Concentration and focus is the key.

I remember as a young boy in school having the eagerness to learn but struggled with my concentration and my comprehension. I remember I had to read things over and over and over again before I could commit it to memory. I worked hard and was very studious but found I really had to work at studying and reinforcement in retaining information. I was fortunate to have understanding teachers and my parents there to encourage me and sit down with me to help me with my school work and homework assignments. I never gave up but felt I had to work twice as hard. When I achieved a good grade on a test I realized it was certainly worth the effort. As I moved along in school my comprehension improved but I still had to reread passages many times to understand concepts and memorize factual information.

I realized for me the best way to learn effectively and complete tests in time I had to really focus clearly and tune out everything around me so I could read and understand and concentrate on the test questions and complete them in time. I would always make sure I was prepared for announced tests and try my best to be prepared for surprise quizzes. I usually would be able to complete the test in time and if I was truly prepared I would usually do well on the test. My mother had the patience of a saint and she would always sit down with me and make sure I completed my assignments and she would make sure I could read and understand my homework and answer all the questions. She impressed upon me at an early age that I should always complete and understand my assignments before I could watch tv or play with friends.

Thinking back to that time is special to me because it was a happy time and because I was very fortunate to have such loving and caring parents and 2 wonderful sisters. I remember some of my assignments required reading books and writing a report or answering a series of questions and I remember it took me time in first understanding what I was reading and I had to have patience and would have to read individual pages sometimes 2 or 3 times to understand so I could complete the assignment. Sometimes when I read I would have to use my imagination to picture what I was reading to help me understand more clearly and to have more fun in reading the book. One thing that always helped me with studying was to have a clear understanding of what I was learning and trying to have fun in the process. For me studying was hard to begin with because it required discipline, attentiveness and lots of time being alone with your thoughts. The subjects I had more success with studying was math and science because the subjects were interesting and required computational problem solving which I enjoyed.

As I studied I would organize myself and the material I was studying from. I would outline the material in a way that would make it easier to learn and I would reinforce what I was studying by repetition and by studying for several hours. I would have to prepare myself for studying and once I started I would try to limit outside interruptions. I would generally study with soft music in the background playing or with complete silence. I would stay focused and would be able to concentrate and generally have a successful study session. If the material I was studying was interesting I would find the experience more enlightening and more rewarding.

As my son is now in middle school he is also getting accustomed to the challenges of school and he is also getting used to the idea of learning good study habits and learning responsibility with his school work and his home work. We have to sit with Matthew to encourage him with his school work and help him organize himself. He is very bright but he has to be pushed and reminded when it comes to doing his homework. Understanding my own difficulties and knowing my son’s challenges as an autistic child we have to be very firm and also very understanding and give our son all the support he needs. We also need to teach him fun ways to study and to always make sure he is able to complete all his assignments and studying.

We are always moving forward in our lives and we always need to make sure we are prepared for what lies ahead and when we are in school we learn how we need to prepare ourselves to be responsible and to always be disciplined with our studies and to always try to do our best. This is what my parents taught me and this is what we teach our son. We teach him to always stay focused and to always concentrate and have fun with school and look upon it as a great learning experience.

Edward D. Iannielli III

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