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Simple advice for parents.

Wednesday, Nov. 30th 2016

If you suspect that your child may have learning difficulties or you have been told by their classroom teacher, it is important not to panic.

Many children will have some difficulties over time and it is important that you don’t make a big deal out of it. Chances are they will already feel left out or different and it is your job to make them feel at ease with these differences. Talk to them and ask how they feel about their learning experiences. Identify where they need help and be proactive to find a solution.

These days there are so many options and so many different ways of finding learning solutions. Often, children with learning difficulties require an ‘out-of-the-square’ approach to finding solutions that work for them.

Schools, though well-meaning, often don’t have the resources that are relevant to the specific needs of your child.

Effective coaching or tutoring must be tailored to the individual. This not only increases the chances of a successful learning outcome but can be the catalyst for increased self-belief and authentic confidence.

If you would like to know more about our Individualised Learning Programs and how they can benefit your child, give us a call to obtain your child’s Personal Learning Program.

Techniques to assist students with Learning Difficulties

Thursday, Nov. 24th 2016

Short of engaging the services of professional child development psychologists or having the resources to pair a child with a teacher aide one-to-one there are a number of ways to assist their identified learning difficulty. It is important to match supporting techniques to the child’s issue.

  • Create colour categorised timetables for older students to keep them organised
  • Visit an optometrist and purchase multiple pairs of glasses
  • Have their hearing tested to ensure they have no physical impairments
  • Talk to them and ask them to identify areas where they have trouble
  • Give them checklists for classes or subjects to keep them organised
  • If they have trouble with English read to them, with them, listen to them read and encourage them to do it on their own
  • If they have trouble with mathematics spend time with the basics, counting, grouping, times tables, adding, subtracting and counting in 2’s, 4’s, 6’s etc

Five funny Christmas books for kids.

Monday, Nov. 21st 2016

When our children were in Primary School, they all loved a book with a good serve of humour, and there is no time like Christmas to fill the house with laughter and joy. Here are our pick of the funny books for Christmas – laughing out loud guaranteed!

Pig the Elf by Aaron Blabey: If you haven’t met Pig the Pug, you are missing out. This is the funniest series of picture books ever – at least according to my four and eight year olds! The latest installment tells the story of what happens when Pig stays up all night to get his presents??!

The Naughtiest Reindeer by Nicki Greenberg: Rudolf is too ill to lead the sleigh and so his mischievous sister, Ruby, Will Ruby be on her best behaviour so the presents are delivered safely or will she bring chaos to Christmas?!!

The Naughtiest Reindeer Goes South by Nicki Greenberg: In a new Christmas misadventure, Ruby ends up far from home, in the company of some rather grumpy penguins and with the presents scattered all around the South Pole.

Christmas Wombat by Jackie French: We are big fans of the very funny Diary of a Wombat series and the Christmas edition has to be our absolute favourite. With wry humour the Wombat hitches a ride on Santa’s sleigh and thinks all of his Christmases have come at once.

The Knights Before Christmas by Joan Holub: A fun parody of the classic Twas the Night Before Christmas poem.

It’s a good start! 🙂

Dyslexia is not a disease, it’s about brain organisation

Thursday, Nov. 17th 2016

There are many misconceptions and distortions about dyslexia and what it means.

Dr. Martha Burns is an international expert on dyslexia and the neuroscience of learning. Dr Burns says “People with dyslexia have many strengths, they have many intellectual capabilities, it’s just that reading is not their strong suit, and some of the capacities that underlie reading, like phonological awareness is hard for them.

I had a wonderful professor who said we all have learning disabilities. We all have something we can’t do very well, whether it’s carry a tune or draw a picture or play sports. So rather than call it a disorder or a disability, if we think about it as a brain that’s organised differently, it gives a more positive approach to what we want to do about it and we stop using words like ‘cure’ or ‘fix’ and we use words like ‘intervene’.”

Dr. Burns’ theories can provide great relief for parents and children alike, as she reminds each of us, that our ‘weaknesses’, often hide our hidden talents and strengths.

It’s a timely reminder that we are ALL different. We are ALL capable of contributing to our world in equal measure. A label of ‘any’ kind, can often be a handbrake for success.

Assuming that we’re all talented and express our talents in a myriad of ways, can represent genuine freedom for many. Viva la difference!

Resilient kids

Monday, Oct. 24th 2016

Resilient kids are optimistic kids.

Parents play an important role in helping their children build resilience so that they can deal with friendship dramas and bounce back from disappointments.

The International Resilience Project led by Edith Grotberg in 1995 found that children who have positive attitudes are often more resilient. She defines resiliency in terms of three sources, which she labels I HAVE (social and interpersonal supports), I AM (inner strengths) and I CAN (interpersonal and problem solving skills).

You can help your child to be more resilient by encouraging them to have an optimistic approach to solving problems

I have

‘People around me I trust, and who love me no matter what’
‘People who set limits for me so I know when to stop before there is danger or trouble’
‘People who show me how to do things right by the way they do things’
‘People who want me to learn to do things on my own’
‘People who help me when I am sick, in danger or need to learn’

I am

‘A person people can like and love’
‘Glad to do nice things for others and show my concern’
‘Respectful of myself and others’
‘Willing to be responsible for what I do’
‘Sure things will be alright

I can

‘Talk to others about things that frighten or bother me’
‘Find ways to solve problems that I face’
‘Control myself when I feel like doing something not right or dangerous’
‘Figure out when it is a good time to talk to someone or to take action
(Reproduced from Grotberg, E. (1995))

Top Five Reasons Why Maths Is Important to Children

Wednesday, Sep. 7th 2016

Math is a basic skill in life and its applications are strewn all over the walks of life. Doing Math with seriousness is an important aspect of successful education and it needs planning right from one’s childhood. Below are the top 5 reasons why you need to teach Math to your kids.

1. Gathering problem solving skills – The “Problems” are the lifeline of Math. When students solve Math problems in its various branches, they gather abilities to organize information, rearrange the information and test hypotheses.

2. Learning to live smarter – There are various occasions in life where one has to use his mathematical abilities. Calculating the tip in a restaurant, checking the warranty of a product, smart driving without wasting time and fuel, buying grocery in a shop and business deals are occasions where one uses his mathematical knowledge to make proper decisions.

3. Gate keeper subject for other academic subjects – Math is the gateway for Science subjects like Physics and Engineering. Without Math abilities, accomplishment in higher studies is out of the question.

4. Wide scope for different careers- Right from computer programmers to tradesmen and doctors, people need mathematical knowledge in their respective fields. A fundamental knowledge in Math paves way for successful career prospects.

5. Proving smarter in work places – Math deals with analytical capabilities, structure and organizational skills. Any employer expects his employee to face challenging situations in the workplace with an analytical brain and give a solution to the situation. Math skills shape a person’s analytical abilities to a great extent.

Are you concerned about your child’s dyslexia or ADHD?

Wednesday, Aug. 24th 2016

Are you concerned about your child’s dyslexia or ADHD? Of course these learning disorders can be hard for them at school and in later life.

But don’t despair; there can be some positives.

Advances in brain science and other fields mean that dyslexia and ADHD are now much more responsive to treatment. Also, these conditions are often accompanied by a number of strengths that can set them apart from other students.

In many educational and medical settings, common learning problems such as attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder and dyslexia are viewed from a deficits model. Under this approach, an expert makes a diagnosis by assessing a person’s behaviour or thinking abilities. If the child has a deficit compared to typically developing individuals, he or she is given a diagnosis of ADHD or a learning disability, for example. While there are some historical and scientific reasons for approaching learning differences in this way, many patient advocates are calling for a move toward a “strengths-based” approach to understanding these conditions.

In recent years, the autism community has gained attention for a novel way of looking at autism spectrum disorders. Many individuals in the higher- functioning Asperger’s syndrome category embrace their diagnosis with pride. Calling themselves “Aspies,” these people say that they recognise their information processing differences but would not want to be “cured,” even if a successful treatment for autism spectrum disorders were available. Rather, the Aspies celebrate their learning differences and say that their different way of approaching the world has a lot to teach others.

Famous authors Agatha Christie and F. Scott Fitzgerald struggled with dyslexia. Richard Branson, billionaire founder of Virgin Airlines, has ADHD but put his strengths of creativity and curiosity to work as an entrepreneur. Looking at these role models (and many, many others) and taking a strengths- based perspective gives people living with these diagnoses a better opportunity to understand their own unique strengths and contributions. If you or your child has been diagnosed with ADD or dyslexia, what strengths do YOU notice?