The Pathway to Success for Your Right-Brained Learner - Why Accommodations and IEPs Are Helpful but Not Sufficient

Our daughter's IEP was well written, we were getting the programs the schools had available, and the teachers were doing as much if not more than we could have expected, but we still sat in her 8th grade IEP meeting and heard:

"Your daughter is not college material"

I have my Master's Degree in Education and I was stunned.  I then developed the 3D Learner Program (R), my daughter improved her reading comprehension 4.2 grade levels in 7 months and she now has her Masters in Education from the University of Florida and is a Nationally Board Certified Teacher - teaching gifted 3rd graders.

At first, I thought this was just about us.  Now I realize there are tens of millions of kids, often from the best families and going to the best schools, who are right-brained learners, and their major crimes are that they learn differently,
and that what schools offer is helpful, but not enough. They often have other complicating conditions (skipping words and lines when reading, attention challenges, working memory issues, processing speed and/or anxiety challenges).

What IEPs and other accommodations offer are:
  • Phonics-based programs -- which are not what right-brained learners need first.
  • Extra time on tests -- helpful, but they do not offer solutions that increase processing speed.
  • Copies of assignments -- again helpful, but this accommodation often falls by the wayside.
  • Preferential seating -- good, but they do not necessarily put the child on the right side of the room given their strong eye or ear.
  • Pull-out programs -- that may be helpful, but may put them with kids who are behavior challenged.
  • Other accommodations that are helpful, but do not get to the root cause of the problems or address them.

IEPs and the accommodations schools offer are helpful, but rarely result in the students doing well.  Just consider the survey that showed that:

  • 41% of the students in Special Education in Secondary School are 3 to 4.9 years below grade level.
  • An additional 26% are 5 or more years below grade level.

The most striking thing to us is that this problem occurred with our own daughter and to client's kids where the parents are doctors, very successful business owners, pilots, architects and other very successful professionals and individuals.

An additional challenge is that when a parent takes their right-brained learners to a traditional psychologist, audiologist or optometrist, they often hear:

  • The child needs a phonics-based program and medication -- and in one case, the psychologist downplayed an optometrist's report, which was an excellent summary of the tracking problem and what needed to be done.
  • That phonics and a good mind and body integration program would work -- when the parent knew the child had a tracking issue, learned differently and did not respond to phonics programs.
  • That addressing the tracking issue is what is needed -- when the child also learned differently and had a real attention issue.
We strive to address the whole child and take pride in referring our clients to other professionals who do too.

At 3D Learner, we have now worked with two professionals who really get it:

  • Dr. Linda Silverman, from the Gifted Development Center in Denver, who focuses on the bright and even gifted child who often has a combination of tracking, attention, processing speed, working memory and/or self-esteem issues. Parents have traveled to Denver from all over the world to visit Dr. Silverman and her team. They leave informed, empowered and knowing what to do next.
  • Shari Kaplan, a Boca Raton LCSW, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, who really gets these children and the parental challenges.
You can read more about Dr. Silverman and Shari Kaplan at 2 Professionals We Recommend.

We also continue to develop a list of psychologists we recommend in our area, and if you call our office we can offer you options within our area.

For parents visiting our office, we usually offer the Structure of Intellect Assessment (R), a Reading Plus Assessment that shows your child's reading speed and comprehension, plus a Visagraph (R), and an Interactive Metronome Assessment (R).  This combination is far more effective and affordable.  It provides insight into:

  • How your child learns best
  • Their learning strengths and challenges
  • Whether they have attention, tracking or auditory challenges
  • Their present reading speed and comprehension
Parents like this combination because it often:
  • Focuses on their child's strengths and boosts their child's self-esteem, while highlighting their challenges.
  • Shows tracking and attention challenges that often convince both parents what is happening. Attention issues are often seen differently by the two parents -- but when they see what their child is doing, they often agree.
  • Helps us to co-develop an action plan.
  • Requires less investment and leaves more funds for improving performance.
  • Is more child and parent friendly. It takes less time, the process is not stressful and you, the parent, leave with reports and recommendations you can understand and act on.

We also offer two or more affordable options:

  • A one-hour consult, where we do the Interactive Metronome (R), a Visagraph (R) and the Reading Plus Assessment (R).
  1. Our 3D Learner On-line assessment, which we now combine with a Reading Plus and Vision Screening Assessment.
If you suspect your child is a right-brained learner, we strongly recommend working with professionals who focus on right-brained learners.  For your information, Dr. Silverman offers both on-site psycho-educational testing and consults, where either a staff member of Dr. Silverman will review a previously done report and provide you with their insights. This investment has proven to be very valuable for parents, and can be done from anywhere in the world.

Dr. Silverman and her team can be reached at
1-888-GIFTED1 (Continental US only) or 303-837-8378.

You can contact us at 3D Learner at 561-361-7495.

PS: If you find professionals you believe would be helpful to other parents, you can either e-mail us at success@3dlearner or call us at 561-361-7495