Sydney Dyslexia

A fine WordPress.com site


Leave a comment

Focus, Mindfulness and Learning

FOCUS – Are you with me?

Where are you?’ – Here.

‘What time is it?’ – Now.

‘Who are you?’ – This moment.

These are the words from the final scene of the movie ‘the Peaceful Warrior’. It seems so very simple to be here and focused and present. However, it is not so easy to achieve. Most people who claim to be focused and present most of the time are actually not. How often do you catch yourself thinking about something else, worrying or fantasising about a possible future event, or replaying a past memory? Where are you then? We want our children to pay attention – to be with it.

It starts with our own attention and being there 100 % in the moment with them.

Before I start to work with a child, or anyone for that matter, I always clear my own mind. I breathe deeply and focus on my breathing, I feel how the breath comes into my lungs but at the same time I picture how it flows energetically into my entire body, fills it up and lights up every cell in my body, then releasing all the emotions and toxins that my body doesn’t need with the out-breath. Breathing deeply in through the nose and out through the mouth is one of the first things I teach my clients, too. It’s releasing their tension and enables them to start paying attention. I cannot teach that unless I am living it too. Being there with your child in the present moment is magical, it already creates a bond and synchronises your brain waves.

I then teach them how to be in the body. They slow down, feel the ground under their feet and the soles of their feet where they touch the ground. They feel the chair under their bottom and where it touches their own backside. Does the back of the chair touch the spine? Where are the hands? Are they on their knees, or on the desk in front? Can they close their eyes and still see things? What you can see with your eyes closed can be either an image from memory, a fantasy or anything in between that your imagination conjures up. We call the place where these pictures are seen or created the ‘Mind’s Eye’.

The perfect state for working, for starting any task that requires full attention, is to be aligned in the present time, aware of the body and with the Mind’s Eye just behind and above the head. While you are reading this book or kindle or iPad, where would be the perfect spot for your mind to take in every single word and also the entire page of your book? That ‘viewing platform’ above and behind your head gives you the ideal vantage point. If you wore a witch’s hat or one of these cone-shaped party hats, the tip of it is usually also tilted back and could come very close to the spot where the Mind should find its place. The result of finding it, is great focus.

 

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Math Aliens come, I need you

 

MATH ALIENS, COME – I NEED YOU!

Declan, a sensitive, clever and gorgeous 8-year old client of mine inspired me to write this book. He had started off our three days together by writing: “MATHS ALIENS, I NEED YOU! COME NOW” in big red letters onto the white board. After a couple of days, he erased his message and wrote the words: “DON’T NEED TO COME AFTER ALL. THANKS!”

Not everybody has Maths aliens to call upon. Declan was happy that he didn’t need to rely on them any longer and that he had found that he gets it now.

Lauren is 15 and finds it really hard to read. A Dyslexic program improved her reading, but it is still a struggle and not enjoyable. It was the Maths program, another area of difficulty, where she really found a strength and instead of working at it, she now plays at it. On her last day of the program, I stared in amazement at a really complicated calculation which she had just finished successfully and correctly. She asked me if she can do one more, please! That, for me, is the reason I love these programs. Where else can you measure success as clearly on a logical as well as an emotional level?

Let’s start, with the help of Declan and Lauren, to discover how to release your child’s Maths genie from the bottle!

 

MATHEMATICS FOR DYSLEXIC STUDENTS and VISUAL LEARNERS

 

‘A mum is very worried as her 8-year old son is struggling in Maths and falling behind further every year. He is attending the local public school and they are trying as much as they can to help. When her friend suggests to put him into St. Mary’s, the local Catholic School instead, she hesitates, as they aren’t religious. But after her friend assures her that they have a wonderful way of teaching Maths and her own son is finding it really easy, she enrols her little Tom. After only one term, to her amazement, he has caught up and after a while, he tops the class. ‘Tom, what is your new school doing differently? How come you are now so good at Maths?’ Her son says that they don’t teach differently but that he is just working much harder. His mum wants to know why. He says: ‘You know, mum, when I first entered the new classroom and saw that man nailed to the plus-sign, I knew they meant business.’

 

Unfortunately, a lack of motivation is rarely the reason for a child’s struggle at Maths.

Many of my Dyslexic clients are challenged in Maths, not because they don’t have a ‘Maths brain’ or are lacking intelligence. Quite the opposite! They may even find that they get the most advanced Maths easier than the simple basic Math questions.

They need to be taught Maths in a different way – a way that makes sense to their visual or kinaesthetic learning style. As a problem with Maths doesn’t point any struggling child to a facilitator for Dyslexia, I won’t make this book into the Dyslexic’s Guidebook into the Maths Galaxy. It will help any child that has a creative, visual mind.

to be continued at next week’s blog…


Leave a comment

Philosophy at school

I have found this interesting, but almost more interesting that it hasn’t happened on a regular basis and on a broader scale? Isn’t that what life is all about, expressing, articulating, listening, allowing differing opinions, open minds and learning in that way social interactions that are probably not always happening on the home front.

Can only commend the principle of Malabar Public School for that initiative.

“They’re so much more articulate, you see it even when you’re having discussions outside philosophy, and you see it in their writing too, that ability to reason and the skills to back up their arguments,”

 

http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/philosophy-lessons-lead-to-better-behaviour-and-marks-in-sydney-school-20171005-gyusfj.html?utm_campaign=crowdfire&utm_content=crowdfire&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter#19321988-tw#1507752306356


Leave a comment

Inspiring Dyslexia talk

Dean Dragonier has done a great job talking about the gifts and challenges of dyslexia, with some startling statistics:

35 % of all dyslexic student’s don’t finish high school

50 % of all adolescents in alcohol or drug rehabilitation are dyslexics and

70 % of young delinquents in juvenile detention centers are dyslexic too.

I was, however, even more shocked when he tells about a study that apparently found that dyslexic individuals (anyone who cannot read and write) feel the same sense of shame as people who engaged in incest! Apart from the fact that this is a weird comparison, it is quite alarming that this is the case and that we allow this to happen to any individual.

Dean also talks about taking part in a ‘learning disability conference’ and the very impressive professors had a ‘simple’ solution to teach dyslexic learners by introducing them to ‘social-emotional learning executive functioning methodology’ – in short sequencing, time management and emotional intelligence.

Well, I think that sequencing and time management are valuable tools to learn and add, but I have rarely met individuals other than dyslexic ones who portray a higher level of emotional intelligence, empathy and social interaction skills.

I’m seriously wondering whose Emotional IQ is needing attention.


Leave a comment

Sydlexia – a Journey

You may remember that a lovely young South African has made a website for me, using my original website name ‘Sydney Dyslexia’ to combine the words to ‘SYDlexia’ (and having the S and D dance and shift across a smiley face, making it DYSlexia or SYDlexia). The site has other neat little features like a variety of colourful backgrounds and an origami option.

Some origami posters can be printed off for free and a video on my website explains how to fold it in a way that the word of the animal is showing after the project is finished, instead of the letters in scrambled order – hence a metaphor for dyslexia.

Well, that little website has been given more attention than I had ever thought possible. Firstly it won gold, silver and bronze metals first in Dubai, then at the New Show in New York and recently in Cannes at the IT awards. As a result I have been getting a couple of clients from Dubai and Singapore, had emails to ask for permission to use the website as a teaching tool at the Chinese University of Hongkong Shenzhen, to print off hundreds of these posters and enter them into ‘origami folding competitions’; I had enquiries from Germany, Italy, Spain and Japan to write about it in magazines, blogs and e-zines.

I am constantly amazed and in awe, and even if I don’t need any more clients, it gives me a pleasure to see that dyslexia is being seen in a more positive light, to serve as an educator rather than a facilitator.

www.sydlexia.com.au


Leave a comment

Insight tonight

Just watching ‘Insight’ tonight, where they show again a program from last year, that has clearly evoked many emotions. What astounded me most was the statistic that showed a staggering 44 % of Australian adults not able to reach a literacy level to fully participate in life. More than 600,000 Australians have reading levels below band one!

Do you know anyone like that? I’d be seriously interested to help.