, in a social circle.

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