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What’s your child’s learning style?

Sharon Galitzer (Physical Therapist) by Sharon Galitzer (Physical Therapist) Additional Needs

Sharon Galitzer (Physical Therapist)

Sharon Galitzer (Physical Therapist)

I'm a pediatric physical therapist and also the sibling of an adult with special needs.

This information will be relevant to every teacher, therapist or caretaker that you and your child will meet.

You know your child best, so share this information with every professional that will spend time with your child in order to maximize the fun and learning opportunities while they’re together.

As a physiotherapist, it’s integral for me to identify which learning style will motivate your child to explore their environment and participate in their education.

Most learning styles will fall into one of these categories: kinesthetic (learn by movement), auditory (listening), or visual (observing).

Under no circumstance would I say that any child fits into any one category, but there are certain principals that apply to all kids:

Active learning is best. Your child should actively be vocalizing, singing, moving their body (head, hands or legs), pointing (reaching or gazing) to show that they are enthused by an activity.

Remember, learning for your child is more than learning. Learning can teach your child their ABC’s and colors, but eventually lead to practical life skills.

Children are generally more available to participate when they know the plan and the expected outcome for any activity.

It will benefit your child most if you can identify the best way to reinforce positive behaviors, and ignore those that are not desired. Behaviors that are celebrated will be reinforced and those that don’t elicit positive reinforcement will hopefully fade over time.

Some terms that you can use are: ‘When you’re all done please show me or tell me by _____’, or ‘One more then we’re all done’ or ‘First we’ll do ____ , then ____’ or ‘I know this is hard, but I know you can do this’, or ‘If you want this ____(show me, tell me)’…

Pegs, puzzles or large coins in a piggy bank can function as a precursor to hold a fork, pen, or musical instrument. These types of activities can also benefit other fine motor activities such as self-care (feeding and dressing), hand eye coordination, and if needed, augmentative communication devices.

Sorting and matching can be used to teach counting, colors, quantity, and concepts such as in/out/on/off/up/down. As the child becomes more active, this skill can contribute to a child’s ability to participate in management and sorting their own belongings in their room, or maybe one day in the future, a job.

I celebrate all active movement. It doesn’t have to look perfect or coordinated.

Active movement of any sort-rolling, creeping, crawling, walking, running, dancing, moving in a walker, riding a bike or swimming.

Think of the independence and sense of accomplishment one feels when one can explore their environment and discover something, feel something or share a thought about something. In addition, active movements contributes to bowel and bladder function, bone health, skin integrity, vision, body proprioception and awareness, strength, socializing, and IT’S FUN!

Find a way to make movement possible for your child to let them learn (on land or water). Sensory bottles and sensory mats are a great motivators for the younger ones.

You’re the best teacher your child will ever have. You are also the best person to identify your child’s best style of learning because you know them best.

We all learn to know, we all learn to do. Your child’s learning will increase their personality traits, their knowledge, their thoughts, their independence, their fun.

Their learning will contribute to who they will be.


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