St Albans Mental Health 24-25th Nov

Do take a look at this fabulous initiative – something for everyone.  I hope to see you there. I am speaking at 11:15 on Saturday 24th.

  1. The St Albans Mental Health and Wellbeing Conference is a partnership event between YC Hertfordshire, Sandringham School and The OLLIE Foundation.
  2. It runs over the weekend of the 24th –  25th November at Sandringham School in St Albans, Herts.
  3. It’s free for students and amazing value for everyone else –  £45 for professionals and £25 for parents.   We have been able to keep ticket prices down as almost everyone has been able to donate their time.
  4. Tickets include a full day of workshops and talks on the Saturday from some of the leading lights in wellbeing including Natasha Devon and Jonny Benjamin a full lunch and refreshments throughout the day plus entrance to a range of free events, talks and workshops on the Sunday*
  5. Attached also is the timetable for the Saturday which is just packed with great speakers including those from Mexico, Poland, South Africa and the USA –  all flying in at their own expense to support this important event.
  • Galina Dolya, one of the world’s leading experts on Vygotskan and Early Years Education will be making a rare UK  appearance to talk about the importance of emotional regulation.
  • Marcelo Lombard and Rosa Perez from Mexico are giving their only UK talk this year and will share details of their new anti-bulling programme.
  • Zara Phillips, an Adoption Trauma Coach from New York will support delegates to think through the life-long impact of adoption and how we can provide the most useful support when they don’t live happily ever after.  Zara will be joined by international adoptee Ella and her mum who will discuss the impact adoption has had on them.
  • Marta Piernikowska-Hewelt from Poland, will talk about her incredible work in improving communication skills in children and young adults with autism, cerebral palsy, emotional and or behavioural difficulties.
  • Dr Alan Barnard,  one of the world’s leading Decision Scientists, will be running a one day training  –  The Odyssey Decision Maker Masterclass Programme,  based on Behavioural Economics and Positive Psychology
  1. There are 47 talks scheduled for Saturday (full schedule is attached) that cover a range of subjects and issues that will be relevant to anyone who works with or supports children and young people.  The plenary will be delivered by the Head of Public Health Hertfordshire, Prof. Jim McManus.
  2. Sunday will have a more casual atmosphere with delegates simply turning up for the sessions they are booked on to.

I would like to highlight three of Sunday’ FREE workshops:

  • The Odyssey Decision Maker Masterclass Programme, developed by Dr Alan Barnard based on Behavioural Economics and Positive Psychology.  Dr Barnard also created the Harmony Decision Maker App to support his one-day Odyssey programme, and delegates attending will have free access to the App for 1 month. Alan believes this App is has the potential to make a significant difference to people struggling with all sorts of emotional issues including stress, anxiety and suicidal ideation (where no mental health illness is present) and why he has donated his time to attend this conference.  We know that over 50% of youth suicides are not the result of mental illness, but are instead due to an emotional crisis. Often the root cause of that crisis is an overwhelming problem or problems with no light at the end of the tunnel and no ability, or faith in our ability, to tackle the obstacles faced or imagine more effective solutions other than self-harm. The opportunity to attend a seminar with Dr Barnard will give our young people (and adults) a number of tools that will support them with this so they are more confident to think through their problems and find solutions that don’t result in self-harm of suicide.  Whether it be academic pressures, confidence and self-esteem or relationship issues, this FREE full course is suitable for EVERYONE but will be particularly useful to young people or those supporting them, to improve their problem-solving skills and develop their efficacy and agency to manage emotions that may currently be causing them high levels of distress.  You can learn more about Dr Alan Barnard, his work, this award winning decision making process and app as well as see testimonials from past Odyssey Alumni attendees from the video below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2yBCtaSGAZ8&t=33s
  • OLLIE are putting on a fully funded suicide prevention training, this is a certified course for anyone aged 16 and above.
  • Adoption Trauma specialist, Zara Phillips will be running a work shop with teen international adoptee, Ella, to discuss their shared experiences and how and why we must not ignore the reality of the life long impact of adoption.

You can read more about the workshop hosts and speakers here: https://www.facebook.com/stamhc

And tickets can be bought here:  https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/st-albans-mental-health-conference-tickets-49687176683

Summary here: http://www.ychertfordshire.org/about-yc-hertfordshire/news/st-albans-mental-health-conference/

Thank you once again for helping with this –  its going to be amazing.

Debi Roberts
YC Hertfordshire Project Officer | Services for Young People |
Hertfordshire County Council | Postal Point CH0022 | County Hall | Hertford | SG13 8DF

01442 454 226  | Internal 84226

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The Elephant in the (learning) Room

What is the #elephant in the learning room?  Its something that everyone in education knows about but nobody talks about.  Well actually there are 3 connected elephants:elephantsmall

  1. People learn visually, especially small children. These are the pictures they makeup and hold in their head which may not be the same as any pictures you show them.  Schools rarely check the qualities of these pictures.
  2. We all learn best when we are calm, relaxed, alert and grounded; children who are struggling are anxious, stressed or even in panic.
  3. We all have strengths that help us to learn naturally.

Parents and teachers know about these 3 elephants but these seem to be “difficult or controversial issues that are avoided as a subject for discussion”. I am working to blow the lid off these taboo subjects.

  1. If you can spell and read and are using mental imagery of words, you assume everyone can do this – WRONG. Some children have simply not learnt the skill. There is nothing wrong with them it is just a skill to learn, but without it all aspects of literacy will be very difficult.
  2. If you struggle with literacy and numeracy you assume this is just the way you are and nothing can be done – WRONG. You can learn how to visualise words in about 1.5 hours.  Yes, just 1.5 hours and then like any skill you need to practice. If you are motivated this won’t take long.
  3. If you are so stressed you have multiple mental images flying around every minute of the day, then you turn to, for example, medication, special glasses, special diet as the only solutions – YES these all contribute but you are ignoring the elephant in the room, getting calm and grounded stabilises mental imagery.
  4. Look at a child’s strengths, they are often very visual, e.g. Art, creativity, building lego, design, making up stories, recalling previous experiences.  YES, these strengths can be flipped into invaluable skills for #literacy, #numeracy, #concentration, memory and so much more.
  5. Teachers are trained in multi-sensory teaching the learning – WRONG, teachers are great at teaching visually but not trained in how students learn visually through being in control of their mental images.

Go to http://www.empoweringlearning.co.uk and learn more about what you can do to better understand visual learning and help your children do the same. There are 2 free chapters of my new book to download there. Signup here so you don’t miss any future stories about these elephants.

#empoweringlearning #literacy #numeracy #concentration #mentalimagery #elephants #teachers

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Where has all my energy gone?

Are you searching for increased energy and restored vitality: whether you have occasional exhaustion or have been running on empty for some time and have developed major fatigue.  We’ve all of course experienced those feelings of extreme fatigue, for example, flu-ridden we can’t even muster up enough energy to reach for a glass of water. With extreme fatigue, this is an ongoing feeling, the consistency of which saps you even further.  Here are a couple of real live example:

The parent’s challenge: Working with families who have a child with learning differences, parents so often say they are exhausted with all the challenges and frustrations they face on a daily basis, that seem never-ending.

  • Trying to help a child when they are learning differently to both you, as a parent, and the average child in their class can be an enormous heartache and source of frustration for parents and teachers alike.
  • Focus on what they can do, not what they are finding very difficult to almost impossible. Employ very specific praise for things they get right, for example, concentration, kindness, organisation, etc.  Make their successes very clear to them so they can multiply.
  • Stay grounded and calm to enable your children to feel safe, keeping your energy out of their space. Teach them the same skills.
  • Teach your children simple skills for releasing anxiety.
  • Teach your children how to stay grounded and protect themselves from other people’s anxiety.
  • Believe that teachers are doing the best they can with the resources they have.

The patient’s challenge: I am very sensitive to energy and today here I am having daily radiotherapy treatments and I am learning just how much you can control your own energy, in any environment. Some days I am good, other days I am exhausted before I even get to the exit; so what is the difference that makes the difference and what do I need to do on a regular basis.

  • Before I go in I need to remind myself that I am the sovereign of my own energy field.
  • I need to stay grounded in my own space and add grounding rods to intercept other people’s energy.
  • I should avoid the additional stress of feeling empathetic towards other patients. I don’t want to pick up their energy, that may exhaust me, especially if they are having similar treatment. I need to focus on me for once in my life.
  • I ground the waiting area and the treatment room to reduce everyone’s anxiety, clear out previous energies and help the staff to do their jobs as easily as possible, in the midst of all this electronic equipment. I keep out of any confusion or frustration that happens in the waiting room. I trust the staff to be their best.
  • During my treatment, I relax, breath through my nose and into my belly. I think about walking in a wood of tall grounded trees.
  • I leave the hospital’s energy behind as I walk out through the double doors and clear my energy before getting into the car.
  • I have a large drink of herb tea and a snack in the car for when I leave the hospital.

I originally wrote Recover your Energy with Chronic Fatigue in mind, but repetitive exhaustion may well end up manifesting extreme fatigue.

Here are a couple of extracts from Recover your Energy.  The full book is available here or on Kindle from Amazon. If you are too tired to read we have a full audio version or an audio of just the exercise plus the book.

“It’s puzzling, isn’t it?  With so much energy throughout nature, how can anyone possibly feel fatigued? Why is fatigue a daily experience for millions of people?  Why for many of them is it the dominant experience of their lives?”[1]

THIS BOOK WILL ENERGISE YOU.  You’ll learn about your own personal energy system and how by “setting it to wellness” you can have all the energy you want. You’ll learn, through a simple tale how to tap into the amazing power of your mind with energy enhanced NLP (EnergeticNLP); recognise how your thoughts negatively or positively affect your energy and develop skills that will gain you optimum health, wellness and vitality.

Storytellers through the ages and psychologists more recently, are in agreement that stories have direct access to the healing part of the mind.  In escaping into a simple story your mind and body can pick up the messages they need and you’ll have started that trip back to wellness.

Journeying through this book will enable you to mobilise your own internal team to recover your energy effectively. I use a light-hearted approach but with a complete awareness of the profound emotional, physical and energetic manifestations we are dealing with.

We’ve all met uncomfortably negative people in our time. Those who unload a bucketful of woes and leave you feeling completely drained –  the result of picking up a large dose of their negative energy.  And then there are those who trigger intense emotion in you, maybe anger, guilt or frustration which means you’re then flooding your system with your own stored up negative energy.  All of this negativity blows your fuses leaving you empty and tired.

This afternoon, Maryuma Bader sent me this mail:  “Thank you for your fabulous book “recover your energy”.  I wrote a poem in response I thought I’d share with you:

And with regret
I have to tell you
That while some call it a lack of self respect
It’s actually a sign of self neglect
I’m sorry to my body
That I’ve ignored your needs
And your messages
I’m sorry that I kept you trapped and wasn’t listening
And now I can imagine a bright gold ball above my head
Glistening
Filling my body
And filling you whose listening
There’s a chord between the earth and your spine
An extension of the spinal cord
It keeps us grounded
And it lets energy in, I finally found it
My body fills with energy
Every time I’m tired I just haven’t touched the earth
I haven’t grounded my self
I’m not all over the place anymore
I’m aligned
And I used to be a junior doctor
But I resigned
I am not competitive I’ve never been that way inclined
If I ever get my music out there
I don’t mind if I never get signed
As long as I can use my imagination to picture things
And sign them at the bottom
I remember this year 2018 you could say I hit rock bottom
Sponge Bob I was absorbing everyone’s bad energies for years
and I was looking for clarity
And the universe led me to the right people and the right books
And I started to think about all the unauthentic choices I took
If I could say all of this in one go I wouldn’t need a hook
I want others to heal
I know how life can be an ordeal
And you might think you got the poor end of the deal
But imagine you have so much potential
Don’t listen to what your parents said
They never meant to
Put your dreams down
They were just telling you because they thought they had it all down
But really they were messed up and misaligned
But when they say pull yourself together
What they really mean is align yourself
Because they never managed
And this might sound savage
But your parents could learn a lot from you
And if you imagine a picture
Then introduce them to the view
And they might start to believe you
But it’s important that you believe you
Because for so long I let their words chain me
And I had all their stressors in my body
I let them physically inflict pain on me
And this is still the same me
But I’m gonna listen to the voices in me
I’m gonna start writing down my dreams
And listen to what myself is telling me
And stop listening to all the consumer dreams Instagram is selling me
And not let my manager at work yell at me
And it’s time to be more assertive
It’s time to pull back the curtain
And put into practice all the things I’ve been learning
It’s cliche
But at the end of the day
When people say love yourself
They use it so flippantly
But me not loving myself is what crippled me
Listen to me
You might not be able to see gravity
Or the wind but it’s there
So believe in energy because it flows where thought goes
And whatever you put your attention on grows
And you’ll be screaming with my woes
Till it’s just you with your woes
And you have to pick yourself up
Align
This is now your time

Please feel free to share”

 

[1] Deepak Chopra, Boundless Energy, Page 2

#chronicfatigue #recoveryourenergy #energy

 

 

 

 

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Learning to Visualise

p18_fast pictures with words smallThere are many ways to learn about visualising; here is the one I printed in Bridges to Success.  You can find the whole book here. Bridges to Success  – How to Transform Learning Difficulties, available in physical form or on Kindle at www.tiahl.org/booksandmaterials

Visualisation, a key tool for many aspects of learning. It involves seeing pictures as though projected on a screen.  The screen may be inside the head of the individual or just a few feet in front of them.  Visualisation is a key element to visual thinking.

Humans have the skill to visualise.  Almost everyone recognises their parents at just a few weeks old and, if a parent were to don a wig or hat, the child would probably cry.  So we know, even at this very young age, they are matching the picture in their memory (located in their occipital lobe) to what they see in front of them.

For most people these images go on all the time; young people often enjoy these images yet they can become overwhelming.  This happens if they are moving rapidly – at a similar speed to a computer game.  Or they may appear as multiple images – similar to watching many screens in a TV store.  The images may evoke scary memories or be appearing too close to the eyes of the individual.  The skill of tuning up the visual field can be learnt quickly and this puts the individual back in control.

If you don’t think you are a visual person, you may be struggling to hold onto images for long enough.  They may appear in a flash so you recognise what they are and can’t hold on to the image.

For example, think of your car or your parents’ car and you will know what colour it is.  Some people will have a perfect picture of the car.  However, don’t get into “picture envy” – you may have a perfect photo-like picture, a black and white shot, a cartoon or you may just know what it looks like – whichever you have is perfect for you.  Alternatively, you can “just pretend,” and for different images, you will find you have different experiences.  Think of your favourite sports team, for example, exactly what they are wearing when competing?  You will soon realise you can recall pictures.

Formation of visual images can be helped, however, by looking up to your inner screen.  Your mind’s eye is located between and slightly above your eyebrows.  The act of raising your eyes triggers the visual part of your brain.  This is useful because it helps you enter a relaxed state in which to picture things.  If you do this with your eyes closed, it may enhance the images you want to access.

Struggling to visualise is counterproductive.  The more you relax and withdraw from the sensory input of the world, the more easily images will form.

To begin, choose a place free from distractions and switch off your phone.  There is nothing more irritating than an image beginning to form and then being shattered by a disturbance.  I often find that images start to appear and then it is as if you can look deeper into them and they develop more detail.

Do not assume you’re doing something wrong because the instruction says differently. It’s your intuition you are accessing so work with what you get; it is an excellent sign that your intuition is communicating with you.

To prove to yourself that you can use your mind’s eye for visualisation, ask a friend to read this list to you, slowly at first and then progressively getting faster:

  • A bright red ball > A bright yellow square > An orange triangle > A table > A chair > A table and chairs > Your childhood home > Your first school > Your desk > Your teacher > Your child > Your partner > Your mother > Your great-great-grandmother > Your grandchild > Your least favourite place > The surface of Mars > the centre of the earth.

Very few people find this impossible – a bit challenging in places perhaps but the imagination will fill in the gaps.  In visualisation, active imagination acts as a vehicle for intuition.

Notice, too, whether your other senses come into play.  Do you smell your least favourite place – does your nose wrinkle with distaste?

I want you now to set up the best quality pictures possible by tuning up your mental geography.  Did you notice where the pictures were?  Whether they were still or moving?  Were they very close or too far away?  How was their brightness and clarity?  Think about tuning in a TV, you need to achieve:

  • still images, for example, like taking a freeze frame from a video
  • clear pictures – imagine changing the brightness and focus
  • the pictures need to be about three to five feet away, to the right or left, not too close nor too far away
  • if they are too small, imagine increasing their size, as you would increase the size of a picture on a computer.

Some very visual individuals may find it hard to keep the pictures still, either being stuck in videos running very fast, the images being too far away or the pictures flashing up for too short a time to be any use.  Relax, take a couple of deep breaths and imagine you are a tree with deep roots down into the ground.  They go all the way to the centre of the earth and spread out all around.  You are centred so nobody can knock you over.  Now you will find you have better control over your pictures and can get them to stay still.

Go back to the last exercise and check out your experience again, making all the adjustments you can for your own comfort.  Don’t worry if this doesn’t happen immediately, a little practice will bring great rewards; you are just tuning up your mental geography to be the best it can for you and with a little practice it will improve.

For the next exercise, I would like you to get more specific.

  • Eating an Apple: Sit comfortably. Now imagine that you are holding ripe green, juicy apple in your left hand.  Feel its weight, coolness and smooth roundness.  In your right hand, you hold a knife.  Peel the top of the apple.
  • Then cut yourself a slice. You will feel the juice oozing out and smell the aroma of freshly peeled apple.  As you take a bite, you realise it is a cooking apple, it is very sour and sharp.

This is an extract from Bridges to Success – How to Transform Learning Difficulties, available in physical form or on Kindle at www.tiahl.org/booksandmaterials

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Learning difficulties and being ungrounded

freddy smallIn short, being un-grounded is akin to driving a bus whilst sitting on the roof; exciting but not exactly effective!

As any school teacher would agree, learning is impossible without focus, concentration and creating an effective learning state.  What most schoolteachers will not know, however, is that the ability to “ground” oneself is a major contributor to learning difficulties, especially for a neurodivergent mind.  Though some people find it easy to be naturally grounded, others need to work at getting into that state.

A common expression, as you may have heard, is “being in a bit of a state”.  A state can be thought of as a snapshot of how you are at any particular time.  Most people can recall the state of being confused, overwhelmed, unable to focus, having too much stuff going on in or around your head.  In simple terms, this is an “un-grounded” state.  In fact, many SpLD symptoms are related to being ungrounded, some of which might sound familiar to you:

  • High levels of anxiety, fear, feeling unsafe at some level, regular stressful emotions, feeling nervous, manifesting that familiar “fight, flight or freeze symptom.”
  • Daydreaming, being in a daze or not really here, “spaced out”.
  • A racing mind – overloaded by thousands of thoughts, with too much going on in or above your head.
  • Finding it difficult to articulate thoughts, being unclear.
  • Arguing, yet unable to convey your argument clearly.
  • Lack of balance – clumsiness, lack of coordination, wobbly, losing core stability, walking on toes – like a “ Weeble” toy[i].

p74_weeble

  • Wriggling, being unable to relax, irritable, in perpetual motion, “uncomfortable in your own skin,” “ants in your pants.” Children’s feet might be in the air or up the side of chairs and are often anywhere but on the floor.
  • Heart palpitations.
  • Static shocks.
  • Confusion, forgetful, lack of focus and concentration.
  • Feeling sick or dizzy.
  • Hearing may range from poor to oversensitive.
  • Sight may be inconsistent, oversensitive and your mind’s eye stuck in uncontrollable fast moving videos, which compete for your attention.
  • Speech may falter, stutter, be inconsistent
  • Speech may revert to speaking very fast, in a childish manner or even in another voice
  • Lacking feelings and disliking being touched.
  • There is limited or no access to your internal dialogue (small warning voice in the head), leading to inappropriate behaviour and danger.
  • Some bodily systems may not seem to function well; the autonomic nervous system (bodily signals such as needing to drink water, stop eating or urinating) may be affected, your immune system or circulation.
  • Lack of coordination and strength, averse to sport
  • Children resorting to head banging
  • Behaving inappropriately whether physically, verbally and emotionally, possibly because of a lack of a developed internal dialogue.
  • Twitching or worse, symptoms that may develop into Tourette’s over a period of time
  • Flickering eyes, as they recall fast-moving videos.
  • Flapping about.
  • Laughing although things don’t seem funny.
  • Angry and in some cases completely overreacting to relatively minor things.

This is an extract from Bridges to Success – How to Transform Learning Difficulties, available in physical form or on Kindle at www.tiahl.org/booksandmaterials

[i] Weebles is a trademark for several lines of children’s roly-poly toys originating in Hasbro‘s Playskool division on July 23, 1971.  Shaped like eggs with a weight at the fat, or bottom end, they wobble when pushed, but never fall completely over.

 

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Improving handwriting

On the subject of writing, I have collected some diverse examples of things people do and simple ways they can improve their handwriting:

  • Some people prefer to write in capital letters – in business, this is taken as shouting. Some put capital letters in the middle of a word.
  • Some leave out the spaces between words.
  • People with poor handwriting may believe there is something wrong with their hand, arm, elbow, brain etc. and there is nothing that can be done.
  • Some write badly, consciously or unconsciously, to cover up bad spelling.
  • Children with poor literacy will copy, one letter at a time from the board in school. This is slow, they lose their place, make mistakes and get a stiff neck too.
  • In English, we have three sets of lettering; capitals, lower case and joined up. Different schools have different strategies about which to teach at what age.

p140_letter-animals_smallYoung children, who don’t develop the ability to visualise letters won’t know which way round they should be and may start to develop Dyslexic tendencies before the age of seven.  They can only do this because they haven’t learnt to visualise them the right way round and keep them still.  The lower case letters, p, q, b and d are all mirror images of exactly the same letter.  Lucky children grow out of it while others never do.  This really can’t be left to chance.

There are some interesting facts about capital letters worth considering, particularly so that you may understand more fully why some children, in fact, prefer capitals.  When young people read cartoon books, it is often not just for the pictures, but because the speech bubbles are often in capital letters.  Most keyboards are uppercase and many young people manage computers well.  Capital letters are more distinct than lower case and, if you suffer from letters moving or shaking on the page, no capital letters can turn around and make another letter.  Additionally, nearly half of them can flip around horizontally without causing problems e.g. A, H, I, X.  Others turn around in the vertical plane, for example B and C.  So even if the young person in question is in the habit of turning letters around, they would not notice the difference with these.  Some people prefer joined up writing because that gives the word more stability and joined up letters don’t turn around.  However, books aren’t normally written in joined up writing.  There are hundreds of fonts and some have the letters formed completely differently, e.g. a and a.  My strategy is to let people start, at least initially, with whatever form of writing they prefer, in order to help them gain confidence.

10.don't-slump_smallTo begin improving a child’s handwriting, first look at the physiology of the child.  If they are looking down, maybe collapsed on the desk, they will be in their emotions and internal dialogue, probably telling themselves “your handwriting is terrible”.  Confirming how bad they are at writing will create poor handwriting; we do like to be right!  Next help them learn this “magical” skill:

  • Hold up a card with good clear writing on it and ask the young person to copy down the words, without looking at the paper on which they’re writing.
  • You want it written exactly the same as on the card, not converted into their own handwriting. Once their brain gets what you are requesting, they will probably produce better handwriting than normal, even without looking at the paper!
  • This is an ideal skill to assist with copying down from the board and improving handwriting. It is fast, causes less stress and, with a little practice, should produce neat results.  I personally used this strategy all through school and University.  The non-writing hand can be used as a marker, moving down the page as the individual writes to keep lines even.  By copying what is seen, writing will dramatically improve.
  • The next step is to visualise a word and write it, again without looking at the paper. Prior to this, the individual needs to get grounded and be sitting still, so the words are seen clearly – slouching means images can’t be seen easily.  With practice and increased confidence, the individual should be able to look up and down as they wish, knowing where to find those words which are causing uncertainty.
  • You can, of course, add in some BrainGym[i] exercises such as lazy 8 or alphabet 8 to improve the fluency of writing and brain integration.
  • Remember: Look up. See the word.  Write it down.

If you struggle to get words on paper, but really know what you want to say, check what is actually happening.  Some people construct a sentence in their head, then realise that they can’t spell a few words, so make another sentence and discover another couple of words they can’t spell.  Doing this rapidly creates a “brain freeze” where you are unable to put any words on paper.  We had a post-graduate student explain that this is what used to happen before she learnt to spell visually.  Now she is a successful lecturer and her literacy difficulties belong to the past.  As your spelling and writing improves brain freezes will disappear too.

This is an extract from Bridges to Success – How to Transform Learning Difficulties, available in  physical form or on Kindle at www.tiahl.org/booksandmaterials

[i] Dennison, Paul E. and Gail E., Brain Gym, Edu-Kinesthetics Inc, 1992

 

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Special needs pupils being failed by the system ‘on verge of crisis’

For someone who works with bright, creative children and their families who think and learn in neurodivergent ways, the attached article is deeply saddening.

In summary:

  1. Children with special needs are being failed
  2. The system is “on the verge of crisis” as the demand for specialist support soars and even less money is available.
  3. Parents and the education system are funding hugely costly court cases, that the parents normally win, in order to secure some sort of provision.

It is time that mental imagery is taught in primary school, as is a vital part of all learning and should be included in any school curriculum, being the key to visual learning.  School are good at teaching visually but have not been trained in how children learn visually and what can go wrong :

  1. The great majority of these cases, (doubling this year), are about literacy and numeracy challenges.  This is often caused by the national insistence that there is only one way to teaching children literacy and numeracy, whereas those good at literacy are visualising words and those good at numeracy are visualising numbers, that the government refuses to acknowledge.
  2. The stress levels in families and school are high, compounding the challenges for children who feel unsafe in their daily learning environment.
  3. Homeschooling is on the increase, as the last resort for many parents.

For literacy challenges, children can be quickly and easily taught to visualise words, in minutes, not months, for numeracy the same is true for visualising numbers. For other neurodivergent skills, learning how to control mental images is a great benefit reducing much anxiety.

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2018/oct/22/special-needs-pupils-being-failed-by-system-on-verge-crisis?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

#guardian #neurodiversity # dyslexia #specialneeds #crisis #homeschooling #literacy #stress #government

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