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Creating pathways to success for students

through permanent cognitive change

A new NILD subsidiary based on NILD’s nationally and internationally known Discovery Program model opened its doors August 1985 to provide NILD’s services to children and adults who struggle to learn. Grace Brethren Christian School has embraced this model for teaching children with learning differences. For more information about GBCS’s Discovery program, please contact Charlene Bigham. For more information about the Discovery Program in general, visit the National Institute for Learning Differences website.

While journeying to independence, students’ abilities to learn become stronger because they are better able to:

  • Pay attention and stay focused on the teacher’s voice

  • Accurately hear and remember what the teacher is saying

  • Read visual information on the board, transparencies, or computer screen

  • Identify and comprehend the main points of what is being taught and accurately determine the significant information to record

  • Remember how to spell words needing to be written

  • Write legibly

  • Complete homework accurately and independently

Educational specialists foster students’ journeys to independent thinking and learning by individualizing intervention:

  • Focusing specifically on students’ areas of difficulty and dealing with challenges as they arise during the actual learning process

  • Maintaining the intensity of focus needed to help the student work through difficulties

  • Developing the trust needed to free the student to accept and work on difficult areas

Parents assist their child’s journey to independent thinking and learning by:

  • Providing structure and accountability

  • Supervising homework

  • Maintaining regular contact with the educational specialist to increase understanding of the learning process and collaborate in providing an effective program for their child

National Institute for Learning Development

Discovery Program, Inc. is an NILD Learning Development Center. NILD is an international organization of educational therapists that has served 100,000 children worldwide. Our research-proven methods and accredited programs have helped students overcome learning challenges.

Cognition - Emotions - Perception - Academics

The Figure 8

This figure represents four key components developed through NILD educational therapy — cognition, perception, emotion, and academics.

  • The figure eight is incorporated in an activity called Rhythmic Writing that helps to strengthen attention, processing skills, and handwriting.

  • Rhythmic Writing is one of over twenty educational therapy techniques that NILD-trained therapists employ to enhance their students’ ability to learn.


In order to make sense of the world around us, to give meaning to our experiences and to develop the ability to learn new information, we are dependent upon our cognition. Cognition refers to thinking processes such as reasoning, reflecting, attaching meaning, remembering and evaluating. Thinking about how we think allows us to adjust our responses, adapt our learning behaviors, develop new strategies and problem solve. All of these are essential for developing independent, successful learners and productive members of society.


The way we feel about the world around us, our relationships with others and our approach to life is largely impacted by our emotions. Self-confidence plays a key role in successful acquisition of new information, forming relationships and communicating our needs.


Perception refers to how we receive and process information either through sight, sound, touch, movement, smell or taste. We need to perceive information correctly in order for the brain to process the world around us. If the way a student perceives information is not correct the product or outcome that he is expected to produce in school/work will be impacted negatively.


In order for students to successfully learn the required content and respond well to standards-driven instruction, students must be taught “how to learn”. Teaching a student how to learn creates independent learning skills that build competencies in cognition and processing so that the acquisition of academics becomes more efficient and effective.