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Today is World Book Day!
This is all very well, but to some children, a day like today can emphasize their difficulties in reading.
How can we help them, and how can we make sure that their confidence and self-esteem don’t suffer?
Let’s first take the pressure off. Children are under immense pressure to be reading at a certain level by a certain age. Often, this can lead to feelings of failure and inadequacy, and is not necessarily indicative of the way in which children develop at different rates.
Try and help a child develop a love of books by giving them ones with nice pictures in or ones with pictures of their favourite things. Go through the book with them and talk about what is in the pictures. If there are words in the book, read them to them. This helps to develop good listening skills and develops good auditory processing skills, which are essential for learning to read. In fact, reading books to your child has been shown in research to be one of the most valuable things you can do to help their reading.
Encourage your child to read aloud as his or her reading skills develop so it becomes easier to remember the words. Research suggests that the auditory feedback from reading a word out loud makes it easier to remember that word. The conversion of written into spoken words seems to be critical, hearing their own voice helps a child to remember the word they are learning. Fluency in reading is improved through reading aloud.
When children are clearly struggling with their reading or if they have a diagnosis e.g. autism, dyslexia, etc., there are lots of interventions that are available. Parents faced with the prospect of helping their children may feel overwhelmed. The best way to work out which intervention is going to be the most beneficial to your child is to have a discussion with the service providers.
Here at Smart Processing, I work on auditory processing skills as these are fundamental skills for reading, learning and language development. Contact me today to find out if I can be of help to your child.
It is business as usual here at Smart Processing. If you and/or your child/children are working from home, now is an ideal time to spend on improving your processing speed, auditory processing skills, reading and literary skills and English Language skills. Fast ForWord is cloud based and not affected by the current restrictions. The Movement Program is an on-line programme and The Listening Program is available as TLP On-Line streamed to your device daily. I am seeing in increase in enquiries from families now at home across the UK and Europe who see this as an ideal time to improve their skills. Contact me for further information.
As all the support that I offer is on-line and remote anyway, there is little extra I can to do to ensure that I am looking after you and your children’s health. I will however, be sending out Certificates of Completion via e-mail rather than sending one in the post with the associated risks.
As always I am at the other end of the ‘phone, on messenger or via e-mail to answer your questions.
Take care everyone and hope that you all keep safe and well.
Mental Health Week 2020
Here is an interview I did with Ife Thomas of Mind Workout for Mental Health Week 2020. A great week of interviews.
The Bercow Review 10 years on is launched today! An independent review of services for children with SLCN(Speech, Language and Communication Needs) with recommendations for government and system leaders on what needs to change.
This is a good article about the effects of slow processing on a child and how it creates anxiety Processing speed can be improved and the brain training exercises in Fast ForWord are excellent for speeding up the brain’s processing power. Training on Fast ForWord for a child with slow processing speed can be life changing and lead to huge improvements in their self-esteem as well as their ability to follow conversations and access the curriculum. The training needed involves 30minutes a day 5 days a week for around 12 weeks.
Contact me for further details about Fast ForWord.
Many parents who contact me report that their child has difficulty in paying attention and that they would like help to improve this so that their child can better access the curriculum.
Here is a great video from BrainFit Scholar who are based in Singapore and who are partners with Scientific Learning providing Fast ForWord in Singapore and the rest of the ASEAN Countries – Why paying attention is hard and what you can do about it – the solution includes Fast ForWord!
Children on the autistic spectrum can find the processing of sensory information a challenge. Research shows particularly that auditory processing can be a key factor. Auditory interventions have been used for a number of years and improvements in technology are now offering new ways of delivering sound stimulation programmes in the home to help with these underlying processing and integration difficulties.
Many children on the autistic spectrum have accompanying difficulties with auditory processing. These can take the form of, but are not limited to, challenges with: –
■ Sound sensitivities – hypersensitivity to sound can cause ‘fight or flight’ reactions meaning the system is constantly on alert.
■ Sound discrimination – Difficulties with the discrimination of phonemes or tone of voice can affect our comprehension of language and meaning.
■ Filtering out background sounds – Being able to tune out certain sounds and concentrate on others is a basic skill to aid concentration and processing.
■ Temporal processing – Understanding the timing and pattern of sound is vital to our understanding rhythm and language.
■ Auditory cohesion – A higher-level task helping us to understand the meaning and subtlety of communication.
The interaction of the different senses is now becoming more understood and accepted. It is known that we can use visual stimulus to affect auditory and other systems. Similarly auditory stimulus can be used to affect the integration of information of the auditory and other internal systems. It is perhaps more useful to talk about ‘sensory processing’ rather than ‘auditory processing’ alone. Individuals on the autistic spectrum can have hypo or hyper sensitivities to a range of stimulus. Many instinctively know what stimulus their system requires and self stimulate by rocking, humming, eating dirt and grass or covering their ears to avoid certain auditory stimulation. Sleep patterns, social skills, emotional outbursts and many other areas can be affected.
Sound Stimulation and Dr. Alfred Tomatis
The field of sound stimulation began in the 1950’s with the work of the French ENT specialist, Dr Alfred Tomatis. He recognised the importance sound plays in terms of the integration and development of our whole system. Developing the theory that different functions of the body relate to different sound frequency bands he worked with acoustically modified sound as a therapeutic tool to help many individuals with sensory processing, language and comprehension challenges.
The Listening Program®
In 1997 a multidisciplinary team began working to develop a sound stimulation programme using the most advanced acoustic techniques available. Drawn from the fields of neurodevelopment, music, medicine, speech and lan0067uage therapy, sound therapy and audio engineering, The Listening Program (TLP) Classic Kit was launched in 1999. Many autistic individuals have experienced gains in many areas since the launch of the Classic Kit. Improvements in sleep patterns, sound sensitivities, language development, social skills and attention have been seen amongst others.
The team behind TLP have continued to develop the field of sound stimulation and the new TLP Level One Kit offers advancements to particularly help with areas of sound discrimination, temporal processing and auditory attention.
The new advancements include recording in High Definition and the use of Spatial Surround™ sound with dynamic movement. This allows a listener to experience the highest available quality of sound in a 360° soundfield with individual instrument recording. This level of technology allows for gentle and powerful training of many of the auditory skills that autistic individuals find challenging.
One 6 year old autistic boy benefiting from TLP at present is Tom Sherlock.
Tom has been on the Son-Rise™ programme since the age of 3 and has made progress. He began TLP in June 2006 and also took a short course of TLP Bone Conduction for 2 weeks. He then began listening at home to TLP Level One which is an initial 10 week programme of listening. His Mum, Jackie, comments as follows: –
“Our six year old son Tom has now been listening to The Listening Programme for 8 months and we have seen some wonderful changes in him.
His interactive attention span is now much longer, he used to be very ‘flitty’ with tasks and games and is now much more attentive for longer periods of time.
This has also helped his ability to hold a conversation and we now have lengthy conversations about all kinds of topics, now he has such a huge appetite for knowledge that we have had to buy him a children’s encyclopaedia!
He has for the first time shown interest in reading and writing, which he was never motivated by before. He knows all his alphabet and is now reading words!
Also as a result of his listening we have discovered he has a fantastic memory and can relate names and stories that have been shared with him days and weeks before.
Tom enjoys his listening time and there is never a difficulty in encouraging Tom to do his listening and for us that speaks volumes. One thing we have learnt from Tom, is that he is our best teacher in terms of what is good and works for him and we know he is getting huge benefits from The Listening Program”.
With other autistic children improvements in sleep patterns and a more relaxed and calm attitude will be apparent. Improvements in eye contact and social skills, language awareness, attention and concentration are also often seen.
A huge benefit for a sound stimulation programme is that TLP is a home-based programme and can easily be combined with any other type of remediation programme. Of course, for many autistic individuals the possibility of listening to the programme in their own familiar surroundings is important.
TLP is only available through the network of trained Providers who are experienced in developing an individual listening schedule for the particular needs and sensitivities of the listener. A schedule of 15 – 30 minutes per day for 5 days each week is followed and a typical family will invest from around £350 in the programme itself. Providers will charge relatively low fees to help develop and monitor each programme of listening, keeping in regular touch throughout the process. More intensive bone conduction options are also available.
To learn more about The Listening Program, view case studies and research see www.thelisteningprogram.com
Alan is the UK trainer for The Listening Program®, an accredited Brain Gym® Instructor and NLP Practitioner. He works extensively in schools in the UK and internationally, training teachers in Auditory Processing, Accelerated Learning and Brain Gym. He is the author of ‘Beating Dyslexia A Natural Way’ published in 1997 and runs a consultancy service for children with a range of learning and sensory difficulties. More details of his work can be found at www.learning-solutions.co.uk
PHILADELPHIA — New research by a team of University of Pennsylvania psychologists is helping to overturn the dominant theory of how children learn their first words, suggesting that it occurs more in moments of insight than gradually through repeated exposure.
Autism Mum’s Review of ‘the Brain That Changes Itself’ – Australian Autism Handbook
The whole book is terrific, but it was Chapter 3: Redesigning the Brain that really captured my attention. This chapter focuses on research carried out at the University Of California in San Francisco (UCSF) around children with language and learning disorders. Professor Michael Mezernich and his team are the brains behind Fast ForWord, a plasticity-based children’s’ computer game that’s designed to improve auditory processing, attention and memory through a series of seven carefully targeted brain exercises. Although Fast ForWord was not specifically developed for children with autism, the researchers have found that many children on the spectrum also benefit from it, with the program not only alleviating their language issues but also helping them to become more connected socially.
This accidental finding encouraged Mezernich and his team to conduct research into ASDs. Their work thus far points to an overconnected but disorganised, hyperexcitable, hypersensitive brain (or specifically in this case a region of the brain called the auditory cortex).
And now to the best news of all: based on encouraging research in rats, where they found they could reverse brain changes they believe may be associated with autism, UCSF is currently developing a modified program to Fast ForWord, specifically for children with ASDs. Oh happy, happy day!
To read the full review see http://autism.janecurrypublishing.com.au/book-review-the-brain-that-changes-itself-by-norman-doidge