In the Schools | The Howard School

Airdate: May 2024

If at first you don’t succeed, try try again goes the old saying. That’s sound advice meant to build resilience. However, for neurodivergent children those words can ring hollow for those who struggle to try, try, try, and try again — and their efforts fail to yield a winning result. For many kids with learning and attention issues, that lack of success can lead to them to throw up their hands, and stop trying. It’s a psychological phenomenon called learned helplessness. Because the child believes he has no control over negative outcomes he no longer is motivated to try. Given that youngsters with learning differences can face a daily gauntlet of challenges, helping defuse the reduced motivation, low self-esteem, passivity, and procrastination that can feed this mindset is imperative. The good news is neurodivergence doesn’t cause learned helplessness, and with early intervention, parents and educators can help kids beef up their resiliency muscles and overcome learned helplessness. On this episode, we visit a Georgia private school for neurodivergent students where countering learned helplessness is enshrined in its mission statement.