Neurodiversity Celebration Week – me too stories

March 15th-21st is Neurodiversity Celebration Week; please celebrate with people you know, their strengths and exceptional skills. It is time we acknowledge the unique contributions they all make.

According to the Department of Education, 15% of students in the United Kingdom have a learning difference. It is time to change the way schools, teachers and other students perceive us.

I tend to be concerned about the use of the word “superpowers”. Why, because although some of their strengths are extraordinary, many people feel that the gap between their current experience and a superpower is just too large. In addition people with these strengths tend to not value them, as they believe others can do these things too. However I always start by asking people about their strengths, it is good for their confidence to discuss what they can do and changes the frame away from what they struggle with. So we collect lots of stories of some amazing strengths.

During the course of the next week I will be laying out in daily blogs some of the exceptional strengths that I have found neurodivergent people have, complete with inspiration stories of their experiences. How many of these stories match your experiences, for example:

  • Visual thinking
  • Creativity, imagination and generation of new ideas
  • “Instagram” for the brain
  • Problem solving
  • Memory, collecting and connecting facts
  • Hyperfocus, drive and energy
  • Taking different perspectives
  • Seeing the bigger picture

I hope you will join me as we journey through Neurodivergent celebration week.

My name is Olive Hickmott; I would be pleased to support you in any way I can.
You are welcome to contact me olive@empoweringlearning.co.uk
Please register here to follow my blog at http://www.olivehickmott.co.uk
You will find other useful information at http://www.empoweringlearning.co.uk
My latest books are:
The Elephants in the Classroom: using every student’s natural power of mental Imagery to enhance learning: Neurodiversity through the lens of mental Imagery and
Bridges to Success – How to transform Learning Difficulties

#theelepahntsintheclassroom #neurodiversitycelebrationweek #empoweringlearning #olivehickmott #neurodivergent

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March 15th-21st is Neurodiversity Celebration Week

To have a learning difference has been one of the biggest challenges and exceptional opportunities in my life.  It has made me who I am; for example, creativity, out of the box thinking, seeing different perspectives, gaining unique insights, excellent problem-solving skills, drive and energy, thinking in pictures and being permanently curious. 

I am now proud to say I am neurodivergent, but actually, everyone is.  We are all unique people who have our own ways of thinking and learning that often don’t match the standard curriculum.  We need to celebrate this diversity.  Every team needs neurodiversity to come up with those unique solutions we need to solve today’s challenges.  When everything dear to me was falling apart during the lockdown, I asked myself the questions, “What can I do” rather than mourning what I can’t do. 

I took the opportunity to follow topics that interest me:

  • I joined courses at The New Leaf College and Future Learn
  • I taught at the Luton and Dunstable Recovery College
  • I created dozens of short videos on Youtube about thriving with neurodiversity
  • I have spoken at several local and international conferences – great, no travel!
  • I ran on-line community projects
  • I have improved my drawing skills.  It seems you can ask Youtube about any new skill you want, and it will have several suggestions. 

2020 has certainly been different and pushed me into areas I never considered. I am continually grateful for missing Covid and have now had my first jab.

March 15th-21st is Neurodiversity Celebration Week; please celebrate with people you know, their strengths and exceptional skills. It is time we acknowledge the unique contributions they all make.

My name is Olive Hickmott; I would be pleased to support you in any way I can.
You are welcome to contact me olive@empoweringlearning.co.uk
Please register here to follow my blog at http://www.olivehickmott.co.uk
You will find other useful information at http://www.empoweringlearning.co.uk
My latest books are:
The Elephants in the Classroom: using every student’s natural power of mental Imagery to enhance learning: Neurodiversity through the lens of mental Imagery.
Bridges to Success – How to transform Learning Difficulties

#theelepahntsintheclassroom #neurodiversityawarenessweek #empoweringlearning #olivehickmott #neurodivergent

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The Elephants in the Classroom is now available on Kindle

I am delighted to announce that The Elephants in the Classroom is now available on Kindle. After a delay due to Covid-19, it is now available here, complete with all the pictures.

Here are some of the testimonials:

“In this ‘upside down ‘world, Olive has revealed the scandal of thousands of talented children confined to a world of learning difficulties because they learn differently and do not have access to the simple life altering skill of mental imagery. Her groundbreaking book is the start of an educational revolution”. Dr Richard De Souza GP & Mental Coach

“A wonderful and easy book to read that gives you the tools to help your build on their confidence to learn the best way they can. I love it”.

“Read this book in no time, could not put it down and plan to re-read soon. Hopefully lots of parents and teachers/heads/TA’s and anyone else working in education in 2020’s will do the same”.

Professor Jonathan Glazzard5.0 out of 5 stars  Really great book Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 1 October 2019This 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.

My name is Olive Hickmott; I would be pleased to support you in any way I can.
You are welcome to contact me olive@empoweringlearning.co.uk
Please register here to follow my blog at http://www.olivehickmott.co.uk
You will find other useful information at http://www.empoweringlearning.co.uk
My latest books are:
The Elephants in the Classroom: using every student’s natural power of mental Imagery to enhance learning: Neurodiversity through the lens of mental Imagery.
Bridges to Success – How to transform Learning Difficulties

#theelepahntsintheclassroom #kindle #empoweringlearning #olivehickmott #neurodivergent #mentalimagery

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Breathing when wearing a mask

This is a post I recently received from Patrick Mckeown, the guy that I have learned so much from in the last 2 years about breathing.

Please find below the YouTube link to his webinar titled: How to breathe while wearing a face mask. Link to Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uRzk-dilOdU&t=218s

During this webinar, he discussed the following in relation to wearing a mask:

What causes the increased feeling of air hunger
Whether carbon dioxide reaches dangerously high levels
Why your blood oxygen saturation may drop while wearing a mask
How to breathe optimally to reduce the sensation of breathlessness
How to breathe optimally to improve blood oxygen saturation

He shared an article on the importance of nasal breathing for Covid19, along with a paper showing that breathing a rate of six breaths per minute improves blood oxygen saturation at altitude. Both articles can be accessed here:
Covid19: https://www.sciencedirect.com/…/pii/S1286457920300800…
How to breathe to improve the oxygen in the blood: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3495772/

Also, here is a recent study on the impact of mouth breathing on obstructive sleep apnea: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/lary.28774

#masks #breathing #patrickmckeown

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Has lockdown shone a light……

on how much your children are struggling with literacy or diagnosed Dyslexic and you want to find out how best to help them. I can assure you that many parents are feeling just like you and you may have little time available to make any progress.

There are simple ways you can help a creative imaginative child to improve their literacy and reduce all that misery you and they are feeling – teach them to visualise words. Their reading, spelling, handwriting and even their comprehension will improve in minutes and it will be fun.

You can quickly and easily find out how to help your child and set them on a different trajectory using their strengths. Take a look here

There is more details here in my YouTube video: https://youtu.be/njNx5v8vp4E

My name is Olive Hickmott; I would be pleased to support you in any way I can.
You are welcome to contact me olive@empoweringlearning.co.uk
Please register here to follow my blog at http://www.olivehickmott.co.uk
You will find other useful information at http://www.empoweringlearning.co.uk
My latest books are:
The Elephants in the Classroom: using every student’s natural power of mental Imagery to enhance learning: Neurodiversity through the lens of mental Imagery.
Bridges to Success – How to transform Learning Difficulties

#theelephantsintheclassroom # dyslexia #spelling #handwriting #comprehension #reading #lockdown

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A special for ADHD children who struggle with literacy

There are many highly creative imaginative children diagnosed with ADHD who are very anxious. The source of much anxiety is often literacy (or numeracy).

With so many parents home schooling at the moment I volunteered to run a zoom call, this coming Saturday 13th Feb at 10:30 to explain how to teach these children visually. Its fun and something completely different that they can use their superior visual skills for.

The zoom is for parents and if you want to bring your children along too, that is fine, but I want to teach the parents how easy literacy can be. In something like 30-40 mins you will understand the concept and be able to help your kids get started.

Here is the zoom link to register for this free session: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUucOuuqjksG9VGBGQfAgZe3h-nqPgYBXTf

My name is Olive Hickmott; I would be pleased to support you in any way I can.
You are welcome to contact me olive@empoweringlearning.co.uk
Please register here to follow my blog at http://www.olivehickmott.co.uk
You will find other useful information at http://www.empoweringlearning.co.uk
My latest books are:
The Elephants in the Classroom: using every student’s natural power of mental Imagery to enhance learning: Neurodiversity through the lens of mental Imagery.
Bridges to Success – How to transform Learning Difficulties

#ADHD #poorliteracy #Dyslexia

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Find out about the importance of sleep and how you can help your child to get a good night’s rest.

On Monday 8th Feb, Olive Hickmott will be talking about sleep, neurodiversity and why it’s so important to help your child to get a good night’s rest. This event has been organised by Flying Start Tuition. Get your tickets to this FREE EVENT here:https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/139284905903

Olive Hickmott has been a trailblazer for many years in the critical role of mental imagery in many learning differences. Her understanding of how to assist neurodivergent students is quite exceptional but remains little used in school. In the last few years she has added a wealth of experience into the effects that poor quality breathing and sleep has on these children, even for the very young. People tend to take sleep for granted but once you understand more you will realise it is not a waste of time, but a vital part of every 24 hours. Are you ready to learn new skills for you and your child?

At Flying Start, we have a different approach to tuition that incorporates a unique blend of traditional teaching skills, technology and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP). We don’t just teach our students what to learn, we teach them how to learn and we help them to develop the skills to become effective, confident learners. We call this our learn smarter approach. From laying strong foundations in the primary years, through to support with exams such as the Eleven Plus and GCSEs, our expert tuition will help your child to stand tall and fly high.

Some of Flying start’s tutors use Empowering Learning skills.

Olive Hickmott is a forensic health and learning coach, qualified in many complementary therapies.  Her books are available here.  You can find many health and learning success stories here.

#sleep #neurodiversity #flyingstart

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Join the Pre-school Mindfulness Summit

I am delighted to be speaking at this summit, that is full of interesting speakers and completely free of charge when you listen live.

Here is the link with all the details to sign up here for free.

My session title is “I wish I had known this when my children were Tiny“.

Parents say that my work makes so much sense, especially for neurodivergent students.   I have learned from older children and adults  about their experiences and extrapolated backwards to shine a light on the world of small children, who are often non-verbal. Talking to a child, you realise more about their experiences, but repair for years of upset is much more difficult in later life.  You can’t start again, this is where Empowering Learning’s experience is invaluable and parents can learn simple tools for themselves, startung when their children are tiny.

Here is the link with all the details to sign up here for free.

My name is Olive Hickmott
You are welcome to contact me olive@empoweringlearning.co.uk
Please register here to follow my blog at http://www.olivehickmott.co.uk
You will find other useful information at http://www.empoweringlearning.co.uk
My latest books are:
The Elephants in the Classroom: using every student’s natural power of mental Imagery to enhance learning: Neurodiversity through the lens of mental Imagery.
Bridges to Success – How to transform Learning Difficulties

#mindfulness #preschool #neurodivergent #mindbe

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“I wish I had known more when my child was little……”

………I could have saved so much pain for her and me.

Lovely Image seen on social media – thank you

Parents often say comments like this and this picture sums it up, for me. It isn’t until they get older that it becomes easier to see what is happening. Talking to your child, you realise more about your child’s experiences, but repair for years of upset is much more difficult in later life. But you can’t start again, so this is where my experience is invaluable.


I am a Forensic health and learning coach, author and trainer who is always searching for reasons behind the behaviour. In the last 20 years, I have come up with several “whys” that are key to understanding our exceptionally creative neurodivergent students. They are, in brief:

  1. Are you grounded, fully in your body? Gravity should be one of the first senses you experience after being born. But do you feel comfortable being grounded?
  2. What do you know about sleep? Newborn sleeping is often challenging but so vital to our development. Key aspects of both quality and quantity of sleep are freely available to the curious and is a lifelong skill.
  3. Breathing. Gentle nasal breathing reduces anxiety and oxygenates every cell in our body. Lack of brain oxygenation is a common ADHD symptom that generates hyperactivity. How are you and your child breathing?
  4. Mental Imagery. These are the pictures we hold in our head that are key to all learning. Those with Dyslexia/poor literacy have not developed mental images of words, essential for a language like English/American. Those with ADHD/ASD have most often uncontrolled mental imagery that is overwhelming; those with ASD would rather sit in a corner and shut out the world. There are simple skills for controlling mental imagery.
  5. Safety. Anxiety is overwhelming for these children and I always ask myself whether the anxiety caused the problems or whether the challenges caused the anxiety. Either way anxiety contributes to a significant lack of feeling safe. Negative emotions can jangle their energy and make them feel very uncomfortable. Add in sensitive people picking up other peoples’ energy and you have a perfect storm of sensory overload that results in meltdowns. I have learned a whole toolkit to help children and adults improve this.
  6. Strengths. These children have remarkable, typically highly visual, strengths but, in my experience, parents and teachers are often overwhelmed by the challenges and overlook their strengths. Learning from the experiences of older children and initially be inspired by Temple Grandin’s book, Thinking in Pictures, has enabled me to piece together this complicated jigsaw puzzle and give parents the skills to master these challenges for themselves. Items 1-5 above will allow these highly talented children to be happier, making excellent use of their visual strengths.

There is more details here in my YouTube video: https://youtu.be/njNx5v8vp4E

My name is Olive Hickmott; I would be pleased to support you in any way I can.
You are welcome to contact me olive@empoweringlearning.co.uk
Please register here to follow my blog at http://www.olivehickmott.co.uk
You will find other useful information at http://www.empoweringlearning.co.uk
My latest books are:
The Elephants in the Classroom: using every student’s natural power of mental Imagery to enhance learning: Neurodiversity through the lens of mental Imagery.
Bridges to Success – How to transform Learning Difficulties

#templegrandin #theelephantsintheclassroom #dyslexia #grounded #sleep #breathing #mentalimagery #safety #anxiety #strengths #energy #ADHD #ASD

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Empowering Health: Sleep-Breathe-Ground

Could Covid-19 have changed our attitude to health? Government asked us; no, forced us to take more responsibility for our health; to change our long-held beliefs that we can rely on someone else to fix us when we are sick. In the absence of a vaccination or approved medical treatment, experts told us to take more responsibility – wash our hands, wear a mask, keep our distance and abide by various restrictions.  We also had recommendations to take a daily walk. Most knew about exercise and a healthy diet, rich in vitamins, but did we reliably follow through on this?

Let’s introduce Sleep-breathe-ground:

Scientists also know more things we can do to support a healthy immune system, enabling us to ward off disease or recover from the after-effects. There are many reasons to assume that doing these things could help with Covid-19, and best of all, they are free. As time goes by, the evidence increases.  Let’s start with three critical topics:

Breathe: How do you breathe? Did you know that breathing in and out through your nose will clean the air and give every cell and organ in your body more oxygenation. Breathing gently down into our diaphragm will relieve anxiety, that causes so many mental health challenges.

Sleep: We all know how vital it is. Regular quality and quantity of sleep (8 hours for adults) not only improves your immunity but also increases the number of antibodies you can create after infection or vaccination.

Ground: Grounding, quite simply is connecting us with the earth, imagining you deeply rooted to the ground with every cell in your body, will do the trick. It will keep you calm and centred. Ground yourself for a happier, healthier lifestyle.

These three things are so crucial in helping to prevent infection and recovery. They are all simple skills to learn and will positively affect your wellbeing. Just putting your attention on Sleep-breathe-ground for a few minutes every day will improve your immune system, help you fight Coronavirus and recover from it more swiftly if you get it. Over the next few days/weeks, posts will appear at my blog to share more details. Do sign up so you don’t miss an installment.

We can all learn new skills to help us to take more responsibility for our own health. Look out for further episodes of this Empowering Health series, for example:

  • How can Sleep-breathe-grounding assist every child?
  • How can you add better sleep to your own personal health?
  • What is the connection between breathing and a hyperactive child?
  • How can meditations help you recover your energy after Covid.

Olive Hickmott is a forensic health and learning coach, qualified in many complementary therapies.  Her books are available here.  You can find many health and learning success stories here.

#immunity #immunesyetm #sleep #breathe #ground #sleep-breathe-ground #covid-19 #empoweringhealth

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