Sunday, 4 September 2011

Blogging

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 www.brainshift.co.uk . 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, www.toolsforlife.co.uk. You can also find details on www.brainshift.co.uk 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.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Yesterday I spent the day discussing the Listening Programme with the UK provider Alan Heath. Lots of schools use TLP but there is no write up on it. Teachers are too busy implementing it in their own school. However this fails to show the areas where it is implemented and the results they are getting.
Every time a new provider wants to implement the programme it is as if they are the first to do this . Some authorities are reluctant to take on anything new. However the use of the programme is widespread and all achieve results. Looking at ways now to show the numerous and diverse situations where the programme is already established. Need to provide information on location , results and point of contact. If all this info could be married together then the benefits of the programme would be self evident.
It is all very well wanting a mass study with strict adherence to scientific protocol but all that takes money. Money not available to teachers or individuals working with limited intake because they have insufficent students to yield matched test, control and placebo subjects. Needs to be a national study. However if you keep on taking students across the board and getting results then eventually interest in mass study will be generated. They cannot keep denying efficacy in the face of results that show it.
The question is 'Do we care enough to correlate results across the country demonstrating the benefits of the programme?' For me personally, this is a must.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

EASIE

EASIE stands for 'Exercise and Sound in Education'. It is backed by research funded by the General Teaching Council , Wales. By addressing child development in a fun, but structured way it enhances learning . It can be used by a whole class, from nursery up and with individuals with special needs who are older. Developmental progress can be tracked and seen to mirror improvements in the educational sphere. The earlier you intervene , the less input is needed and the sooner children benefit.
This programme addresses the needs of all the children. There will be those who need the course repeated to address the more severe difficulties and it will pin point difficulties in any specific area. I think it is very important to include all the children. Those with additional needs are easily recognisable as they progress up through the education system but without this, a good number of children of above average intelligence will be missed. They are bright enough to find compensatory strategies to achieve an end and so will not get flagged up as having a difficulty. However as they move up, these compensations sap them, such that although they may achieve an average grade, they fall short of their potential.
It is essential that these children are recognised. They are as important as those with a specific difficulty or label. We need to look at the brighter children. How many of them cannot hold a pencil correctly, are almost flat on the desk when writing a longer piece, are too close to the paper when reading, cannot follow or need repetition of instructions? These are just a few indicators. It may be thought that they never listen and cannot follow instructions. If the teacher is not boring the whole class, which is rare, can they tell the difference between sounds and so understand the spoken word correctly, first time and without effort?

I have tutored children for secondary entrance exams for over 20 years and have been into developmental work in a big way for the last 15. The child affected by developmental delay used to be rare but in the last few years it has been seen to affect more than a quarter of these students of above average potential. Only one in four of the total number can hold a pencil correctly. About half are slumped over the desk when writing and about the same number are far too close to the text when reading. The result for a lot is they are unable to work fast enough because of the problems, to achieve their end.

By bringing in a developmental programme for use with all the children a lot of these problems could be corrected before they even start on formal education. We have put money into education to address individual needs for those not succeeding, we have trained up excellent teachers and now we have to look at the child as a learner. The child is the one who does the learning and it would be better if they were developmentally ready to take on the task. We are failing those children of above average ability who will be earning the money for the country in the future and, the scheme to help them would also benefit the children with more severe needs.
If every child matters then we need to consider every child and a programme which addresses the needs of all, can be used across the board to do this. Makes sound economic sense.

These children have no voice or specific group to speak out for them but, it is vital to those with severe difficulties, that they get help. Some with severe difficulties will need support throughout their life and it is this neglected group who will have to provide the money for that long term support.

It may be thought that I am championing this group without thought or understanding of those with more severe difficulties but this is not the case. I am at present working on a study to show the benefits of a listening programme with those on the autistic spectrum and produced a published study on Down Syndrome with a colleague. I have shown in study, how programmes can help children underachieving with a variety of labels (warwick 2004). All children should have the best. No group is more worthy than another.