These girls have learning difficulties. It doesn’t mean they can’t learn, only that they learn differently. By adjusting the task and using positive words, high fives, and repeated success, the girls went from tears of frustration and the feeling that they were going to fail AGAIN, just like they had so many times before – to smiles, laughter, and a racing search for the next poster. In the end I heard the best thing a Girl Guide leader can hear,
“This is really fun!”
The girls thanked me again and again for helping them be like all the other girls with their flags pinned to their shirts. I just told them I knew they could do it. That they are smart. It’s something kids who have different learning needs don’t hear often enough.
So if you see a kid struggling, don’t write it off as not trying. Most of the time these kids have to try twice as hard as everyone else just to come up with average. Give them a hand, adjust how you present the task. Talk them through their fears of failure. Give them lots of praise. And don’t let their despondency turn you off of helping them – they are just afraid. It happens to us all.