Kids Labeled "Learning Disabled" Can Learn Fast and with Great Retention if they are Taught How to Learn

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Like Annie Sullivan did with Helen Keller, learning expert, Kimberly Kassner teaches kids how to learn by meeting them where they are and capitalizing on their strengths. Everyone has a different learning style made up of a variety of factors: which senses do they learn from, what time of day do they learn best, are they a right or left brain learner ... When a student learns all the facets of how they learn best, learning becomes infinitely easier regardless of their perceived "learning disability." The key to a child's learning success is building on their strengths, while working with the emotional component of the child.

According to a recent article in USA Today, between 3% and 5% of school-age children are thought to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, causing them to lag behind their peers by as many as three years. Metro Detroit learning expert Kimberly Kassner feels that the issue isn't actually about 'learning disabilities', it's a matter of teaching children "how to learn" using their own unique strengths.

Kassner, founder of EmpowerMind, a learning-to-learn company based on Commerce, Michigan, has taught students and adults how to capitalize on their own unique abilities for seventeen years. She teaches students who are labeled as having multiple "learning disabilities" how to focus on their strengths and use them to improve their performance both in and out of the classroom.

"Each person is a puzzle," she explains. "You need to see the pieces that are already there and work at putting those together - instead of looking for what's missing."

Kassner's theory is that true success comes from meeting a child where they are and working from there. "When I did a workshop at Holly High School last year, I taught a child with Down's Syndrome how to memorize nineteen words - in order - in just a few minutes. This child demonstrated her newfound skill in front of two hundred other kids and she was so proud of herself. The reason Helen Keller accomplished so much is because Annie Sullivan met her where she was and built on her strengths."

During her workshops, Kassner guides participants as they figure out how they learn best. What senses help them learn best? Are they right or left brain learners? Are they whole-to-part or part-to-whole learners? What time of day do they learn best? These factors all play a role in learning success.

"There are also emotional factors that come into play," adds Kassner. "That's one of pieces we tend to ignore. Without confidence, a fear of learning develops. It can engulf the student and severely affect their effectiveness in the classroom. I give my students tools can they use in any classroom to make sure they feel good about their ability to retain information and gain the skills they need to succeed."

Kassner has led hundreds of workshops since starting EmpowerMind in California in 1991. After moving to Michigan in 2003, she expanded her company, hiring additional trainers and teaching thousands of students - both teens and adults - skills for success in education.

How well does Kassner's approach work? Waterford, Michigan teen, Christian Tifrere, 17, said, "Before EmpowerMind, I was just getting by with D's and sometimes even E's. But then after I did the EmpowerMind program, things started to look up. School just seem to get a lot easier, and now I am getting A's and B's."

EmpowerMind has launched a new website at, offering visitors access to workshop information and other learning resources, including Kassner's book, "You're a Genius and I Can Prove It." The next two-day EmpowerMind workshop is scheduled for April 5 & 12, with a second set for April 19 and 26. Both sessions take place at the Courtyard by Marriott in Farmington Hills, Michigan. Tuition for the two-day workshop is $295 per person. For more information, call 248.366.1960 or 800.272.4675. Or visit


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Kimberly Kassner

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