Transformational Breath Workshop

As you know I have been teaching those with overactive brains and anxiety how to calm them (see masterclass entitles breathing and ADHD). Now I would like to introduce Sophie Lefevre, creator of Breathe and Heal, who uses breathe differently.

She is super excited about my upcoming Conscious Connected Breathing workshop on 12th January because it will allow you to release the past on a physical level as well as on a mental and emotional one. With release comes LIGHTNESS and in that space of being light, we can create the best version of ourselves and feel a deeper CONNECTION to life.

We are always surprised that many people have never heard about Breathwork, yet when they experience it for themselves they wish they’d learnt it before.

When we start to breathe more fully, we bring vitality and health in our life. We also bring clarity and alignment with ourselves.

If you would like some of that and more, then come breathe with me in Kingston-upon-Thames on Sunday 12th January at 2.30pm.

It may be that you:
• Are craving time to set your intentions for 2020
• Have been thinking about aspects of your life you would like to transform
• Want to be more intentional so that your life flows better
• Need to take time for yourself to reboot and energise your body

Her upcoming Transformational Breath® workshop will give you the space to do all of that, and kick start 2020 with Clarity.

Transformational Breath® is a self-healing tool you can use any time to help you manage those moments where everything may seem too much.

This workshop will teach you a pattern of Conscious Breathing that is natural, safe and healthy which has been demonstrated to have many benefits, including increased energy, better immune response and increased ability to deal with stress in a healthy way.

In this 3-hours workshop, you will:
• Learn Transformational Breath® to take it home with you
• Set your most powerful intention for 2020
• Breathe into your intention and let it go to allow it to manifest
• Change your breathing pattern to enhance your Physical, Mental & Emotional as well as Spiritual Health

You will leave:
• Empowered
• Motivated
• Relaxed
• Light and Joyful
• Connected to yourself in a way you have never been before

And most of all you will leave with a tool you can practice at home to maintain a high level of Health and Clarity daily.

This technique is better understood when experienced. As the list of benefits is endless (yes it truly is!) she shortlisted some of her favourites:
• Physically, it stimulates the lymphatic system and allows the body to detoxify. Who wouldn’t want that after the end of year festivities?
• It activates your diaphragm which stimulates the functions of your organs.
• It oxygenates your blood cells and integrates unresolved emotions.
• Mentally & emotionally, it brings clarity and lightens you up.
• Spiritually, it gives you an enhanced awareness of who you are. It plugs you back to yourself.

She fell in love with this technique the first time She experienced it. She had no expectation, she didn’t have a clue what I was in for and it totally blew her away. Sharing breathwork has become her passion.

You can pay via, just £50, or do a bank transfer (please email for details).

She looks forward to welcoming you and teaching you the most powerful self-healing and empowering tool she has ever come across.

In the meantime, a msg from Sohpie Lefevre:  The end of 2019 comes with a sense of closure. I is sharing with you a little exercise that will help you clear 2019. It will only take a few minutes of your time and is well worth it.

–       Take a few minutes to write down all the things you want to let go of in 2019, all the people you want to forgive, all the stuff you want to release. No need to think much, just jot it down and let it flow!

–       Go outside, say “thank you” to your list and burn it (responsibly burn it ;-))

–       Then notice how you feel and smile

–       Now you’re ready to make 2020 your best year yet


#breathing #sophielefevre #transformationalbreath










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Changing views on Dyslexia

from thisThe APM Report below sheds some very interesting light on how people’s opinions are starting to change about reading instruction.  America Public Media (APM) Reports strive to raise awareness, trigger debate and prompt positive change via non-partisan, independent investigation and documentary journalism.

With the arrival of a new year and a new decade, I want to build on and respond to many of the points made about Dyslexia in this report and how this relates to the Empowering Learning approach. This is an offer to you to take a different perspective on Dyslexia, challenging the ideas of the old decades and setting our children free to learn in the way that best suits their skills.  Entitled Changing Dyslexia for a new decade, I have scheduled 9 free teleclasses at 8pm every Wednesday evening, for each specific topic, starting with:

  • Jan 8th: It is not phonics or word recognition, it is both
  • Jan 15th: Grounding and good breathing to reduce anxiety and create a learning state.
  • Jan 22nd: Developing visual skills for learning anything
  • Jan 29th: How best to support neurodivergent students in school
  • Feb 5th: Reading comprehension and languages with different structures
  • Feb 12th: Inefficient ways to teach word recognition
  • Feb 19th: Hearing problems, guessing words
  • Feb 26th: Spelling can’t be left out
  • March 6th: Open house.

Click here to obtain a full set of recordings.

To join these free teleseminars, just click below. There will be question time in each module and you will benefit from listening to them in their chronological order. Recordings will be available at a small cost.

If you want to get a preview of some of this material, take a look at The Elephants in the Classroom: uncovering every student’s natural power of mental imagery to enhance learning. To find out more, order your own copy here, or more than 10 copies here or on or

#empoweringlearning #APMReports #spelling #reading #dyslexiaforanewdecade #dyslexia #phonics #wordrecognition

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Learning differences should not lead to mental health challenges

How can we best serve our neurodivergent students, their families and schools?  How can we stop them drifting into mental health challenges?

Olive Hickmott is an Author, Trainer, Speaker and Forensic Learning Coach.  She has been an expert in how neurodivergent children best learn and it is not being taught as if they are neurotypical.  She is an international expert in how children learn visually and how neglecting these strengths contributes to Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, ADHD, Dyspraxia, Aspergers and Autism.  The most serious consequence is that many develop stress, anxiety, self-harm, are traumatised, bullied as they drift into a host of mental health symptoms.
Empowering Learning has skills to change this in primary school, and coaches to work alongside hard-pressed teachers and SENCOs, to minimise learning difficulties before children progress to senior school.  Learning differences should not lead to learning difficulties and tip into mental health issues. 
In 2020, she has the initiative to help primary schools with Neurodivergent Learning Coaches. If you want your child or school involved email
Come and listen to Olive Hickmott 9:30am, at The White Horse, Bourne End, HP1 2RH, for £10, a summary of her latest book, The Elephants in the Classroom plus unlimited coffee and biscuits.
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How can we best serve neurodivergent students, their families and schools?

p81 kids on pebblessmallWhat would it be like if every primary school had a Neurodivergent School Coach (NSC), who championed appropriate teaching and learning for neurodivergent students?

With the current growth of learning differences/difficulties, the existing solution of assessment and teaching neurodivergent students as if they are neurotypical is unsustainable.  This proposal is to teach students new skills, that match their learning preferences thus reducing the cost of SEN assessment and long-term support.

Why: Teachers are experts in teaching, Neurodivergent School Coaches are experts in how neurodivergent children learn and how they can best access lessons. Our understanding of neurodiversity is gathering pace and it is impossible for teachers to keep up, whilst dealing with the pressures of a school day. This is particularly true for primary schools, where missing appropriate techniques at a young age has a lifelong effect on every individual. This role would be in addition to the Senco role, that is largely focused on implementing government processes, procedures and dealing with a mountain of reactive tasks.

How: We are envisioning that each school would have the benefits of a part-time NSC who is a coach with expertise in how these students learn. Their role will be to teach children, parents and teachers the same skills for continuity in and out of school. They will run specific projects in the school to address the highest need, for example:

  • Identify and explore students’ strengths and enable staff to teach to these strengths
  • Ensure that even very young children are taught skills to improve concentration and left/right brain coordination (including good breathing, sleeping and grounding) and maximise their use of visual learning whilst releasing anxiety and stress to minimise the propensity of learning differences creating mental health problems.
  • Co-ordinate a mental imagery week in school, where we help students incorporate mental imagery in all their work and check their abilities to visualise words.
  • Teach to their strengths using mental imagery for literacy, numeracy and so much more.
  • Assist teachers and parents to  take a curious view of behavioural challenges
  • Learn from students and develop child-centred support for children in their reality, through the “right” questions.
  • Teach brain-based skills to students to, for example, reduce anxiety, increase confidence and develop a growth mindset.
  • Call out students getting things right. “A student who is appreciated will always do more than expected”.

Who: The NSC will have a real thirst for continually learning and implementing new skills, that fit every child, with an open mind, remembering that every child may think and learn differently.  As school budgets are currently stretched past breaking-point, we are looking for creative ways to fund this role, that in the long term will save so much money, anxiety, poor behaviour etc.


Making neurodiversity teaching and learning a priority will achieve the following:

  • Students understanding how they best think and learn and the factors that affect them
  • Students understanding how they can reduce their own anxiety
  • Reduced SEN costs
  • Better educated children
  • >95% reading and maths success in SATs by the completion of year 6
  • Minimum levels of anxiety by the completion of year 6
  • A legacy in school for future years, that is self-generating amongst students.

For a preview of this very different approach, take a look at this video about teaching literacy to dyslexic students.

We are looking for positive feedback to this proposal and mechanisms for moving it forward in 2020.

Olive Hickmott is an author, trainer and coach with a worldwide network of professionals with their own skills in addition to those gained through her Empowering Learning programmes.  Recently she sent out 100 free copies of her recent book “The Elephants in the Classroom” to primary schools throughout the country, funded by a birthday fundraiser.  You can still contribute at by clicking the link on the left-hand side of the page, as we move into fundraising for the NSCs.

You are encouraged to mail Olive at with your contributions to this project.

#neurodivergent #behaviour #anxiety #empoweruinglearning #neurotypical #schoolcoach #SEN


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Where SEN meets mental health challenges

MH1Recently I was asked to talk to some Hertfordshire teachers and Sencos about this topic, that was very well received. I summarised the content it in just 30 minutes in my on-line monthly webinar for Dyslexia, ADHD and neurodivergent questions.

The topics covered were:

  1. How SEN can develop into mental health challenges.
  2. The role of mental imagery in learning
  3. Some of the mysteries, contradictions and strengths of neurodiversity
  4. The connections with mental health
  5. The simple skills you and your child can learn.

Here is the link, for the recording:

To do a bit of pre-reading take a look at my recent book,  The Elephants in the Classroom.

This webinar is completely FREE but if you want to contribute to our fundraiser to supply complimentary copies of the Elephants in the Classroom to every primary school, in the UK, there is a link in the left-hand column of

When I published The Elephants in the Classroom, there was always going to be room for more elephants to pop up.  It seems that mouth breathing so stresses your body, it is behind much of the anxiety and need for grounding mentioned in  “The Elephants in the Classroom: uncovering every student’s natural power of mental imagery to enhance learning“. To find out more, order your own copy here, or more than 10 copies here or on or

#mentalhealth #theelephantsintheclassroom #ADHD #Dyslexia #hertfordshire

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Discover the Elephants in your Classroom

Elephants in the Classroom mockup 6Below is an Author Interview for my recent book that you will find interesting: Published in ANLP’s Rapport Magazine recently.

Lack of knowledge about how students learn visually contributes to many learning difficulties for neurodivergent thinkers.

You may have heard of the NLP Spelling Strategy. A premise of NLP is to try new ideas and if they don’t work, to explore why and develop them further. Empowering Learning expanded the use of mental imagery in the spelling strategy to apply to everyone struggling with literacy, including all those dyslexics who thought that they would never be able to spell or read.

Since then Olive Hickmott has made further discoveries to explain how mental imagery contributes to other neurodivergent ways of thinking and learning such as those seen in Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, Dyspraxia, ADHD, Asperger’s, sensory overload and autism.  She has recently published  The Elephants in the Classroom that talks directly to parents and teachers, providing a much-needed new perspective on the explosion of learning difficulties in our classrooms. You will learn simple skills to empower you and to make many aspects of learning more accessible, based on the student’s strengths.

Assessors, coaches, tutors, teachers, parents and Sencos/INCOs are all doing a great job in what is often the most trying of circumstances. There are increasing numbers of children diagnosed with special educational needs, more on the waiting list, with parents clamouring for assistance and at the same time reducing resources in all school activities.

But there is an Elephant in the Classroom, that everyone knows about but few people talk about –  not ‘connecting the dots’. This particular elephant could save you a lot of special needs budget and enable children with poor literacy, poor numeracy, poor concentration or sensory overload, to miraculously change when you understand more about their experience. These are the problems that hold students back from achieving what they want and may lead to them developing fear, anxiety and even mental health issues alongside extreme behaviour.

To their credit, schools are generally committed to multi-sensory teaching and learning but don’t explicitly know how students employ the critical skills of mental imagery – this is visual learning. Lack of knowledge about how students learn visually contributes to many learning difficulties for those neurodivergent thinkers and learners. Those unfortunate enough to struggle with these challenges are some of our most talented students, with tremendous unrecognised potential – a paradox that is the essence of this book. Mental imagery is a topic that is a natural skill for everyone. Without mental imagery we wouldn’t recognise our parents, find our way home or recognise our belongings, for example; life would be very complicated.

As you see in the diagram below, another couple of elephants run alongside mental imagery in our classroom:

  • Understanding and celebrating the strengths of neurodivergent thinkers and how they can be flipped to assist with challenges.
  • Feeling safe and grounded in your environment and comfortable in your own skin. Without these, mental imagery will not work effectively.


Once your mental images are under control, rather than controlling you, the whole world of learning opens up another dimension. Since publication, Olive has also explored how our breathing patterns can interfere with feeling safe and grounded – yet another elephant in the classroom.

Empowering LearningTM, focuses on the skills someone wants to learn, not the labels they have attached. This approach offers a functional breakdown, tailored to the individual, which avoids some of the downsides of focusing on generic labels. To best help struggling students, this book helps you to identify the specific symptom or function they find difficult, find the root cause and work from there – defined as Functional Learning. In the same way, medics are exploring functional medicine and neurologists are exploring functional neurology.

The Elephants in the Classroom joins the dots between gifts, mental imagery and behaviours, anxiety, sensory overload and trauma. Then it explains how to control your mental imagery to be an invaluable skill for all sorts of academic work.

Hundreds of thousands of children are growing up, plagued by poor literacy, poor numeracy, the inability to concentrate, sensory overload, lack of focus and other problems that hold them back. The Elephants in the Classroom explains how these students, often with gifted with exceptional creative skills, can learn to control their mental images to make learning so much easier. Visual learning skills can be explored by parents at any age and readily taught, especially in primary school. Slightly adjusting how we educate children will allow them to maximise their learning experience. Although mental imagery is a natural skill for everyone, its contribution to learning is often overlooked.

If you want to feel comfortable with the elephants in your classroom, do read The Elephants in the Classroom, available from Amazon and where we also have a special offer for bulk purchases.  Also, you can join where her blog gives any further updates. We are attempting to provide every primary school in the UK a FREE copy to assist them in teaching neurodivergent students. You can contribute to our no profit fundraiser (through at


Here is the original article as published in ANLP’s Rapport Magazine.

Author 64 Elephants Olive Hickmott 44


And from Professor Jonathan Glazzard, this review on Amazon

1 October 2019
This is an excellent book. It includes lots of practical advice for teachers and the content on mental imagery and neuroscience is really thought-provoking. Hickmott writes clearly and the book is accessible. The case studies illuminate the key points and bring the book to life. I will certainly use this book with my student teachers.


When I published The Elephants in the Classroom, there was always going to be room for more elephants to pop up.  It seems that mouth breathing so stresses your body, it is behind much of the anxiety and need for grounding mentioned in  “The Elephants in the Classroom: uncovering every student’s natural power of mental imagery to enhance learning“. To find out more, order your own copy here, or more than 10 copies here or on or





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Fighting Fit Conference in Leeds 9th-10th Nov

I am speaking at this conference on 10th November, I should be pleased to hear from you.

Fighting Fit is a not-for-profit programme for people who have come to
terms with their Parkinson’s diagnosis and who want to:
• Get specific information and signposting.
• Try exercise as medication.
• Make new connections and friendships.
• Develop a personal life plan.

Here are the details: Fighting Fit – Flyer Summer 2019 2 Up (4)

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