Brent Patoss – Mental Imagery and Dyslexia/ADHD

Inclusive Learning for London
Local Group for Special Needs
Continuing Professional Development Visualisation and Mental Imagery

Olive Hickmott
will give a talk on Mental Imagery and Dyslexia/ADHD 
Wednesday 22nd February – 7.0 – 9.0 pm

Most people realise that mental imagery is a vital part of everyones thinking and forms part of the learnng process. Wether you are trying to find your keys, navigate your way home, learning to play golf or being creative, having clear mental images are a real asset.

What is less widely known is the relationship between mental images, Dyslexia and ADHD. Dyslexics are usually good at mental images but do not always use them to support their learning- this is a skill those with good literacy do naturally.People with ADHD have too many images which is very distacting

Admission 6.45 pm
At: Institute of Contemporary Music Performance 1A Dyne Road, London NW6 7XG (Close to Kilburn High Road – round the corner from Brondesbury Overground Station)

#Empoweringlearning   #Patoss   #Dyslexia

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Learn how to #jumpstart literacy and numeracy

no-problem-studying-dec15_colour_smallEmpowering Learning™ is all about understanding the learners’ experiences, what makes for successful learning and establishing where learning can go wrong. Jumpstarting Literacy and Numeracy™  is one of a suite of programmes offered under this concept. #jumpstartingliteracy.

The next #JumpstartingLiteracy and Numeracy™ training programme is on-line starting on March 1st, weekly for 6 weeks.  I am delighted to deliver this live on-line and for some modules Sara Haboubi, our master trainer in Ireland, will be joining us before flying to the United Arab emirates, to share Jumpstarting there.

Look here for more information:

Look here for dates:

#jumpstartingliteracy   #empoweringlearning

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Thanks to Patoss- Barnet & Enfield

Many thanks to Patoss – Barnet and Enfield. Patoss is the Professional Association of Teachers of Students with Specific Learning Difficulties.   On Saturday 28th January I was invited to come and talk with this group.  It was really enjoyable and a great audience of about 50 teachers, Sencos and Patoss Assessors.

The content started off with some information about the recent initiative of Dept of Education, BDA, Dyslexia Action, Dyspraxia Foundation, Helen Arkell , MMU, Patoss. You can get more information here and a link through to these FREE on-line recordings and resources.  I spoke about how this connects really well with the work we do at Empowering Learning.

We then continued with topics from the #EmpoweringLearning #Jumpstartingliteracy and numeracy programme covering our strength based approach, neuroscience support, use of mental imagery, metacognition, etc and ended with a demonstration with someone from the audience. The talk was very well received and I look forward to working with many of the audience again.

On 22nd February I will bstrengthssmalle speaking at the Brent Patoss group, with a talk entitled “When mental imagery goes wrong with Dyslexia and ADHD”.  I do hope you can join us there. You can access some of the follow-up material here. 

#empoweringlearning  #jumpstartingliteracy #patoss-dyslexia





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Why do children reverse and transpose letters and words?

….because they can!

p140_letter-animals_smallOur highly visual children have no difficulty seeing objects from different angles. For instance they can picture a dog facing left, facing riIn most fonts b, d, p and q are exactly the same shapes. from the right, from on top and from underneath; fliping it around in seconds, in their mind’s eye. This is an exceptional visual skill, that maybe completely out of their conscious awareness. Someone who is less creative may struggle to achieve this.

When it comes to letters and words they just do the same;  b,d,p and q are all identical shapes in most fonts so they are easy to flip around.The more stressed they get trying to sort out a word the faster the letters are likely to flip. With practice they can flip whole words like saw and saw, no and on, etc and even start flipping letters in the middle of a word, all with the intention of trying to understand what they are reading.   The interesting thing is that if you ask a child to write in capitals flipping will not happen; B, D, P and Q are quite different.  So it is not that they don’t understand which letter to write it is that they have not got a still image in their mind’s eye to copy from.

The same thing can happen with numbers that get written backwards.

The Empowering Learning Jumpstartingliteracy and numeracy, can help you resolve this challenge is minutes.




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Teaching for Neurodiversity webinars

Teaching for Neurodiversity Train the Trainer sessions will now be available as a series of 3 FREE one-hour webinars taking place in January/February 2017.  The aim of these DfE funded webinars is to help teachers and tutors from primary to post-16 understand, identify and provide appropriate teaching and support to young people with dyslexia and other SpLDs. The sessions include:

Primary, Secondary and Post-16 dedicated webinars
Part 1: Seeing the whole picture webinar
Part 2: Understanding Neurodiversity webinar
Part 3: Classroom support strategies webinar

Each session is recorded and made available along with several resources and supported by the following organisations, with links to materials:

The Department for Education
The British Dyslexia Association
Dyslexia Action
The Dyspraxia Foundation
Helen Arkell
Manchester Metropolitan University.

The consortium have done a great job bringing to the attention of the wider public, many of the key messages promoted by Empowering Learning, and in a really teacher friendly format, for example:

  • Neurodiversity is better than labelling and includes strengths with challenges
  • Breaking labels down into functional skills and creating a student profile built on these functional skills.
  • Metacognition – one of the most impactful and cost effective interventions to explain aspects of how we think and remember
  • Identifying a whole spectrum of overlapping learning difficulties labels, which together with functional skills gets away from a bit of this and a bit of that
  • Looking at what is behind poor behaviour
  • Using positive language
  • Allowing time to think

We recommend that whether or not you have engaged with Empowering Learning, you take a look at these FREE materials and then return so we can show you how you can take the next steps for your students, children and yourself with our #jumpstartingliteracy and numeracy, #pathwaystolearning programmes or individual coaching. somebrains





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Christmas Greetings

Colorful snow

For you and those who matter to you in your life,
we hope you have a great Christmas 
 and a wonderful 2017
From Olive Hickmott
at Empowering Learning ( and the International Association of Health and Learning (
using your imagination to accelerate learning
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There are 3 things you can do with Dyslexia


You can give up on your child, notice they have a disability and maybe that it is shared with other family members and expect them to fail – nobody wants to see their child fail.

You can keep repeating the same old things time and again – they will be bored, you will be bored and as a child said to me recently “I have to read the same sentence about 10 times until I stand a chance of understanding it, a new word takes about 2 weeks to remember”. Its like pushing a large bolder up a hill and sometimes it even roles back again. Often parents spend much time battling the school for additional help but even if this is forthcoming, they may not get the results they want – a happy child who is eager to learn, enjoying literacy and numeracy. no-problem-studying-dec15_colour

You can empower yourself and learn a different way to teach your children. You will probably have noticed that they have some great strengths for imagination, creativity, construction (like building lego), games such as mindcraft, long term memory, etc. These are all done through their strengths of having good mental images, that are those picture you hold in your brain and find it easy to recall.  Once you start acknowledging these strengths and start building on them,  literacy and numeracy becomes easier and more enjoyable.

So which one would you prefer to spend your energy doing?  Parents on our current Jumpstarting Literacy and Numeracy programme, that is delivered on-line, across the world, are reporting comments like “my son suddenly started reading road signs and menus!”, “her anxiety has just faded away and she isn’t trying every diversionary tactic before starting homework, she just goes and gets her books and sits down ready to start”, and one little 6 year old said “this is so easy isn’t it cheating?”

Empowering yourself to truly understand why your very talented child is finding so many challenges, how you can help them quickly and what schools need to know about visual students, puts you in a much more powerful place. Learning the skills yourself, is about the same price as a weeks tuition for your child, but has lasting effects for the whole family, with no need for weekly tuition bills.

Our next programme starts on November 14th.  In just 7 x 1.5 hour sessions you can learn all the skills you need to help your child build on their strengths not just for spelling or reading but for a whole host of academic skills – handwriting, concentration, comprehension, summarising, maths, times tables etc.

For more details look at or call Olive Hickmott, Founder of Empowering Learning on +44-(0)7970-854388 or

Or Sara Haboubi, Joint developer of the programme and as seen recently on TV3 in Ireland,
+353 (0) 860-775452

Watch a short video from Sara at:


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