Dear Moms and Dads,
When your child falters it is tempting to blame the teacher.
Here’s what happened with the young boy I was helping overcome his learning difficulties and his attention difficulties in Grade 5 in Emerson Elementary (not the real name of the school).
The boy benefited in 2 ways
The boy was restless and did not have an easy time staying focused on his desk work.
The boy tapped his pen on his desktop.
The boy drummed his fingers on his desktop.
The boy drove the teacher “crazy.” Not to mention the other kids in the classroom.
Everybody blamed the boy.
Doc Meek to the “rescue”
I said we shouldn’t blame the boy. We should blame the disruptive sound of the tapping and drumming.
I said the boy needed something quiet to keep his left hand busy while he was trying to use his right hand to do his schoolwork.
I spoke with the boy and we “brilliantly” agreed that if he squeezed a soft rubber ball with his left hand, the active squeezing would help his right hand do the written work.
Boy drops the ball
Boy squeezes ball. Squeezing really helped his right hand do the schoolwork.
Boy drops ball. Ball bounces all over he place. Bouncing ball entertained everybody.
Except the teacher.
After the ball bounced ”brilliantly” the third time, she took the ball away from the boy and put it in her desk drawer.
So much for the “brilliant” ball solution.
Boy could not work without the ball
The parents blamed the teacher.
“Don’t drop the ball,” I “brilliantly” suggested.
“I can’t help it,” protested the boy.
“You’re smarter than I am,” I told the boy. “You solve it.”
Smart boy solves his own problem
The boy put his mind on it and came up with a truly brilliant solution.
He skewered the ball with a big needle and leather shoe lace and tied the ball to his belt.
Boy squeezed tethered ball.
Boy gets all his schoolwork done.
So how did the boy benefit in 2 ways?
(1) The boy got a “brilliant” suggestion from a learning specialist.
(2) When the “brilliant” suggestion did not work, the boy learned he could adapt outside suggestions inside his own head. He could adapt outside advice to his own use.
(3) The boy could show real brilliance in solving his own problems (and stop blaming himself and others for his lack of success).
OK, that’s 3 benefits.
Sincerely, Doc Meek
P.S. This same boy began to tap his right foot on the floor while he was trying to do his deskwork. The floor was hard tile. The foot tapping drove everybody “crazy.”
But that’s another story.
Doc Meek, Learning Specialist
Image from: 12rf.com
IMAGINING FRIENDS IN YOUR HEAD OVERCOMES LEARNING DIFFICULTIES
I had the privilege of helping a “little guy” in Grade One. He was struggling and struggling. He felt he would never be able to learn. He was way behind in arithmetic and reading.
I asked Sam (not his real name) if there was anything he liked about school.
Suddenly Sam brightened.
“I really like playing on the monkey bars at recess!” he said brightly.
“Are you good at it?” I encouraged.
“Oh yeah, I can climb better than the other kids.”
An imaginary climber in his head
“Sam, why don’t we pretend you have a little climber in your head that helps you climb monkey bars?”
Sam loved it. A friend in his head.
“Is your little climber that lives in your head a good climber?” I inquired.
“Oh yeah,” said Sam.
Climber and Adder and Reader Makes Three
“Which is easier for you, Sam… arithmetic or reading?”
“I know… and if you had to pick one, which would be easier?”
Sam frowned… then brightened and blurted out: “I can do adding!”
“Good! Let’s pretend you have a little guy in your head that helps you with adding.”
Sam liked that. Two friends in his head. Both good helpers.
“Hey!” I blurted out, “let’s pretend you have a little guy in your head that helps you with reading!”
“He’s not very good,” said Sam sadly.
A friend in need is a friend indeed
“Yeah… but he’s good two good friends to help him out… Climber and Adder, right?”
“I never thought of that,” said Sam thoughtfully.
“Why don’t we have Climber and Adder make friends with Reader!” I exclaimed. “Climber and Adder are really good helpers and maybe they can help Reader become a really good helper too! What do you think?”
Sam caught the vision at once and brightened considerably: “Hey, let’s have them all be good friends and help each other!”
Sam and his three friends (Climber, Adder and Reader) lived happily ever after.
Would it surprise you to learn that Reader became better and better and better and better?
- Doc Meek, Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA
Image from: 123rf.com
A LOW-COST READING BUDDY IS GOLDEN
Harold (not his real name) was brought into the learning clinic by his frustrated father, a single parent. “All I want to know,” said he, “is how it is possible for my boy to be in Grade 5 and still not reading properly?”
So began a somewhat tense discussion between the father and myself, a Neurological Learning Specialist at THE LEARNING CLINIC WORLDWIDE.
Different Brains Learn Different Ways
“Different brains learn in different ways,” I said to the father. “Some brains learn in very unusual ways, and the school system cannot keep up with all the variations, so they tend to teach in a few standard ways and many of the pupils learn to read using those few regular ways, and the rest tend to suffer.”
“So can you help my boy learn to read properly?” asked the father anxiously. “Most likely,” I said.
Harold attended the learning clinic for several Saturdays in a row, about an hour each Saturday. I asked the father to bring in tests of hearing and eyesight for Harold and they were normal.
Specialized Reading Strategies
I taught Harold various visualization strategies (drawing a quick rough outline of an object, such as a dog for example, and writing DOG right on the dog, not under it as a caption).
Then I said to the father, “We need Harold to be working with someone every single day for 10-15 minutes with various active learning strategies. An hour on Saturday with me won’t do the job. For one thing it’s too expensive and Harold will not make the needed progress unless he practices learning strategies daily.”
A Low-cost Learning Coach
I asked the father to find an inexpensive daily learning coach. “The lady next door? A Grade 11 student who could work with Harold every noon hour at school?”
“The learning coach does not need to have any professional credentials,” I emphasized.
“The only requirement for the learning coach is that they like Harold. ”
“And that Harold likes them. That’s it. ”
“I’ll teach the learning coach what to do, what simple learning strategies to practice each day with Harold, and you can bring Harold and his learning coach in to see me occasionally on Saturdays so we can see how things are going, OK?”
The father kept bringing Harold in every Saturday and said, “I can’t find anybody handy to work with Harold.”
“You’re wasting your money if you don’t get a daily learning coach to help,” I said, “and more to the point, Harold will not be making the progress he needs to make to be successful in school without a few minutes practice every day with the learning coach.”
An Older Student for a Learning Coach (“Reading Buddy”)
Finally, the father found a Grade 7 student to help. I was concerned the boys were only two grades apart. I was afraid they would just play around and not do any useful practice with reading.
I kept my concerns to myself.
Because the Grade 7 student was so close to Harold’s age, we decided to call him a “reading buddy” instead of a learning coach.
It was wonderful to watch this reading buddy work gently with Harold in practicing his daily learning strategies.
Now, with his daily practice in place for 15 minutes every noon hour at school, Harold’s reading skills began to soar!
The father was delighted and so was Harold!
Harold’s marks soared at school as well, and his teacher was so pleased.
The Reading Buddy Himself Struggled with Reading
I found out later that the Grade 7 student had reading problems and if I had known that I probably would not have been willing to let him act as Harold’s reading buddy.
It speaks volumes about being non-judgmental doesn’t it? The reading buddy was just far enough ahead of Harold to be of real value to him.
Because Harold’s reading buddy struggled so much with reading himself, he never ridiculed Harold about his struggles with reading.
Who would have guessed that such an unlikely pair would have made such a good reading pair?
The “take-home” lesson?
Low-cost reading buddies are worth their weight in gold!
Doc Meek, Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA
Image from: Photobucket.com
“Why is He Fighting All the Time?”
Blaine (not his real name) was always fighting in the schoolyard at his elementary school.
The school principal phoned his mother to say Blaine would be suspended if the fighting did not stop.
Finally Blaine’s mother brought him in to see a Neurological Learning Specialist at THE LEARNING CLINIC.
“Why is he fighting all the time?” the mother anguished.
“Can you help him to stop fighting?”
“What else is going on?” the specialist asked.
“He has struggled since grade one and gets poor marks,” said the mother.
She went on to say that his biggest problem was that he was now in grade four and still did not know how to read.
The learning specialist asked Blaine what he liked about school and the answer was “Nothing.”
“What are you good at?” “Nothing.”
“What do you like outside of school?”
Blaine brightened and said he loved to ski.
“Are you good at it?” “Pretty good.”
The mother confirmed that Blaine was, in fact, a top notch skier.
“I can beat my Dad down the hill!” he said.
Skier Photo from: 123rf.com
“Hey, way to go!” exclaimed the learning specialist, gently touching the right side of Blaine’s cranium.
Different Parts of the Brain in Charge of Different Skills
“Hey Blaine, wouldn’t it be great if you could read just like you ski down the mountain, smoothly and easily now?”
The learning specialist then played a game with Blaine, touching the left side of his head.
He had Blaine imagine the great skier in his head befriending the not so great reader in his head and teaching the reader part to learn to read “smooth as a skier going downhill in good snow.”
As the imaginary great skier in the right side of Blaine’s brain taught the imaginary reader part in the left side of Blaine’s brain, the reader gradually became “smooth as silk.”
Would it surprise you to learn that as Blaine learned to read well, his fighting stopped?
Doc Meek, Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada, Friday, January 24, 2014
Image from: Photobucket.com
LADY AQUAMARINE HIDES SECRET SHAME
By Dr. J. Collins (“Doc”) Meek
Once upon a time an undersea lady of noble blood pined to become a mortal. Finally, miraculously, her wish was granted. She became mortal and soon joined a women’s precision swim team.
No longer burdened with royal demands and expectations, Lady Aquamarine (now simply known as Andrea) entered upon her human adventure with great gusto. Her undersea swimming talents made for high success on the women’s precision swim team.
Still, mortality was a real challenge in many ways. This created moments in her life that were difficult and joyful, both.
She and her team rose to the top of their rank and were known and lauded far and wide.
But alas, the Aquamarine Lady had a painful secret. Very painful. Although she was lauded and loved by everyone, she covered her heart in shame within herself. She spoke to no one of her carefully guarded secret…
Life went on.
Image from: Photobucket.com
One day, she was talking with her mother (Lady Amelia of the North Sea) and told her that though she was highly successful as a precision swimmer (of course!), she was failing as a mortal because she could not read. Her mother reminded her that a return to her former undersea life was not possible.
“I Am So Ashamed”
“Why don’t you seek some way to learn to read?” her mother asked innocently. “Impossible!” exclaimed Andrea, thoroughly discouraged. “I’ve tried everything and nothing works. I’ll never be able to learn to read. I am so ashamed!”
“Better seek out the Old Man of the Sea,” her mother intoned and dove back into her accustomed watery domain.
The Old Man of the Sea was elusive.
Hope at Last
So Andrea asked her mortal friend Andilusia, “What can I possibly do?” Andilusia said, “I’ve heard there is a doctor who helps hopeless cases. The mothers love him because he gives them hope for their troubled children.
Andrea sought far and wide for this hopeful doctor. When she finally found him, she pleaded with him to help her learn to read. He asked her, “What is the one thing on earth you love most?”
Andrea immediately related her adventures as a precision team member. “I love the work and I love the team and I love the challenges.”
Then, for seemingly no reason, she blurted out, “But what I love the most is swimming in the aquamarine waters of the South Pacific islands!” She didn’t tell him this was in her former undersea life of course. She was afraid he would not believe her aquatic story.
The good doctor simply said. “Was it the warm waters that you loved?”
Aquamarine Hues Can Speak!
“Yes,” mused Andrea, “And mostly the incredible aquamarine hues!”
“You have no idea of the magnificence of the aquamarine hues,” she said, almost weeping.
“Well, it is obvious then,” said the good doctor, “we need to have those inspiring aquamarine hues teach you now to learn to read.”
“What!?” exclaimed Andrea, not willing to believe the good doctor knew that lovely-hued waters could talk with her as in her former undersea life.
“Here,” said the good doctor, “Look at these gel colored overlays that are used to cover spotlights in the world of dramatic productions, presentations and plays.”
“Oh,” blurted Andrea, “Sometimes they put spotlights on us when our precision swim team is performing, especially in the evenings.”
Andrea immediately sought out one of the technicians who operated the spotlights for the team. He showed her an array of gel colored overlays, and she quickly picked several that were an exact match with the aquamarine waters of her South Seas experiences.
Andrea placed one of the aquamarine gels over the first page in a book she longed to read.
The “Small Black Marks” on the Printed Page Now Made Sense!
And she could not believe her eyes! The normal blur of quaint black marks on the page now shimmered gently in a quiet sea. She noticed that some of the quaint black marks (now softened by one of the aquamarine colored overlays) seemed to speak to her softly, seemed to make more sense to her now.
“My love of precision swimming now gives me a love of reading that I never ever thought I could achieve!” she rejoiced.
She wept for joy.
With time, she learned individual words and phrases and loved to make sense of the whole sentence, then the whole paragraph and then the whole story.
And so, thanks to the colored overlays she was now using every day, she went merrily on her way! She got on with her life with great precision and great happiness.
Once thoroughly defeated, Lady Aquamarine now thoroughly defeats dyslexia.
J Collins Meek, Ph.D., shows children and adults how to defeat dyslexia, ADHD, and many different kinds of learning problems. He is in private practice in Edmonton, Alberta, CANADA. He is an expert at creating innovative protocols to help children and adults triumph over learning difficulties.
It’s nothing short of tragic that Kevin Hickling’s great work for special needs children at Ability Camp may come to an end!
As a Neurological Learning Specialist I know how good Kevin’s Conductive Education and Hyperbarics are!
Please help Kevin continue to rescue children and adults if you are able!
Location: Picton, Ontario, CANADA (about 2.5 hours east of Toronto, Ontario, CANADA)
(Picton is across Lake Ontario from Rochester, NY)
- Doc Meek, Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA, Thurs, Nov 7, 2013
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College Professor for teachers”Be ashamed to die before you have won some victory for humanity.” Horace Mann”There are two ways to live your life; one as if nothing is a miracle, and the other as if everything is a miracle.” Albert Einstein