Overcoming Learning Difficulties & Disabilities

Understanding the cause

It is estimated that 15% to 20% of students in every classroom are not achieving as well as they could. Some have been assessed as having Learning Difficulties (LD), Learning Disabilities, ADD, ADHD, Dyslexia while others have not been assessed but everyone knows they “should be doing better”, even if they are getting good passing grades.Part of the complexity of the problem is that a child can be struggling for a number of reasons. Some have undiagnosed problems with their eyes or ears, some are trying to focus when their little bodies are already well and truly overloaded with allergic irritation and most have underlying neurological immaturities that are slowing down their ability to receive and process information.

Looking at the whole child – Treatment Order

In order to treat, we must look at the whole child.

The pyramid of learning from the book Help Your Class to Learn shows the order of the stages for neurological development. Each is foundational for the following stage and must be in place for learning to be accomplished successfully and enjoyably.

We also need the right professional at the right time. If a child is poor at concentration we start at the bottom, the medical stage, and consult with a doctor and/or a chiropractor before we do anything else.
It should be remembered to focus on the causes not the symptoms of Learning Difficulties.

The importance of movement

Much preparation needs to occur before a child is ready for effective academic learning, and most of it occurs through the natural movements and play common to all children. First we learn to roll, then to creep on our tummies, then to rock on hands and knees, then to crawl – and all the time we are learning and preparing ourselves to learn. We are progressing through important developmental stages. Our muscles build strength and co-ordination, our eyes learn to focus and we become integrated and ready to take on more complex tasks such as learning to read and write.

But what if, for some reason, one or several of these developmental stages are missed? What if a child doesn’t spend enough time rolling or doesn’t crawl? What if a child reaches school age and they do not have all the building blocks of learning readiness in place?

The bad news is that these skills build on each other, and if a foundational skill is not acquired, the resulting ‘gap’ can compromise the entire learning structure. The child may struggle with expected age appropriate physical skills and the conduction of messages in the brain and the nervous system will usually be inefficient and slow, making academic learning more difficult. Many struggle to keep up with their peers and most do not achieve to the level of their natural capacity.

The good news is that these developmental stages can be addressed at any age. If a child is having difficulty at school, sometimes simply guiding them through these developmental milestones again (or perhaps for the first time) can help them fill in the missing gaps and become ready to learn academically.

Move to Learn has developed a simple movement program for exactly this purpose. It is designed to help children acquire the skills they need in the natural way and order that they were originally intended to be acquired – through movement.

The program requires little in terms of training, space or equipment and takes only 15 minutes a day, five days a week. It can be done with an individual, a small group or with a whole class, and statistically significant results have been seen to occur within 2 to 3 months.

This program is demonstrated on the Move to Learn DVD and outlined in Ten Gems for the Brain – the Move to Learn Movement sequences’.