Before I go further from my last post, being grounded does NOT mean being sent to your bedroom for a period of time, it means being in your body, in the present and fully engaged; not drifting around reliving past experiences or panicking about the future. You are a physical person living in a physical world, yet you have the ability to “travel” away from your body in thoughts, daydreams, listening to stories, watching films/TV. Being ungrounded and out of your body has advantages for creativity, etc. but it can have negative effects on your physical health and learning abilities.
Before I explore further, I want to explain why you should be interested in connecting the dots between grounding and symptoms you see with specific learning difficulties.
- Being ungrounded creates a mixture of exceptional skills and debilitating symptoms – one is a reflection of the other.
- We can all be ungrounded from time to time, when stressed, getting out of an unpleasant experience, and maybe even exhibit superhuman skills.
- Being ungrounded enables us to create massive amounts of mental imagery (and sometimes auditory too) – ideal for problem-solving, design, etc. But out of control mental imagery destroys concentration and focus on the here and now and can easily trip students into sensory overload. I am sure you have all been told “easily distrated”, “can’t concentrate”.
- For fluent reading word recognition is necessary, that is only available when the student has developed their Word Form Area and are grounded. This then gives them access to seeing mental images of words, for word recognition and also spelling. Comprehension adds another layer of mental imagery to assist you in remembering what you have read.
- Mental arithmetic also needs to control the mental images of numbers.
- All of this confusion comes out in anxiety, fear, feeling unsafe in your own skin, a failure or stupid.
- Sensory Overload gives rise to many more symptoms like overwhelm, fear, panic, shutting down, supersensitive hearing (like being able to hear electricity running in the mains cables), not wanting to look at people, unstable on your feet, clumsy and uncoordinated.
To help them feel as safe as possible, they may disconnect from the world, gaze into outer space, reduce eye contact, close down their peripheral vision and even stop speaking.
Then we see various very familiar diagnoses being mentioned of Specific Learning Difficulties. So if this knowledge resonates with you, grounding is the first step and getting the child to get in control of their own pictures, even at a pre-verbal stage.
The 3rd post in this series will give you the simple tools to try out for yourself.
Do leave your comments below. This is a preview extract from my new book, “Misunderstood Greatness”. You can sign up for 2 free chapters here: www.empoweringlearning.co.uk