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Are you a counselor or parent with patients or children who are struggling with virtual learning? Are you concerned that your child is falling behind with online school? How can you improve your child’s relationship to learning for the better?
In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks about Fit learning with Dr Aditi and 2 principles you can implement at home, today.
Meet Dr. Aditi
Dr. Aditi is committed to transforming EDUCATION for ALL students regardless of abilities, disabilities, or diagnoses. Why? Simply because she has been there…. She knows all too well how defeating it is as a parent to hear the self-disparaging negative comments, and how stressful it is to deal with the yelling, fighting, and crying over schoolwork.
The combination of her own first-hand struggle, professional expertise, and sheer determination to find help her son; was the catalyst for bringing Fit Learning to the Chicagoland area.
Visit her website. Get in touch via email at email@example.com
In This Podcast
- Who was attracted to Fit learning at the beginning?
- What is a session like?
- Where does Fit place its focus compared to regular tutoring?
- Does Fit learning work well online?
- What is the assessment system for new students?
- Two Fit principles parents can do at home with their children
Who was attracted to Fit learning at the beginning?
Mostly psychology students and education majors, most of FitF learning coaches come from these backgrounds.
The challenge we have with educational specialists is if they’re not green, its hard to change the mindset of how learning occurs.
There are some nuances involved, but ABA therapists who were interested in chartered teaching for example worked well with Fit learning.
What is a session like?
So whatever gaps that we saw in Lucia’s initial assessment, we created and designed a program that is specific to her, and then we’re able to do those programs each day.
The sessions usually start off with a prime, an activity, or discussion that serves as a warm-up for the student before their lesson begins in earnest. The lessons are reinforcement-based and encourage the learners to have fun while building up their confidence.
The sessions are tailored to how the initial assessment went. Through the assessment, the gaps were found that the student has in their particular subject and the coach, through the lesson, can help the student fill those gaps so that the curriculum is based on their specific academic needs.
Where does Fit place its focus compared to regular tutoring?
With typical tutoring, the focus is placed on going over homework and preparing for tests. This is a good practice to do, however, it does not look at where the root issue lies in a student that struggles with a particular subject or concept.
Fit’s foundation is based on filling those gaps and pulling out those root issues. Coaches are also trained in behavioral studies and can therefore also intervene and help a student where necessary.
Fit also do daily check-ins to see where the student is. If there is no clear progression then an intervention is structured for them to find the issue and solve it, before moving onto the next program.
Does Fit learning work well online?
The pandemic did not negatively impact Dr. Aditi’s Fit Learning much because they already had a successful full online system in place.
The thing we really realized during the pandemic is that we don’t actually need to be in person because the delivery method is so unique and its based on science and data, and we’re able to manipulate the data and the structure of anything to get the outcomes we need.
Coaches through Fit learning become near scientists in behavioral management and learning in order to fully assist their students. Some nuances do come into play if the student has a particularly difficult behavioral issue, however, Fit learning does have systems in place to help make that work.
What is the assessment system for new students?
What we do is take every subtle, single, little component skill of math, reading or logic, whatever subject we’re assessing, and get data points, like a base-line data.
It is an extensive assessment system that observes every aspect, no other assessment is this in-depth. They have highlighted what students should portray in their accuracy and their fluency in a subject depending on which grade or level they are in. This enables Fit learning to know, data-based, when the learner has fully mastered the subject or if they need to keep working on it.
In traditional learning, the focus is on what is not working. However, in Fit learning the focus is placed on why this information is not sticking or being retained.
Two Fit principles parents can do at home with their children
First, figure out what your child’s payoff is, what does your child like to do for fun and how can you incorporate that into helping to shape the behavior you want them to exhibit? This helps to create a reinforcement contingency and will encourage them on a more positive and exciting level to work with the work.
Secondly, it is about fluency, not just about accuracy. By measuring fluency and rate you can clearly see how your child is progressing and this is a vital component for them to build strong building blocks for the next phase.
One of the biggest challenges I think we have with our children and our schools is that we often encourage learning for a test and we have to change that mindset. It’s about learning for mastery so that you can build the next foundational skill on top of that.
With Fit learning, children also do not have to compete with anyone else, only themselves.
Sign up for the Fit learning webinar taking place on October 14th
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Meet Joe Sanok
Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.
Thanks For Listening!
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For today’s episode, we don’t have a sponsor because I want you to know about this webinar that I am doing with Dr. Aditi, our guest today. We are doing a webinar on October 14th at 5pm Eastern, 4pm Central, 3pm Mountain and 2pm Pacific. It’s all about helping your child succeed academically in a pandemic. This lady is amazing as you’re going to find out in today’s show, but this is a great webinar for you and for your clients. If you’re worried about where your kid is at, or if you’re worried about where your clients’ children are at academically, this webinar is going to be amazing. So head on over to practiceofthepractice.com/fit to sign up for that webinar that’s happening on October 14th. That’s just a week away. Again, that’s practiceofthepractice.com/fit.
This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok, bonus episode.
Well, today we have Dr. Aditi on this show. She doesn’t need any introduction other than the introduction I’m going to give you. She’s amazing. Thanks so much for listening today. This show is going to be a little different than normal. We’ve got all sorts of things happening that I’m going to explain. And so let’s dive right in.
Today on the Practice of the Practice podcast, we have Dr. Aditi Mehra, I am so excited to have her on the show. She’s an occupational therapist. She’s also the founder of Fit Learning in Chicago, and my daughter participates in it. So this is going to be sort of a unique episode today. Aditi, welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast. [ADITI]:
Oh, just lovely. I’m so excited to be here. [JOE]:
I am so excited to have you on the podcast. We did consulting a number of years ago and then Lucia, my daughter, started doing Fit Learning and this whole time I’ve just been like, I have got to promote Fit and tell people about it just because of what’s happened. And so we’ll get into that but this episode, just for the listeners, it’s gonna be a little bit different. We’re going to talk to Aditi for a little bit about just her story. Then we’re going to actually jump to one of her coaches, Coach Evelina, who… Coach Evie is what Lucia calls her. So Coach Evie and Lucia, my daughter, are going to then be on this, and then you’re going to hear a little bit of what Fit is like, and then hear Lucia and Coach Evie again, and then we’re going to come back to Aditi. So our sound engineer, Mitch, is going to be doing an awesome job chopping all of this up. And we’re also going to be playing this both on the Practice of the Practice podcast and on the new family podcast, Leave to Find, our family adventure podcast all about us road-schooling our kids on the road, living out of national parks. So if you haven’t checked out the Leave to Find podcast, that’s now live also. And we’re going to be kind of telling the family side of being on the road. So Aditi, I know your story, but our listeners don’t. Tell us how you went from occupational therapy into Fit Learning. [ADITI]:
Oh, gosh, yeah. It’s quite a personal journey and I’m happy to share it because I think a lot of parents can probably relate. So it was around, let’s see, fourth, fifth grade, my son started struggling in math and at the time I was doing my doctorate. So I was like, you know, I was quite arrogant about it, to be honest with you. I was like, oh, I’m an OT. I’ve got this. I can figure this out. And, of course, I took him to psychologists, I did all the things that mums and dads do to help the child. And he enrolled in tutoring and therapies and all that, but nothing was moving the needle. It just was not working. And I just… because I was doing my doctorate, I was sort of like, okay, I’m going to try medication just because I can’t focus on this right now. And so we ended up putting him on some meds and I thought, okay, just let me finish my doctorate and I’ll figure this out. And it was during that time that I realized that he was just spiraling into this negativity of ‘I’m rubbish. I’m never going to get it. I’m stupid. School’s not for me’, and it was just harrowing for me to hear that. So reluctantly, I put him on meds, I’m doing my doctorate. And I don’t know if you believe in karma, or, like, the world, the universe hearing you, but that’s how it felt. During my last class I did a certification course in ABA, and it was one of my last classes on precision teaching. And my eyes lit up, Joe, I was just, like, whoa, like, this is what my son needs. It talked about building fluency, and collecting data on mastery levels, and making sure they master certain levels… [JOE]:
I gotta pause you right there because I… my very first job out of grad school was an ABA – and I don’t think I’ve ever told you this, even though we’ve worked together for a long time – but it was at a residential treatment center for kids that basically had been kicked out of other residential treatment centers. And it was so ABA, it was like, here are the four steps in order to do the dishes. So first, look at the person in the eye and say, okay, and then walk to the sink. And they got points for every single thing they did, and they, I mean, it was a point centric system kind of similar to Fit. And so, boy, and I went to Western Michigan University that’s so behavioral. [ADITI]:
And so it’s like, when I hear that, you’re speaking my language in that I’ve seen that work, especially in really tough cases, where talk therapy is not going to work as well with those kids. It’s just saying, like, here’s how you do the dishes, here’s how you don’t have a tantrum. So, I just wanted to jump in there and say that because I’m sure we’ve all had some experiences where we’ve learned about ABA, about applied behavior analysis, but maybe we haven’t experienced it in the same way that Aditi and I have in our jobs, so continue. [ADITI]:
No, absolutely. And you’re right on. Because I always thought about ABA being for challenging behaviors, autism, I never pondered it for your typical child, just accelerating them as fast as they can. And that’s what precision teaching – which is one of the gold standards of ABA – sort of brought to the forefront. And immediately I was enamored by it. And so I did something quite extraordinary for me, in that I picked up the phone and I called my professor. And she was in New York and I was like, I’m just going to call her because I need this for Tristan. I picked up the phone, I called her, and my first statement to her was, I’m an OT – don’t hold that against me. Because I don’t know if you know, Joe, but ABAs and OTs don’t always get along. [JOE]:
Yeah, I happen to be married to an OT so… no, I actually love how OTs are so creative in the way that they apply things. I think that it’s such… it’s a field that I didn’t even know existed until my wife went into it. And I’m like, how did I not know about this through all of psych grad school? This is crazy. Anyway, we could do a whole show on OT interactions. But yeah, so don’t hold it against you. [ADITI]:
No, that’s exactly what it was. I was like, please don’t hold it against me. I just want help for my son. And that was it. That’s all I cared about. I had no intention of having a business or anything. At that moment it was my son that was important to me. So she said, well, you know, there’s nothing in the Midwest, so you’d have to come to New York. So I was like, okay. And then she said, you know, we don’t have any coaches there. So you’d have to move here if you wanted services for him. And I was like, yeah, that’s not going to happen. So I was like, can you train me to provide services for my son? And then we went through the qualifications and all that, and she’s like, yep, they accepted me. And I was like, all right, brilliant. So I flew out to New York over Christmas break, and basically had him assessed and started my training process. And then… [JOE]:
How long is that training process? [ADITI]:
Well, so I was one of the very first affiliates. So I think it wasn’t as streamlined at that time. But it took me about two to three months to get certified in all the aspects. Now it helped that I already had a certification in ABA. So, depending on where you start, it does take a while. But I was a desperate mum at that point. I was not an OT, I was not professional, I was just pure desperation. And I was going to do what needed to be done. So started doing all this and then what happened is I came back to Chicago… so we did some in-person, and then I’d get up at six in the morning and Skype with New York and learn the rest, and they would coach me through and all that. So it was quite harrowing to say the least because I was working, and I was doing my doctorate. [JOE]:
Ah, the things we do for our kids. Oh my god. [ADITI]:
Exactly, right? Especially when you’re desperate. And that’s why, like, so many parents I’ve talked to after that can relate because they’ve been there. I just feel lucky that I found the resource when I did. So basically, I went back, got certified in it, started working on my son, and one of the taglines that Fit Learning has is, you know, accelerating students a whole grade level in forty hours. And I was like, yeah, pure rubbish. There’s no way. That can’t happen. Like, I wanted to see it, right? And I was like, I want to see this with my son. Sure enough, I started working with him and within, I would say, thirty-five to forty hours, I was seeing a qualitative difference, and quantitative because I was able to chart the data.
And then I was like, but I want a second opinion because I’m so close to this. And I went to the doctor who had prescribed the medication for him. I took Tristan back. And I didn’t say anything to the doctor. I just said, here’s Tristan. They interviewed each other. And basically, the doctor asked Tristan, so how are you doing in school? And Tristan goes, I’m really good at math now. And I was floored, just agape. Because this is the child I’d have to peel off the floor to do any sort of math, the crying, the drama, I could not believe that his self perception had changed. So that for me was enough right there. But then I had data to support it. So the doctor says to me, well, Miss Mehra, you should continue the meds because it seems to be working. And I was like, yeah, I took him off meds four months ago, because I needed to make sure what I was doing was really the force behind the change. So that, for me, was the deciding factor that I wanted to pursue Fit Learning. And then of course, I started thinking, well, why isn’t it in Chicago? Why isn’t this available for everybody? Why is it just for my son because I was aware of this resource? And they asked me if I’d like to open in Chicago and I said, yes. And, you know, there we go. Here we are.[JOE]:
Oh, man. Well, so for us – and we’re gonna hear from Lucia and Coach Evie in just a minute here – we had Lucia at a private school, it’s supposed to set her up to have high ACT scores and get into college and all this stuff. And in first grade, I remember just seeing the other kids where they were at. And it’s hard when you have kids that young because you don’t know how much you should push it versus not push it. And she was falling behind. And the school was saying over and over, you know, it’s going to click, it’s going to click and, you know, we had friends that were educators that said, there’s some countries that don’t even really start teaching reading till second and third grade. But then second grade passed, and we’re in the middle of third grade and it still just wasn’t clicking and it was a big struggle for her. And this is something that she has been open to talk about, her journey, which has been amazing because she felt like a bad reader. She was saying these things and when you’re a third grader, compared to first or second, you start to notice that with your peers. So we came down to Chicago, oh my gosh, luckily, right before this whole pandemic thing happened, and got assessed at Fit and we were able to really kind of look at where she was at and get some good numbers. And she’s been doing it since then. [JOE]:
And we’ll talk about what’s happened after Coach Evie and Lucia talk. But just to kind of walk through that process of how comprehensive just the assessment itself is, it was pretty amazing to see. Now, Aditi, as you were building that business, what did that look like in regards to who was most attracted to coming to work with Fit at the beginning? So when you launched Fit in Chicago, who were some of the kind of the natural fits of people that were coming in, that were bringing their kids to work with you and to work with the coaches? [ADITI]:
So I would say psychology students were probably the very top, and then education majors. A lot of our coaches come from that background. The challenge we have with educational specialists is, if they’re not green it’s hard to change the mindset of how learning occurs. So that was the only sort of nuance that I realized. And also, ABA therapists naturally, who were interested in charting and precision teaching, [JOE]:
That makes a lot of sense why, you know, when someone’s kind of earlier in their career, that would be a little easier. You would have a lot less to undo. Well, we’re gonna hop over to my interview with Coach Evie and with my daughter, Lucia, and we’re going to talk with them about what it’s like from Lucia’s point of view in regards to going through her Fit Learning experience.
I’m kind of nervous. [COACH EVIE]:
Well, Lucia, remember what we talked about in session. Whenever we feel any kind of stress or nervousness, we just go through it and we take it and we are able to finish… um, can we…? I don’t know why. See, I’m nervous too. [JOE]:
That’s how it happens. We have Coach Evie and Lucia here. We are recording a little bit before just because Lucia was saying she was nervous, and we were talking about it and I’m like, we should be recording this. So we’re doing this podcast today all about Fit Learning, learning during the pandemic, online learning. We know that a ton of you out there have kids or have clients that you’re like, man, I want to have my kid not fall behind this year. So we have Lucia and Coach Evie here. Lucia, how’s your day going? [LUCIA]:
That’s awesome. I’m glad it’s great and not just good. And Coach Evie, what about you? How’s your day so far? [COACH EVIE]:
Pretty great so far as well. Me and Lucia just had a session this morning, so what a great way to get started. [JOE]:
Yeah, well, let’s talk about what a session is like. So Lucia, when you show up for a session, what’s it like? [LUCIA]:
So first I get into Zoom, we talk about, like, what we did the last few days, and then we actually get into our session. [JOE]:
And when you say ‘get into the session’, what’s some things that you get into? [LUCIA]:
So we start reading, we start seg blending, we start working with blends. Usually we do this thing called Prime first. [JOE]:
What’s Prime first? [LUCIA]:
Well, it’s actually just called Prime. [JOE]:
Okay, what’s Prime? [LUCIA]:
So it has different seg blends, or blends. And I have to go through them, like, bull, ter, her, full, things like that. [JOE]:
Wow, so you have to do it quickly. [LUCIA]:
Yes, well, like in fifty or, like, thirty seconds. [JOE]:
Okay. And then when you do that, what happens after you do, say, one of those seg blending exercises? [LUCIA]:
Then afterwards, I usually do crazy clicks. And crazy clicks are there’s these things called clickers. We use them in Fit Learning, and I click on it, and I get a certain amount of points, or clicks, each day, and then we add them up all at the end of the day. [JOE]:
And you just got something from Amazon for our road trip that was because of… you got to spend some Amazon money. What did you get from your crazy clicks, like, how many points did you have, and you cashed those in for something? [LUCIA]:
I forget how many points I had, but I got green and blue binoculars, and they work so well. [JOE]:
Yeah, how well do they work? [LUCIA]:
Really well. [JOE]:
Really well? [LUCIA]:
Really well. [JOE]:
What have you been able to see with the binoculars that you weren’t able to see without them? [LUCIA]:
Well, I could see with them. But, um, the first time I got them, I was sitting at the dining room counter, and I looked through them into our neighbor’s yard and I was like, whoa, these work very well. [JOE]:
Wow, you can see into people’s houses from here. [LUCIA]:
Actually, no, I couldn’t. [JOE]:
Now, Lucia, how would you describe your reading before you started working with Coach Evie? [LUCIA]:
Maybe tough, hard, frustrating, I don’t know, a bunch of different words. [JOE]:
Wow. Yeah. And how would you describe it now? [LUCIA]:
Oh, my gosh. Can we just leave the interview now? I want to give my daughter a hug in the other room. That’s so awesome.
So, Coach Evie, so you’ve been working with Lucia for a number of months here. Maybe just take us through what that experience as a coach, like, when you’re looking at working with Lucia, what do the sessions look like? She did a great job of structuring it out, but what should we add in there for people that are listening to understand kind of what a session is like?[COACH EVIE]:
Yeah, of course. So she, as you heard, she described it so wonderfully. The first thing that we’re going to start off with is kind of like a Prime. So it builds up the session. We’re working on just kind of like a warm up. Right before you start a sport or anything like that, you’re going to start off with a warm up first to get started, talk about your day a little bit, and then get right into it. And as she had mentioned, she used her Amazon points, which we are extremely reinforcement based, so throughout our session, we’re focusing on making learning fun, getting them more confident. So the first part of the session, what I noticed was there was a lot of fluency that we had to work on. So simply just getting a little bit faster in reading, being comfortable with the words, being confident in reading, and then building from there. So we start off with that Prime, we start off with a program that she might have passed before to build up that confidence and then we go through each program one by one. So based on kind of the assessment that we do when we first start working with a learner, we are able to figure out where the gaps are, and then create a curriculum based on that. So whatever gaps that we saw in Lucia’s initial assessment, we created and designed a program specific to her, and then we’re able to do those programs each day. [JOE]:
Awesome. Let’s take a listen to just an example of what this actually sounds like in an actual session. [COACH EVIE]:
Okay, are you ready for this, Lucia? [LUCIA]:
Yes, I am. [COACH EVIE]:
Awesome. You’re gonna read nice and strong for me? [LUCIA]:
Yeah. [COACH EVIE]:
Yes. Awesome. Here we go. Fifteen seconds. On your marks, get set, go. [LUCIA]:
Zap. Hot. Mit. Net. Big. Hat. Ham. Sun. Must. Zap. Fix. Bus. Zap. Zip. [COACH EVIE]:
Let’s get five seconds of crazy clicks. Ready, and go. [LUCIA]:
Click, click, click. [COACH EVIE]:
Click, click, click. [LUCIA]:
Clicking. [COACH EVIE]:
Ok. So the program that we’re doing is called what, Lucia? [LUCIA]:
Blocks. [COACH EVIE]:
We’re doing blocks. We have some blends, we have some digraphs. And we’re going to put those blocks into order, seg blend them, spell some of them and talk about the blocks a little bit, okay? [LUCIA]:
Okay. [COACH EVIE]:
You ready for your first word? [LUCIA]:
Yes. [COACH EVIE]:
All right. Awesome. Your first word is ‘send’. [LUCIA]:
Ss. [COACH EVIE]:
Eh. [COACH EVIE]:
Nn, Duh. [COACH EVIE]:
Cool. First sound. [LUCIA]:
Wait. Nnd. [COACH EVIE]:
Nice, very good. Fixing that block. First sound. [LUCIA]:
Ss. [COACH EVIE]:
Last sound. [LUCIA]:
Nnd. [COACH EVIE]:
Blend or digraph? [LUCIA]:
Diagraph. [COACH EVIE]:
Is that one sound or combined sound? [LUCIA]:
One… combined. [COACH EVIE]:
Good. So is it a blend or digraph? [LUCIA]:
Blend. [COACH EVIE]:
Awesome. Vowel? The word is ‘send’. What’s the vowel? [LUCIA]:
Eh. [COACH EVIE]:
Good. Name or sound? [LUCIA]:
Sound. [COACH EVIE]:
Long or short? [LUCIA]:
Short. [COACH EVIE]:
Good. What’s the word? [LUCIA]:
Send. [COACH EVIE]:
Awesome. Spell it. [LUCIA]:
S-A-N-D. [COACH EVIE]:
Good. What’s the vowel? [LUCIA]:
Eh. [COACH EVIE]:
Good. So start again. [LUCIA]:
S-A-N-D. [COACH EVIE]:
What vowel is ‘Eh’? [LUCIA]:
E. [COACH EVIE]:
Nice. So let’s spell it again. And keep in mind that your vowel is ‘Eh’. [LUCIA]:
S-E-N-D. [COACH EVIE]:
There you go. Good job. Let’s get some crazy clicks for that – five seconds. [LUCIA]:
Whoo. [COACH EVIE]:
Whoo. Ready, go. [LUCIA]:
Wow, that is an intense fifteen to thirty seconds there that you guys go through when Lucia is doing her crazy clicks and getting through everything. I would love to just hear more about those building blocks, Coach Evie. So what does that look like for kids? And I know every kid is different, but just kind of, like, what are the ways that you figure out where to focus your attention? And how is that different from a typical tutoring program? [COACH EVIE]:
Right. So what’s great with… typically with tutoring, the difficulty that parents will start to notice can be a majority of things like homework, or testing, or understanding just basic lessons in each subject, which then leads to stressing about both of those things. And then going over specific homework assignments is great, but then we need to get to the root of where that difficulty is coming from. So in order to figure out where those difficulties are, we’re going to find what those foundational gaps are and then train those to fluency. So we’re also based in Applied Behavior Analysis, so that’s going to give us an idea of how to intervene on a specific set of material that we’re working on. So if she’s struggling with some kind of consonant-vowel-consonant words, if we don’t see a change or growth in her progression over a few days, we’re able to make an intervention to make it even easier, and then build on that. So how we’re able to build on those blocks is we’re taking a look at that data every single day to make sure that our learners are improving. [JOE]:
Yeah, I mean, that’s just something that I don’t think we even noted in the interview with Dr. Aditi, was this is a daily program, an hour every day, five days a week, just tearing through it. Now, Lucia, what do you like about Fit? What for you feels like it really kind of helps you with your learning? [LUCIA]:
I think, like, trying to, like saying to myself, you can do this. Or like, just keep going and don’t get frustrated. Maybe do some deep breaths. I think that’s kind of what helps me. Sometimes just quickly, like, taking a little dance break. That’s usually what helps me. [JOE]:
Yeah. And for you, how has this helped outside of just reading? Are there any ways in life that other things are easier beyond just reading? [LUCIA]:
I think also, like, I don’t know, maybe… I really have no clue. [JOE]:
That’s okay. [COACH EVIE]:
I can also say one thing that I’ve seen Lucia improve on over time, is her ability to be able to answer her questions quickly, and the vocabulary that she’s using. And even though we’re only in a reading program, we’ve been able to see her spelling improve, her conversational skills have been amazing, how quickly her ideas, the way that she’s able to express herself, are things that I’ve noticed, and overall confidence too. [JOE]:
What do you think about that, Lucia? [LUCIA]:
I think it’s a great thing. I think it’s great. [JOE]:
And Lucia, what do you like about working with Coach Evie? [LUCIA]:
That she’s fun, and silly, and cool. [COACH EVIE]:
Thank you, Lucia. [LUCIA]:
You’re welcome. [JOE]:
And the last question I have for you, Lucia, is if kids were listening to this, because we’re going to use this on the Leave to Find podcast, our family adventure podcast, and also on the Practice of the Practice podcast. So, if kids are listening to this, or parents of kids, what do you think they should know about Fit Learning and working with Coach Evie? [LUCIA]:
That I think you shouldn’t be, like, scared, because I think it’s really fun and exciting to me. But a lot of other things are nice. And because then you also get, like, a one minute break. And I don’t know. I just love Fit. [JOE]:
Oh, that’s so awesome. Well, Coach Evie and Lucia, thank you so much for sharing with us some of the behind the scenes of Fit Learning. We are going to go back to the interview with Dr. Aditi. Thanks so much, both of you. [LUCIA]:
Bye. [COACH EVIE]:
Thanks. Thank you. [LUCIA]:
You’re welcome. I mean, thanks. [COACH EVIE]:
You’re okay, Lucia. Great job. [LUCIA]:
It’s so exciting to just see how much Lucia has grown over the last several months. And especially during pandemic, because we were planning, you know, once a month to come down to Chicago and to do most of it online, but then to kind of go back and forth. But, boy, like, right after we got started with you, the pandemic hit. Tell us a little bit about that shift into doing this completely online with your coaches. What’s it been like from kind of a data perspective? And take us through some of the data points that you guys look at, not just online, but when you’re working with kids. [ADITI]:
Sure. So the pandemic actually didn’t impact us a great deal, only because we were… we’ve been serving Saudi Arabia clients for about a year prior to all this that happened. So we’d actually refined our online process at that time. And what we had found is our outcomes were almost at par. So the thing we really realized in the pandemic is that we don’t actually need to be in-person because the delivery method is so unique, and it’s based on science and data, and we’re able to manipulate the data and the structure of everything to get the outcomes we need. And that’s really what’s behind our coaches. Our coaches become scientists in behavior management and learning. And that certification process they go through actually helps them do that. So that was really seamless for us in as far as the transition. As far as the data, it is, as I said, almost exactly the same. Now, some of the nuances that come into play with online is that behavior management. If you have students who have very challenging or difficult behaviors, that takes a little bit more work. But Fit Learning is perfect for students who are typical, and who may have ADHD, executive functioning, all those sort of issues that impede learning in the general school setting. [JOE]:
Yeah. Well, walk us through… let’s first kind of talk about the assessment because having gone through this as a parent, I get it. But you and I, and my wife, Christina, we talked on the phone beforehand to kind of get an idea of what the assessment itself is like. Take us through the assessment and kind of what you look at. And then maybe we can talk about what the actual experience with the student is, and the data points that you look at. So, talk about the assessment. [ADITI]:
So the assessment, it’s interesting, because most people will say to me, you know what, I’ve had this assessment here, can I bring that and give you that? And I’m like, you know what, I’d rather look at that after I do my assessment in Fit Learning. Because what we do is take every single little component skill of math, reading or logic, whatever subject we’re assessing, and get data points, like, a baseline data. So I want to know, if we’re talking about reading, I want to know how you’re good with phonics, right? How are you? Are you accurate? But the other thing I want to know is how fluent you are, what’s your rate? How fast can you get that information accurately? So no other assessment does that. And so we have an in-house assessment, which is based on 25 years of research, to support our data. And what we’ve done is over this period of research is we’ve highlighted what a student should portray in their accuracy and in their fluency. So I know that if you get fifty responses per minute, based on our research, I know that you are now fluent at this skill, and we can move on to the next. That is what makes Fit so profoundly different than any other assessment out there.
So not only are we looking at those component skills, but we also look at the global skill, right? So say your child comes in and they’re fourth grade. I’m going to look at all the components skills they need for reading, but I’m also going to look at how are they currently doing? Are they at fourth grade level in reading? So what we do is we use curriculum-based measurement, which is a standardized way of assessing students across the United States. Most public schools use it. And it compares your child’s score to their peers. And that’s sort of our baseline data. So I might find out that Johnny is in fourth grade, but his actual instructional level is second grade. And so now I know where to start. I’ll start at second grade and build up.[JOE]:
Yeah, I mean, one example that kind of stood out to me is, so Lucia was having trouble with Bs and Ds. And then when we looked at some of those kindergarten skills of really knowing your left and your right and your directions, she hadn’t really mastered that. That building block was just sort of missed for her. And there’s all these little building blocks that if you miss one or two, they add up into something very different two or three years later. And so even to just go back and say, we are going to teach the heck out of left and right. I mean, just hearing her through the door when she’s doing [unclear], like left, left, right, left, right, up, up, just doing all these directions. That really just solidified to me how important those early building blocks are that if you miss them, if you’re sick that day, or if you… however it gets missed, how important it is to go back and really figure out what are the things that were missed potentially back in kindergarten or first grade? Now you’re in fourth grade and you can’t read this word, but it’s not that you just can’t read the word, it’s that you’re having issues with left and right. [ADITI]:
So you bring up a good point, Joe, that the reality is that in traditional tutoring or teaching, what happens is you are working on what you’re not good at, right? If I come to you and I say I don’t know reading comprehension, most tutoring services will go, okay, let’s work on reading comprehension. What we do is a very diagnostic approach. Well, why? What’s impeding your ability? Is it that your reading is not fluid? Because if you can’t read, you’re not going to comprehend. Or are there other variables, other behaviors that are impacting your reading? Like, are you skipping words? Are you skipping lines? So, there’s so much more involved in our assessments than just, you know, can you do this or can you do that? It’s not as black and white. And I think that gives us a breadth of knowledge to start our intervention. [JOE]:
Yeah. Well, I know that this is gonna be a longer podcast interview than our typical ones, but I’m interested in if someone’s listening right now, and they’re a parent that’s gone through pandemic and they’re keeping their job going online, and they’re trying to teach their kids, and doing online learning, and they’re saying, I think my kids falling behind, what are some things that they can do to maybe apply these fit principles, even if they don’t work with Fit? So like, everyone listening, or their clients, and they’re like, okay, here’s three little nuggets that Dr. Aditi gave me that I can use with my own kid whether or not I ever worked with Fit? [ADITI]:
Well, the best thing I could tell you is, first of all, figure out that child’s payoff, right? Nobody wants to do anything for free, including children. So I always tell parents, what does your child like to do? And what can you use to shape the behavior that you want? So for example, if your child loves, you know, M&Ms, if you want to use food, then that’s something you would save for these times when you’re working with them. That’s going to be really important. It’s about really creating that reinforcement contingency. The next thing I would say, it’s about fluency. It’s not just how accurate they are. So let’s just say they’re in school, and they have a test coming up on fractions. And you’re like, okay, Johnny, do you know your fractions? Yes, I feel good about it. He takes the test, he gets eight out of ten, or ten out of ten even, and you’re like, yay, you got fractions. That was a one moment in time example. You don’t know if he has retained, or has mastered the information and will retain that information. In order to do that you need to measure fluency and rate. So what I would do at home is say, I’m so glad you did well on that test. Now, I’d like you to do that test at home, and I’m going to time it. I want to see how fast you are at it. That’s the second thing I would definitely do. Because that’s a building block for the next level he’s going to be learning. So one of the biggest challenges I think we have with our children in our schools is that we often encourage learning for a test, and we have to change that mindset. It’s learning for mastery, so that you can build the next foundational skill on top of that. [JOE]:
Oh, that’s so important. And I think that even just thinking about how then they apply it, and that critical thinking, and I think one of the arguments against ABA is sometimes, well, it’s all this external reinforcer, but, I mean, it feels like when there’s that sense of mastery, if you as a parent can bring it back to well, how does it feel to master that? How does it feel to be a good reader? How does it feel to learn a story on your own? That’s amazing. Look how independent you are. But it doesn’t have to be either-or where it’s just this external reinforcer, you can bring it back to the child’s inner feelings as well. [ADITI]:
Well, if you think about your children, you might have a child who’s really good at school. And because they’re good at school, they’re naturally getting reinforced not only by the grades, but by you. Oh, you did so good in that test. Now, if your child has a learning difference, and may not be as good at school, they’re not getting reinforced by their grades. And you’re probably not reinforcing them, or you’re reinforcing different behaviors. And so it’s this cycle that sort of perpetuates this hatred for school, unfortunately, and that’s what my son experienced. So you’re absolutely right. Extrinsic motivation, intrinsic, sort of comes together at Fit because kids are competing with themselves and no one else. And what we do is start where they’re at. Very small, we start where they’re at, and we build them up. So there’s no chance of failure. And if they do fail, we slice it back. That’s what we’re doing. We’re constantly analyzing the data and going, how can we succeed? How can we succeed? And that’s why kids love it. I never have to bribe my kids to do Fit. Never. [JOE]:
Yeah. Lucia has stayed so motivated, and even when she’s in a rut, she knows she can stand up and do her dance moves and then she jumps right back in. And it’s just, she’s learning these coping skills that when she’s feeling frustrated… we actually started using, during her homework, a pulse oximeter on her finger, so she can become aware of when her heartbeat goes over a hundred beats per minute or her oxygen level drops. [ADITI]:
And it’s just been awesome as an extra layer of saying, be aware of your body. And when her pulse goes over a hundred it’s like, you’re clearly in a rut right now, you’re worked up, go dance it off. And when you’re below a hundred and your oxygen’s back up above ninety-five percent, then we’ll get back in. So now she’s really learning even just how deep breathing helps her get back into it because it reduces her blood pulse and increases her oxygen. So it’s just so fun to see her building these tools as well. [ADITI]:
So we are putting on a webinar together in just a week. And I mean, we just scratched the surface of what Fit is. And so a couple things, if you’re listening right now and you’re saying, I want to hear more of what Dr. Aditi teaches, I want to know more about the program, I want to learn more about my kids doing all this online work, or maybe in your state they’re back in school, but you feel like there needs to be a little bit more, we’re doing a webinar on the 14th at 5pm Eastern, 4pm Central, 3pm Mountain, and 2pm Pacific. And so you can register for that over at practiceofthepractice.com/fit. And we’re going to spend about an hour together kind of going through some of these principles of Fit, also answering your questions, because right now is an unprecedented time of online learning and trying to have your kid not fall behind. I mean, even as we’re on the road as a family, we’re continuing doing Fit with Coach Evie so that Lucia can continue to kind of push forward as much as she can. So, Aditi, what are maybe just a couple of the things that you hope that we’re going to cover during that webinar so that people can get a sense of kind of how this is just the prequel to kind of that bigger webinar together? [ADITI]:
I think the aspects that I really want to highlight, just because I’ve been here as a parent, and also as a professional, is really the barriers to learning, and how we can address those barriers in learning, whether it’s in person or via online. Highlight the gaps in learning and how we can address that. Building fluency at home and, in Fit, how we do it. And really making sure that we are accountable, or any service that you’re getting out there in traditional tutoring, how do you make them accountable to delivering what you’re looking for? Because your time is so precious, right? And that’s one of the things that I realized – I did traditional tutoring for a long time with my son, and was it really giving me an optimal return on his time and money? So, what I really want to highlight is some of the things that you need to look for in addressing the gaps in learning, the gaps in traditional tutoring. But traditional tutoring does have its place and I do want to talk about that, too. So I think we’re going to be able to highlight a lot of that and give parents somewhat of a roadmap of where to go if their child is struggling or falling behind. [JOE]:
I can’t wait for it, it’s gonna be such a great amount of information for you to get, I would highly recommend that you invite clients that may have kids that are struggling or that are just worried. For me it’s just the peace of mind with Lucia, knowing that she’s getting the help she needs and that we can supplement that but that she’s really moving forward. You may have some clients that may be interested in this as well. So that’s practiceofthepractice.com/fit to register for that Zoom meeting. And we’re going to get to how, if you want to work with Aditi in just a second, but Aditi, the last question that I tend to ask in the interview is if every private practitioner in the world were listening right now, what would you want them to know? [ADITI]:
That’s a really hard question. I think what I would want them to know is, as a practitioner, that measurement is the key. I’ve learned that whether it’s in my practice as an OT, or even as a mum, what I’m implementing even at home isn’t working and the only way I’ll know if it’s working is if I measure it. And having that accountability as a practitioner, as a parent, can really change how you deliver instruction or even, at home, manage skills. [JOE]:
That’s so awesome. Dr. Aditi, if people want to work with you and your tea – I know there’s other Fit Learnings out there, but we’ve worked with you, we love your coaches – how do people directly contact you and your team in Chicago to work and, you know, get an assessment, just to take that first step for the assessment and then decide if it’s a fit to work with you? [ADITI]:
Sure. So of course, we have our website, which is fitlearnersil.com. Or they can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. [JOE]:
Awesome, and we will make sure that that’s all in the show notes. We have absolutely loved working with you and your team, and Coach Evie has been just such a great leader for our daughter. So thank you so much just from a personal side in regards to helping Lucia. And thank you for all the work that you’re doing out in the world. [ADITI]:
Thank you so much. [JOE]:
Have a great day. Thanks for being on the Practice of the Practice podcast.
Well, don’t forget to sign up for that webinar. It is going to be on October 14th, 2020 at 5pm Eastern, 4pm Central, 3pm Mountain and 2pm Pacific. It’s all about helping your child succeed academically in a pandemic. So if you or your clients are interested in that, sign up over at practiceofthepractice.com/fit. Thank you so much for letting me into your ears and into your brain. Have a great day. Bye.
Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music; we really like it. This podcast is designed to provide accurate, authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical or other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.