Forman School kicked off Fall Parents’ Weekend with an excellent seminar for new Forman parents from internationally recognized LD expert Rick Lavoie. Lavoie is an author, educator, and consultant who has been working with Forman School for almost 30 years.
Lavoie, who holds three degrees in Special Education and two Honorary Doctorates in Education, spent over 30 years as an administrator over students with special needs. In his presentation, he told the audience that he does not recommend schools to people because the institutions often change quickly, but that he recommends Forman School to families without hesitation. “I love this school,” he said, adding that many schools offer to assistance students with learning differences, but ask them to sacrifice their interests for this help. “At Forman, they do it all: sports, art, extracurricular activities. Here, kids are adolescents first. A place like this takes kids off the bench and puts them in the game. It takes them out of the audience and onto the stage.” Lavoie also discussed adolescence, the desire for acceptance, and how students with learning differences “need to be among other kids who are like them.” At Forman, he explained, “They are very kind to each other,” because they understand what their peers have experienced.
Parents enjoyed stories and anecdotes from the speaker, and offered helpful tips on the family’s influence in the life of a child. “Positive feedback changes behavior, but negative feedback only stops behavior,” Lavoie said. He talked about the word, “fairness,” and how most people don’t understand the true definition. “Fairness means everyone gets what he or she needs; not that everyone gets the same,” he clarified, adding that siblings of children with learning differences often “become really solid adults because they have seen the human condition.” Lavoie delineated the stages a family navigates upon discovering their child’s learning differences, from denial to acceptance. Some suggestions the author recommended for both parents and children are setting both short-term and long-term goals, as well as increasing self-awareness and compartmentalization.
Rick Lavoie has had numerous national television appearances, including The TODAY Show, CBS Morning Show, Good Morning America, ABC Evening News, and Walt Disney Presents. Additionally, he is the author of the book, It’s So Much Work to Be Your Friend: Helping the Child with Learning Disabilities Find Social Success, and creator of the award-winning films, How Difficult Can This Be? The F.A.T. City Workshop, Last One Picked, First One Picked On: The Social Implications of Learning Disabilities, and When the Chips are Down: Learning Disabilities and Discipline. Most recently, he released a book and PBS DVD called The Motivation Breakthrough: 6 Secrets to Turning On the Tuned-Out Child.
For more information, please visit Dr. Lavoie’s website at www.ricklavoie.com.