Learning difficulties – what I learned about them

After talking about blogging and seminars etc, I thought it only appropriate to record my notes here from my most recent seminar.

I attended this one as host. One of our libraries hosted a seminar “When great minds don’t think alike” with Nadine Shome from Reminds. Nadine created a company that helps children with learning difficulties and speaks from experience with her own child, as well as years of research and practical experience in helping other children.

Why would it be of interest here on a blog about libraries? It might not be, but it could be of use to those librarians who may have dealings with people with this issue – young or old.

She described the disorders which are responsible for many learning disorders, which were dyslexia, ADHD, auditory processing and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). One of the things that really grabbed me was that they are amazingly interlinked. There are symptoms in common between the first three and ASD has elements of them all.

Her company looks at a range of things that need to be considered in order to meet the needs of a child with learning difficulties. These include, the diagnosis, medical requirements, home/lifestyle factors (which could include diet), treatments and ultimately school results.

She emphasised that before anything can be achieved academically, there are two massive hurdles that have to be overcome – Motivation and Memory. A lot of these children can achieve very successfully if they are motivated. As memory is also an issue for a lot of these children, this has to be improved if any of their learning is to take. There are many solutions for the former, but the only way to improve long term memory is repetition, repetition, repetition.

Amazingly, the best way to set up the brain for learning with this children is via activity: a jump rope or trampoline helps cognitive focus, singing uses both halves of the brain and even gaming consoles, like the Wii, which require timing and judgement can be used to the benefit of the child and their learning needs.

The transition from physical to mental is not easy. so she suggested a game that incorporates both, to start them on the road to the thinking side of things.

She also spoke briefly about concerns with regard to food additives and suggested the book “Fed up with food additives” and a number of sensory toys which can help children who need to move all the time.

So its given me plenty to think about it, hope it can help you too.