Individualized Solutions To Education Law Issues.

Can 'mindset' theory help those with special mental health needs?

There was a time in education when teachers operated under hard and fast rules. The standards were set by tradition or the best information available at the time. Today, in New York and elsewhere, there is greater appreciation that one-size-fits-all solutions generally don't work and certainly don't in the context of helping students achieve their individual goals.

Individualized learning crafted to serve a student's special needs is acknowledged as a right and so federal and state laws mandate that school districts accommodate those needs. Defining needs, however, can be challenging. Working with a skilled education law attorney is how parents and students can be sure their opinions get consideration when formulating individualized education plans.

Learning isn't just about information download

Many factors deserve consideration when trying to set a child on a track for learning success. In the past decade or so, a popular theory revolves around the issue of student mindset. Another word for this might be attitude.

The theory goes that there are two basic mindsets in individuals - fixed and growth. The first assumes intelligence and ability are static traits. Success is measured based on test scores - grades. A person with a growth mindset, though, gauges things in terms of "not yet." That is, they use test scores to identify opportunities to learn and improve.

Proponents of growth mindset say it can be taught and so educators are starting to employ it in many schools. In fact, some researchers are trying to see if mindset adjustment training can address student mental health needs, too - specifically to overcome depression and anxiety.

Study results to date are far from conclusive, but the data is sparking interest in the education world. At the very least, parents of students with mental health issues will want to be aware of this new tool.

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