At the Tarnow Center we know that keeping brains (of all ages) working, growing, and developing new connections makes each of us better. It makes us more adaptive to deal with new challenges. We certainly are all living that challenge in the age of COVID-19. Home, work, education, and leisure have been impacted.
We believe it is important during this pandemic that each family, more than ever, figures out ways to support growth, learning and creativity. It is tempting to wait and see what happens. But, we know that the brain is a use or lose it proposition. Our kids with learning differences and ADHD are particularly vulnerable to losing ground during this time of virtual classrooms or even a summer of no classrooms or camps at all.
Teenagers and young adults have to make decisions about how to stay in a growth and learning mode when it may feel easy to coast. Coasting is great after you have completed the climb; but on its own, you get nowhere. In her article, “Online College Isn’t Going Anywhere,” (May 19, 2020 on Slate.com), Rebecca Schuman writes, “While it’s appropriate to mourn the campus experience lost, it’s also time to think about online college along a different binary: Not online vs. in-person, but a good use of your pandemic time vs. a bad use of it.” Virtual learning can feel daunting for so many of our students.
Pre-pandemic, there were more options if one decided to delay an education. Enriching gap year options around the world will not be as available as in the past. Also, jobs will be limited as the country tries to put 30 million adults back to work. So, do you put off your education? Do you wait until there is a vaccine that might allow students to live on campus again? What is the best use of your pandemic time?
We can help you to make these decisions. We can help you to be an active learner even with online classes that, on the surface, seem to encourage passivity. (They don’t actually). At the Tarnow Center, our years of experience at creating active learners and good self-managers can be put to good use helping your son or daughter to face the learning challenges ahead. Growth must continue. We can help you through self-management therapy, academic coaching, educational evaluations and therapy, biofeedback, neurofeedback, the best in computer-based brain training like Fast ForWord and Interactive Metronome.
Don’t forget the importance of developing emotional resilience and coping skills. Without support many of our vulnerable students find their college career derailed by unmanaged anxiety and depression. Let us address these issues now rather than later. When they do go off on their own, which they will, we want them to have a true sense of confidence based on having faced challenges and figured out ways to manage.
Sophia Havasy, Ph.D.