Learning to read seems simple enough. After all, how hard can it be to interpret those symbols on the page? For many, however, classroom reading instruction is the beginning of a lifetime of struggle, anxiety, embarrassment, shame and poor self esteem.
Immaturities in their early stages of development may cause some children to struggle in their early years at school. This often raises concerns that they have a learning difficulty or disorder.
Those who struggle to learn to read are generally considered to be dyslexic.
What is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is often used as a generic label for children who struggle with learning in a classroom. The standard definition of dyslexia includes those who:
- have reading difficulties,
- are of normal intelligence, and
- have participated in standard classroom reading instruction.
Children described as being dyslexic therefore have normal intelligence, but for a number of reasons, struggle with learning to read in a standard classroom.
Not Just Reading
Research shows that children with reading difficulties may also struggle in other areas of learning. This is often linked to underlying immaturities in their early sensory and motor development.
These difficulties may include :
- bringing thoughts to words
- listening and following spoken instructions
- clumsy or uncoordinated
- sensitive, easily stressed
- prone to motion sickness
- organisational skills
- study skills
- other everyday activities
Reading, therefore, is more than simply something that happens in the brain. It is also connected to the senses of balance, vision and hearing, as well as movement and muscle tone.
Intense tutoring and more instruction does not always help. Often, the issue is deeper than this and the classroom struggles that we see may only be the “tip of the iceberg”.
Holistic Approach to Healing
I offer a holistic approach to healing. As well as offering strategies for change, I will help you to look beneath the behaviours. Working together, we can address the “why” behind your child’s learning and behavioural challenges. The aim is lifelong growth and change.
Smart but Feeling Dumb
Failure in the classroom can easily hijack the early stages of a child’s school career. It doesn’t take long for children to realise that others are finding the learning much easier. Until developmental immaturities are identified and addressed, many children will continue to struggle, becoming increasingly behind.
“Smart but feeling dumb”, is the expression one of my students used to described herself. Your child with signs of dyslexia may become easily frustrated, or simply zone out in class. Ironically, they may be able to read perfectly well when given support in a calmer environment. Simply being with an emotionally regulated carer can calm their nervous system, making learning much easier.
Children need to feel safe in order to learn. For many, the classroom doesn’t feel safe. I know. I was one of those children. My preferred seat was at the back, against a wall. This is where I felt the least threatened.
- The first step to be successful in classroom learning is being able to feel safe in that environment. this comes from close and secure attachment to carers in your child’s early years.
- Being comfortable when sitting still helps a child to maintain focus.
- A well-developed sense of balance makes it easier for your child to take their focus away from the horizon, and move their eyes together across a page of writing.
- Good visual motor skills mean both eyes are able to converge and focus on a single point
- Each eye picks up slightly different images, and the brain has to put this information together and make it meaningful
- Good listening skills will help your child to “hear” and process the sounds and letter combinations
- Good posture helps your child to concentrate, and sit comfortably without moving or wriggling
- A well developed auditory memory will help your child link together series of sounds that form words
Building Foundations for Learning
Children develop in natural, pre-determined stages. Each new stage is built on the foundations of the earlier ones, a bit like building blocks. When one stage has been missed or is incomplete, the “stack” becomes unsteady, and your child will likely struggle to learn. The earliest of these stages of development happen during floor play and tummy time.
This is when your child is building the muscles necessary for being able to sit in the classroom and learn. They are also developing the hand-eye coordination they will need to be able to hold a pencil and write. At the same time their eyes and ears are learning to work together, connecting with their sense of balance, so they can sit still and concentrate.
We can help your child by addressing the immaturities, or filling in the gaps. The aim is to build the foundations for later learning in all areas – social, emotional, behavioural and physical, as well as in the classroom.
The Good News
The good news is that it is never too late. Addressing these underlying gaps can help your child in many ways beyond just reading and writing. Without the frustration of trying to keep up, they are able to relax in the classroom. As anxiety decreases, social and emotional learning develops, friendships become easier, and the children have fewer meltdowns.
I won’t label or diagnose your child, but I will help you to address the underlying “why” of their learning and behavioural challenges.
Addressing Signs of Dyslexia
I offer a non-invasive, drug free approach to supporting your child’s learning and behaviour. During the last 15 years I have seen many success stories, with children achieving at least as well as their peers, and often surpassing them. Identifying and addressing the “why” behind your child’s learning difficulties gives them the best chance of achieving to their potential, both in the classroom, and throughout life.
The first step is to meet with parents to learn more about your child’s early development. From here, we can discuss options. My role is to support both you and your child. It’s not unusual to find diagnoses of dyslexia affecting more than one generation in a family.
The aim is to support learning in all its forms, not just tomorrow in the classroom, but for life.
Before starting with me, Bobby was disorganised in class, behind with reading, and often getting onto trouble. Following a program of sensory motor development and integration, his teacher soon reported that he was more organised, and was able to get on with his work.
His parents noticed that “not only was he no longer being bullied, but after 14 months, Bobby’s reading had improved by three years”.
Bobby felt he was now reading better than many of the other children in his class. This and other success stories are available as Case Studies and Testimonials for you to read.
The First Step
The first step is to make an appointment for an initial parent consultation. This is a time set aside just for you, a safe place for you to talk about whatever is worrying you. We can talk about strategies and there is the option to support healing by delving more deeply into the “why” behind your child’s classroom and behavioural challenges.
It’s Never too Late
It’s never too late to help your child, but is is much easier when they are younger, before secondary issues of poor self esteem, anxiety, anger and frustration start to creep in.
My aim is to help you raise happy, healthy children, able to achieve to their potential, and find their place in the world.
If you are concerned that your child is struggling with learning to read, or has signs of dyslexia, and would like to learn more, call Rosalind on 0474 095 432