Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Make writing easier for children

Lots of children struggle with handwriting because it is tiring and sometimes even hurts. They cannot hold a pencil correctly or comfortably and they are slow and often untidy writers.

The palmar grasp reflex begins in the womb when the foetus  is about eleven weeks old, is present at birth and should be inhibited by between 3 and 6 months old. Most of us can recognise the palmar reflex because if we press a finger into the palm of  a baby, the baby grabs it and holds on. The purpose of this is thought to be historic perhaps, to help the baby cling  on to the mother in days gone by, for safety reasons.

There is a connection between the palmar and the sucking reflex for feeding, one stimulating a response in the other. Watch a baby feeding and see the hands moving.

Parents will recognise that time when the baby  is losing the palmar reflex in the first 3 - 6 months of life. This is when the baby starts that game of throwing something out of the pram for the parent to retrieve and hand back , for it to be dropped again. The infant is practising letting go of an object where previously it was held onto because of the grasp reflex. Having learnt to release an object the child can start to develop other more mature  hand movements , eventually perfecting the pincer movement for holding the pencil.

Those children retaining the palmar grasp reflex have difficulty holding the pencil. The hand wants to grasp but the child has to force it into a more open pincer type position.  Look around and you will see many different versions but forcing the hand into an awkward position when the palmar is retained takes energy and some children will hold the pencil very tightly and press down very hard when writing. Others will barely grip the pencil and it will be a very  light and feint touch on the paper. Twisting their hand into the  different positions can hurt . It can be tiring and they may be displeased with the results off their efforts.

Clenching a soft ball in the hand or stroking the palm of the hand at the base of the fingers, stimulating the palmar reflex, will help to integrate it.Once integrated the pincer group can be improved by activities such as threading beads on to a string, making pictures with pegs, pegging cards on to a line etc.

Gwyneth Jeyes
 Experienced Teacher,
 MEd Educational Psychology & Special needs (Nottingham)
 Neurodevelopmental practitioner- Primary Movement Teacher,
 Listening Trainer(Advanced brain),
 Education  & Sound in Education (EASIE)
 EASIE Teacher trainer     
                                        et al.

I left a successful secondary teaching career to raise my own family but was later persuaded to take up a position in a primary school. Being science and maths based I was interested to know what children had difficulties with, why and what could be done about it.  Having a dyslexic daughter acted as a spur. It was a steep learning curve to understand the connection between child development, learning and the brain connections.  Studying at my own expense I was lucky enough to find a school in my area willing to allow me to test different strategies with the children and the results were recorded in various studies. I was working at the leading edge of education and development and left the state system to continue  with  such investigations into learning.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015


Last blog published July 1st .

Personal circumstances have interrupted communications for a while but now up and running again and eager to progress with  spreading the word about  developmental help for children with difficulties.

All labels include an element of developmental delay so that should be addressed first  so difficulties that remain can be identified. It is more important than ever to address this in early years education because cognitive demands have increased. The child with developmental delay may struggle and lose confidence because they are not ready for academic demands.

Teaching is one side of learning but the developmental state of the child is the other. Failure to address the mismatch may be hidden for a time by continuous repetition  but will eventually show up as underachievement or academic failure, anxiety and distress. This will impact on the whole family as well as in school.

It is vital that those involved in education, particularly early years, are well informed on the connection between learning and development. Addressing developmental issues is more important in early education than any reference to cognitive skills and will yield better results long term and allow the children to enjoy  education and learning.

To help spread information Tools For life is sponsoring a one day event organised by The Developmental Practitioners Association. DALEEN SMITH  will be talking about the developmental eye - ear connection and will be making reference to labels such as autism. Children need eyes and ears functioning  at optimum level for learning. We need to know where the children are on this spectrum and how best to accommodate their needs to get the best results.

 GAYNOR Ralls will be updating us on the effectiveness of cold laser treatment for developmental delay, including autism.  Carol Mannion will be sharing her knowledge of movement for early  years Waldon Method et al.  The EASIE programme , with the initial teacher, researcher Brenda Lloyd,  will be on show to demonstrate  how easy it is to deliver the programme across whole classes, along with Pauline Allen (light and AIT)  and Janice Graham  (Rhythmic Movement)

Shared expertise helps everyone to help the children.

This event is on Saturday 22nd September  at  Holy Trinity  Centre, Newark on Trent 9.30- 4pm
Cost is £10  plus £6 for lunch.
Book via Gwyneth Jeyes  @

01636 673045   or


At this moment Nettl of Newark are updating my website so it is compatible with all screens including mobile.

 My website is there primarily to give information on developmental programmes which help children with learning. The children may have a label such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, ADHD, autistic spectrum , dyspraxia  or just be underachieving in school and unhappy. Developmental delay is a part of all labels and although  addressing this  is not a 'cure all' it is a starting point in helping reduce difficulties and adverse behaviours that may be affecting the children.

 EASIE is a programme for use in schools which can address developmental progress in a fun way with a whole class of children together. Learning readiness is vital for children in the school setting because learning is something children do  themselves. Teachers teach but children learn. We have good teachers but to get the best results for all, the children need to be developmentally ready for learning.

Primary Movement and  TLP or Listening training programme are two programmes which can be used with both children and adults, to great effect.

Adults can also benefit from input  because problems of children can run into adulthood and impede progress in later life.

Education in early years should not be about reading and writing until the children are developmentally ready for it. Asking children to take on cognition too early sets the children up for failure, lowers self esteem , reduces motivation  and produces unhappy children who underachieve. We need a change of attitude to change results rather than changes in curriculum and grading schemes.

Friday, 8 February 2013

EASIE training

March 15th all trainees  £75. Bring Yoga mat if required and wear comfortable clothing. All trainees will be accepted and confirmation and any other details will be sent out at the end of February.
Other details on website  under events but price is £75 for trainees on that day only.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Help for All Including Down Syndrome

I've used The listening Programme with lots of children with no label, underachieving or,with labels such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, Autism, ADHD, dyscalculia and Down Syndrome or other. I have used it with children from nursery upward to adults in senior years. It has helped all of those with an auditory difficulty  (not deafness). They can use it to improve ability to recognise sounds in words, to help them shut out  extraneous noise and improve concentration. When the perception of sounds is improved it is much easier to understand what is said and so remember it, it is quicker and requires less effort. If in school, improvements are soon noted and, the child then receives positive reinforcement for their efforts. This increases motivation and an upward spiral is created
In the work I did on Down Syndrome with Caroline Newton we found that  those in contact with the children, noted the improved communication, between children and peers in particular, following use of The Listening Programme. This is excellent as Oral communication is an essential tool needed for all in independent life.
Just recently I extended the work with Down Syndrome to accommodate a young woman, late twenties. The parents recorded the changes they saw. I could not really find suitable standardized tests for this lady so we continued anyway. and Mum wrote a diary.
The young lady enjoyed listening to the modified music over the ten week period. For the first 6 weeks no change was seen. Then she suddenly seemed much more confident. Her college tutor rang to say how pleased she was with the changes in communication with this lady (She did not know of the input of the programme). The young lady  had been a reluctant talker in a group and  there had been a new intake and, it was this young lady who was talking , guiding and generally helping the new members to settle in and take part in activities. Mother also noted how much better she was coping in other social settings too.
I have not got test scores to measure this, or matched test, control or placebo subjects, just a happier young woman getting on better with others and being able to communicate more successfully. This improvement has been matched across the age groups. The joy of this input for parents of younger children is that it is not difficult to put in because, they have enough to do already and, this young lady shows it is never too late to help.
Caroline and I keep adding to database of work with Down Syndrome and we keep getting the same positive responses. Oral communication is vital for The Down population, now going on to live independent lives. Let us give all the help we can.

Sunday, 4 September 2011


My main interest is in getting information to parents so they can help their own children. I get enough business by word of mouth such that I do not need to have a big publicity drive to get business. However I am still aware of the number of parents out there who need help and are not sure where to turn.
As Chairman of the Developmental Practitiooners' Association I have been involved with their website and updating . There are lots of programmes about to help children but, parents need to know what they are all about and which is best for them. For most children there is need of more than one input.
I train teachers for EASIE so they can put that in for early years children. All benefit and those children needing more will be higfhlighted in the checklist. Early intervention is best. Listening training and Primary Movement can come after that. Bi lateral integration , Brain gym and repatterning can be added in later if thought necessary.
Reading and spelling help, may be needed to make up the gap in learning caused by difficulty. Developmental programmes reduce learning difficulties but do not teach children.'Toe by Toe' is an excellent resource for teaching reading, a structured multi sensory approach. Violet Brand's 'Spelling made Easy' can help with spelling as can 'Word wand'. Lexia can be used to check understanding and Word Shark can add a bit of fun.
:ots of help out there

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is just one topic which will be covered at the Newark conference, for parents and professionals, on September 10th. Details can be found on the poster, under events, on my website, You can also find details on for the Developmental Practitioners Association. The conference is run on a 'not for profit' basis so you get good value for money.
There are two experts talking about attachment disorder from different perspectives and autism will be covered. A SENCO will share academic results for school students who have had input of developmental programmes alongside traditional teaching. The students involved are those statemented, have behavioural problems or other learning needs. A dentist will give an insight into sleep problems and how to help.
It is necessary to be aware of all the different inputs which can be employed to help a child because many children will need help in more than one area. They may be under medical care or working with another therapist. The important thing is for the child to get the help which will benefit them. Underlying developmental problems feature as a part of the problems for children with any of the many labels. Different inputs may not be a cure for any group but reduction of underlying problems can alleviate some of the suffering.