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This summer I received this email from a high schooler who is going into her senior year:
I’ve struggled in school since before I can even remember. Now going into my senior year, I still have so many unanswered questions.
How was it that I was able to teach myself to be proficient in 3 different instruments but I have trouble utilizing basic math skills?
I was tested for ADD in 7th grade. The test results clearly showed that my ADD consists of issues with execution, basic math skills, and processing ability. However, my comprehension skills were in the high 90th percentile (not sure of the exact number).
I approached the person who tested me with the idea that I might fall under the 2E category. She told me that my comprehension skills would’ve placed me into that category, but I missed it by a few points. Is it worth getting retested?
I’m no longer satisfied with “not being smart enough.
I can give you additional reasons why I believe I’m 2E. I mapped it out in a notebook. Thank you — Ayla
Wow – it’s rare for a high schooler to be this introspective! In this vlog I respond to Ayla, discussing all sorts of interrelated topics to consider:
- Attention/processing, working memory
- The 2e discrepancy
- Gap years
- Learning over grades
- What matters?
- Asking for help
- Personal growth
- and play
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This amazing email from a student. That contains a lot of Christopher lot of guts. I got this email from Ala and ala is a junior in high school in a list says I struggled in school since before I can even remember. I know what that feels like. Now going into my senior year. I still have so many unanswered questions. How was it that I was able to teach myself to be proficient in three different instruments, but I have trouble utilizing basic map skills. She asks, I was tested for ADD and 7th grade the test results clearly show that My ATT consist of issues with execution basic math skills and processing ability. I wear my comprehension skills were in the 90th percentile. Not sure the exact number. I approached the person who tested me with the idea that I might fall under the Tuohy category and she told me that my comprehension skills would have placed me into that category, but that I missed it by a few points. Is it worth getting retested? I’m no longer satisfied with quotes not being smart enough. I can give you additional reasons why I believe I’m too we I mapped it out a Notebook. Thank you ala ala wrote me this letter ala thank you. You rock that takes a lot of guts to write me not many students write me and it says a lot about you and I’m going to talk about that in a moment too. So I want to go over this letter a little bit. I struggled since before I can remember now, you’re going your senior year. You have a lot of unanswered questions ala the fact that you’re even asking these questions right now at this point in your life. You’re a Junior shows that you are an extremely deep human being you’re a deep thinker your deep feel or you’re intelligent human being who really cares about yourself and figuring yourself out because stuff matters to you like matters to you want to figure this out the fact that you’re questioning this is rare and it says a lot about you says, you’re really amazing human being and you’ve got a lot to give The world out of me to put pressure on you, but I think that’s pretty cool. How was it that I could teach myself to be proficient three instruments and have trouble using utilizing basic math skills while I’m going to tell you ways that people have trouble using basic math skills. One reason, some people have trouble utilizing basic math skills is because they hadn’t experienced earlier in life. And in math class when there was trauma, it could have been from another student and could have been shame from the teacher could have been something going on inside of you. But as you were trying to develop his math skills, you may have had some sort of trauma some sort of extraordinary stressful situation going on where your mind kind of shut down and that created a bunch of holes in math. I’ll talk more about that in the moment. It could also be that you have a legitimate map disability called dyscalculia, which many people have and don’t even know that they have it. So that’s a possibility. You mentioned processing and processing an intention go hand-in-hand. If you were having trouble processing and the teacher is going a million miles an hour and you’re like whoa. Whoa, you’re going way farther than I’m ready to go right now, especially if you’re stressed anyway, or have experienced during stressful trauma type things in your in this class and they’re just going ahead and you’re like, whoa, that can that could cause a lot of holes or gaps in what was going on with learning math and some of my students are really good at math concepts, but they’re just not good at calculation so they can do the concepts fine, but they’re not good at working memory which means keeping track of these things in mind and one of the things that happens a lot with middle schoolers is a lot of times middle schoolers in particular when it comes to math. They’ve been able to do all the math in their head and suddenly the teacher said show you work and they don’t feel like showing their work, but the complexity of the work is getting too difficult for them to track all the Details in their heads, but they are resistance showing their work. And so they start feeling like they’re not good at math when in fact they are but they’re not willing to show their work so that there is a bunch of reasons why you might have struggles with the mask will let her know if any of those resonate I would love to hear if any of them do resonate. I don’t know you well enough to know from this letter and you go on to say you’re tested for add it show that you had trouble with the execution basic math skills and processing ability. However, my comprehension skills were in the 90th percentile. so If you’re Touhy and the label in a way, it doesn’t matter. However, the discrepancies that 2E kids have caused a lot of problems. So if your way high in something, for example, you say comprehension and way low and something with a processing then you get into a very difficult situation and here is how the situation looks a lot of times your parents or teachers will say something like this. We know you can do it. We know you’re smart enough. We know you’re smart in there while meaning I’m not trying to be cynical, but they know that you can do it and they’re baffled so their mind why can’t you do it? Well, it must be that she’s either lazy or she’s not trying hard enough for she’s not doing her best or she doesn’t care and these messages are shaming and they are not taking into account what is going on in the brain and that there might be something else going on. So they attributed to those things mistakenly. I’m not trying to blame them or make them look bad or feel bad, but That same story can go really deep with you and it might and because of another sentence that you said, I suspect it probably does. Anyhow, you said that that you approach the person who tested me with the idea that you might be to each is that your comprehensive comprehension skills would have placed you there. But that you missed it by two points. Is it worth getting retested my questions you would be why why do you want to get retested? Are you going to get some kind of service or extra help or more understanding or something like that? I don’t know and I doubt it. I would say what’s going to happen is in this is your senior year you want to really hope to get the best teachers. You can great teachers. They it doesn’t matter what your paperwork says. They are able to read you and really connect with you in part of your responsibilities. Student is to connect with your teachers. Give them a chance to get to know them on a personal level the more you advocate for yourself and get to know them if they hate this isn’t working for me. I’m not don’t shame me. Don’t tell me I’m not trying hard. I’m trying I want to succeed in here. I want to get to know you and give you a fair chance. So you got to give me a fair chance. This isn’t working for me. How can we make this work for me? So if you’re going to advocate for yourself with teachers, that’s one of the best things that you can do. Maybe there’s a reason to get retested. I just am not sure why and if you email me and tell me why I might say yeah go ahead and get retested. But I would just really look out for having some great teachers connect with the great teachers learn as much as you can and but I do love your next sentence. You said I’m no longer satisfied with not being smart enough and that feels bad. That’s a feeling. You don’t feel smart enough Frank and that can feel horrible in that comes from we get internal validation and we get external validation and we are externally validated. That means that somebody is telling us. Oh, you’re good enough. You’re smart enough. You’re okay enough, you’re cool enough for whatever enough and that’s the outside telling us telling telling internal validation is when you say I’m good enough. I’m worth it. I don’t care what anybody says. I know. I’m smart. I know I’m talented. I know I’m good at these things this stuff matters to me. Going to listen to my own got no course people can get arrogant or cocky in that way and I’m not suggesting to do that because that pose as other problems that gets into ego and that gets into a verdict all these are obviously I’m not saying that but when you know that you’re good at something or you’re smart enough or you’re capable of something and it may not show on paper or your parents may not notice of the system and I noticed or stuff like that. Sometimes you really have to let that go cuz you’re going to experience that a lot in life and you want to build and build and build and build your internal validation. You want to strengthen. It’s like working a muscle really checking in with yourself and saying hey, can I listen to myself? What do I think and there are a lot of very strong powerful messages out there from the media from peer pressure from adults that will externally validate or invalidate you inappropriately and you want to really always check in with your own heart your own got your own internal validation system. Banks in that system over the next year over your senior year over the rest of the summer. That’s a great thing to do. So you said you can give me a digital reasons why you believe you’re too easily mapped it out in a notebook. You can give me those or not, but I don’t think you need to you probably know. Okay, you know that you got these strengths and you got these weaknesses and there’s a big discrepancy between them and it causes confusion and problems and you’re at getting to know yourself. So I’m going to go on with a few other Concepts that I think are relevant to this ala and I think that’s what you’ll find this helpful. My first thing that I want to share with you is what do you want ala what’s important you okay? What you want is you want to be happy and you want to feel successful in life. Okay. You want to feel smart enough as you said before, how are you going to be happy in life? How are you going to be in successful forget about grade forget about all this stuff forget about perfectionism forget about So you probably want them to really see you for who you are that may or may not happen. But we do we all we want to feel her we want to feel felt want to feel seen we want to be noticed you want to be appreciated and it doesn’t always happen. But ultimately you want to feel happy and successful in life. You want to feel smart enough you want to feel seen and the way that you’re going to feel seen and noticed and heard and understood and known in this lifetime is to do you and that’s hard because you have to sift through all of the the static all the noise in the world and you have to go into your heart and say, who am I what matters to me? What kind of Life do I want to create because I will tell you a lot you get to create whatever future you want. You can create a miserable future. You can create a hopeless future you can create in it. It’s an incredible future and exciting future is not none of them are easy, but you can create the future you want. You can create a great future. Enlarged great future in education is the key. So the first thing I wanted to say, is that what do you want figure out what you want start journaling about what you want don’t look for a two-word answer like a happy and successful like really what is happiness you what is success to you and you may write in your journal in a month. You may have a completely different definition. You may have a different definition in the day, but start exploring. What do you want? What is happiness and success to you? What would it be like to feel like you’re smart enough? What does it mean to do you what matters do you want to talk about this phase in your life, you get to explore again forget about grades and classes and and standardized test and how things look on paper then resumes and prepping for college and all the stuff. You’re in an exploratory time. You’re in a great time in your life. When you get to explore creativity are human beings types of people careers, you get to explore classes teachers subject areas, you get to be on like this amazing exploration life is like a giant Museum to you and you get to go explore it and I have a student right now that I’m starting with who just did a gap year and now starting their first year of college and I’m I was like, I don’t know why more people don’t do Gap years. I think they’re incredible and I said you have any regrets about doing the Gap here and she’s like, no absolutely not and I’m so Gap years can be really important and can be really great. You’re not going to be behind, you know, if you have a lot of misconceptions about Gap year, so you might want to look at a gap year and look at that Gap year as as more time to explore and it doesn’t have to be a year ago me whatever but you get to explore you could have been Explorer you can do really invested. Things and find out who you are and What You’re Made Of and what matters to you may not know all about that yet. It takes time. So next I want to talk about in this next year your senior year. I want you to focus on learning not grades. What can you learn go into this year and say hey, what can I get out of this year? What can I learn this? You’re not how can I make my resume to look good? How can I look good to colleges? How can I make my grades up? Those things will probably come a lot easier when you focus on what can I learn? What can I learn about me? What can I learn about other human beings? What can I learn about psychology? What can I learn about things that interest me? What can I learn about creativity in life? And what can I learn in my classes? What can I learn from this teacher this person who whether or not I that you know think they’re great teacher like they dedicated sometime in their life to teaching the same. Maybe I can learn something from them. So the focus on what you can learn right now. Next come back to what I had in question number one, but what matters to you what is Meaningful to you really focus on those questions is it animals is it plants is at the environment isn’t helping you and beings is it music is it heart creativity and start exploring? What are the things that matter to you? What matters to most and what kind of changes do you want to make in the future? Because you don’t have to grow up and just get a job you get to show up in the world. Anyway you want you can be a changemaker. You can be an influencer. You can do anything you want in this lifetime anything you want? Next question I have for you is why education? What is the purpose of Education? Why does it matter in the purpose of Education should be to launch you to give you the tools to be able to watch you say that you have a great future not the APUSH you so that after high school or college you flop? Okay, it should launch you and so just go back that. Why am I here? Why am I in school? Why am I doing a senior? You’re welcome. I want to watch I want to be able to launch my future my way for me not for anybody else not to be externally validated not to be told him doing it writers and doing a good enough or I am good enough for I’m valuable. But for me, I am getting my education. I am learning what I can for me so I can launch a great life. Now having said that I happen to believe that one of the secrets to launching a great life is service is giving back is creating a future where you are helping you’re not just trying to make a bunch of money or something like that, but you’re actually trying to do something. Matters to where you’re making a difference, that’s where the joy in life and a lot of the sweetness in life comes from so you’re doing it for you. But in a weird way you’re doing it for others as well. You’re developing who you are so that you can give it back the others. So why education was the next question? Why did it was the purpose of Education next thing that you have an opportunity to do in the senior year is to develop your metacognition your interest section your self-reflection learning about who you are who you are as a feeler who you are as The Thinker who you are as an intellectual being an emotional being a social being you get to develop metacognition introspection self-reflection self-awareness mindfulness Consciousness you they’re all basically the same thing. It’s an awareness of who you are. And what makes you tick and what matters to you. So if you consciously go into this senior year and I want to grow as a human being I want personal growth personal development. I want to do me I want to develop me. I want to grow me and I want to be more intersect at more reflective more metacognitive more conscious more self-aware more mindful the more mindful you live the better quality of life. You’re going to have the more you’re going to be able to live. Well, give well. So develop metacognition is the next one and the next one. I have two more. Is that ala? You’ve got Foot Spa. You’ve got guts. You’re going to do big things people don’t write me this. This is not normal. You are not normal what I say that in the best possible way. You are in a typical human being with an atypical brain. You are neural atypical things matter deeply to you a lot. The world needs you. We need people like you to develop who they are. You are the future you are one of the people that are going to make a difference in the world. We need lots of people like you but you are one of them people don’t ask lot of people don’t ask the questions that you’re asking you are going to do big things you’re destined for big things. You ask for help. Who does that not many people do that that’s called humility. People don’t ask for help often until things get horrible. So for somebody your age to be sending me an email and thing dude, help me a little bit. What do you got that’s humility. That’s personal growth. That’s someone who is interest bective who is the who has something offer and finally ala or anybody who’s watching parents teachers? Finally my final comment to you after all of this intensity after I’ve been going on and on for 18 minutes and 34 seconds. After all this is said and done the final thing. I need to say to you is play smile laugh. Have fun wear life like a loose jacket. Don’t take yourself too. Seriously. Don’t take things too. Seriously. Enjoy this life. Enjoy this day. This is the only day you got right here right now this moment. What is going on? Like, how can you lighten it up? How can you lighten the load? How can you lighten your shoulder? How can you take a deep breath and enjoy what is going on around you? Enjoy the weather enjoy the amazing people in your life. Enjoy the good that you have enjoyed how amazing you are how much heart you got appreciate the things that you can appreciate take time to be grateful. Take time to be happy. Joyful peaceful free from your own. Thoughts in your own worries about all of these things go out now. Have a great day and play a little bit. Go play Go smile. Go go play how see you guys soon. If you’re on YouTube go ahead and click subscribe to my YouTube channel. I’m almost to a thousand viewers. Thank you all and Jefferson subscribe to my blog acceptance other stuff perler.com explore topics like this all the time and check out my blog share it with someone leave a comment below if you want and Ayla again, I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the hot spot in the cat that it’s the right. That’s your self play. Have a great day.