Archive for the ‘Learning Difficulties’ Category
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Will avoiding food additives
help my child avoid ADHD or LD?
(ADHD = Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder; LD = Learning Disabilities)
A distraught mother brought her son to me one day.
“He’s driving himself and me crazy,” she said.
“In what ways?” I innocently asked.
“He can’t seem to stick to anything. He’s disorganized at home and he’s disorganized at school and he’s disorganized at sports. He’s disorganized everywhere.”
“What have you tried to do to help him?” I queried.
“Yelling at him doesn’t help,” says Mom.
Mom is right.
Moms are always right. (Even when they’re wrong, they’re right.)
Do food additives hurt us?
Of course. The real question is, “How much?”
The Mom said she’d heard that food additives can mess up the brain’s ability to think and organize.
“Is this true?” she asked, wringing her hands (as Moms sometimes will do when pressed to the wall).
“I don’t want to be a food policeman!” she blurted.
“Ya!” blurted her boy.
So what did I say to help Mom?
Here’s the answer:
It depends upon your individual child.
You know this.
“Why don’t you try and see what happens?” I suggested to Mom.
“Trust your gut instincts. Trust your Mom intuition,” I encouraged her.
“Ya!” blurted the boy.
She did. He did. They both began to settle down.
It isn’t a miracle.
It is just common sense to check out some things that are “getting to” your child.
Here is the first grand secret…
1. Your child is not a statistic.
Suppose an ADHD expert says that avoiding food additives is not the way to go:
“It helps only 5% of children with ADHD or LD (learning disabilities).”
A discouraging statistic, right?
What if your child is among that 5%?
Your child is not a statistic.
Here is the 2nd grand secret…
2. “Science” and “the research” are not about your child
“Science” and “research” have their own agenda.
What if “science” and “the research” show that that food additives do not harm us in any significant way.
Who funded the study?
Probably the people who manufacture the food additives.
Or their advocates or friends.
Or maybe the study was “objective” and “neutral?”
It doesn’t matter.
Either way, your individual child is what counts, not “science” and “the research.”
It’s about “what works” for your child, not what some third party says.
And here’s the 3rd grand secret…
3. You have to do more than just one thing to solve ADHD or LD (learning difficulties).
Yes, cut out the food additives if you can. Many of them are poison to the mind, regardless of whether they make ADHD or LD worse.
And then go onwards to check out all kinds of things (especially the “controversial” stuff).
Controversial simply means that strongly differing opinions are strongly held, regardless of the truth.Here are some possibilities for your individual child (see “what works”):
(a) Baroque Music (gentle; one beat per second approximately)
(b) Not rock music (unless the goal is to motivate the body to move more, to take “action,” to dance)
(c) Vigorous exercise–see previous blog post on this website:
(d) Behavioral training (there are some good practical programs out there)
(e) Love ‘em (even if they’re driving themselves and you crazy)
(f) “Passive” therapy (audio programs using headphones that the child wears while resting, sleeping, studying, or actively doing things)
(g) Prayer (it doesn’t matter whether you believe in a Supreme Being or not; prayer/meditation can be a humbling, calming experience)
(h) Your imagination (“Imagination trumps knowledge,” Einstein said, and he’s right)
(i) Your child’s imagination (you’d be pleasantly surprised!)
What a renowned expert ADHD MD said:
“There is only one proven way to treat ADHD: Ritalin.”
Myself and others have helped thousands of ADHD and LD sufferers to improve significantly without medication, and sometimes with a medley of effective efforts including medication.
One of these success stories could be your individual child.
Doc Meek, South Jordan, Utah, USA, Wed, Aug 13, 2014
P.S. If you want to read what a really sensible expert ADHD MD says:
Read Healing ADD by Dr Daniel Amen (and of course, he’s “controversial” and he’s also effective).
Dr Amen has helped thousands and thousands of Moms and children with ADHD and LD to better lives.
He identifies 7 different types of ADHD and recommends 7 different customized approaches, with a huge array of suggestions, including simple “do’s” and “don’t’s” that can be done at home, natural supplements, behavioral modification, and medication.
Exercise miracles outdoors/indoors
“Everybody” knows that exercise is good for you. And it takes effort so we don’t always make the effort.
My doctor friend tells me that vigorous physical movement is the best “pill” you can take! The “trick” is to find a way to make it somewhat enjoyable:
- get outdoors if that does it for you
- stay indoors if the weather doesn’t suit… or walk in the rain
- exercise to music
- make it a timeclock challenge is some way that pleases you
- make it an endurance challenge in some way that pleases you
- make it anyway that works
Set low goals?
My doctor friend says don’t set high goals and quit. Set low goals, so you will keep it up. Keep going and get to where you need/want to be:
- start low
- go slow
- and don’t stop!
He says that exercise helps almost “everything.” Almost any physical problem or illness or disease can be helped by using movement because it stimulates and vivifies so many body systems and subsystems.
The brain also works better
with vigorous physical movement
Allison Cameron was teaching in Park City, Saskatchewan, Canada. The students could not focus or concentrate on schoolwork and their low marks showed that.
A fitness expert friend of hers said he would put treadmills in her classroom.
This didn’t work for some of the students until Allison herself got on the treadmill for 20 minutes before starting class. Then even the most reluctant pupils got on board.
After 20 minutes on the treadmill, with the heart rate up in the “training zone,” the students were able to concentrate and focus for 2-3 hours.
Critics said Allison was wasting class time
Of course critics abound whenever anything different is tried.
Allison persisted because she felt that “wasting” 20 minutes was better than wasting the entire class period.
Besides, the pupils got more work done in the next 2-3 hours after they exercised vigorously for 20 minutes than they did before during the whole school day.
Allison delighted as pupils’ marks shot up
The critics slowed down when the pupils’ marks in reading and math shot up.
Previously all of the students had been failing miserably.
Good job Allison! Good job trusty students!
Doc Meek, Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada, Wed, June 18, 2014
P.S. Of course, not everybody can get treadmills in their classroom or their home.
Any vigorous movement, outdoors or in, equipment or no equipment, will help the brain to focus and concentrate for hours.
Maximum benefit to the brain occurs when the vigorous exercise lasts 20 minutes and the heart rate reaches up into the “training zone.”
For simplicity’s sake, let’s say that the heart rate “training zone” is a heart rate that is at least 50%-60% higher than the resting heart rate.
Any fitness expert can refine this statement with a chart by age.
Doc Meek, the “brain fitness” expert.
See previous articles on the
high value of exercise for
improving learning and marks:
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“Destroying False Evidence!” – Doc Meek
Children in school very early on make the culturally-induced mistake of thinking that their school marks and their report card marks are a measure of their intelligence.
This false perception proves to be a minor error for some children and a major life-crippling error for others. What?
Report cards can be life-crippling instruments?
Yes, because the children (and society at large) believe–falsely–that the report card is an accurate measure of the child’s intelligence. Or at least an accurate measure of the child’s effort. Or both.
Thus a poor report card reflects on the child in two negative ways. It is thought that the report card marks prove that the child is either smart or not smart, or is making a good effort or is not making a good effort.
Locked in like a death grip
How can a good report card mislead a child?
The stories of well-educated and smart people–on the basis of their school marks–who fail in the workplace and/or in life are legion.
Some children brought to see me at THE LEARNING CLINIC are so locked into the false evidence of the report card that these children—on the basis of their report cards from school—believe they are both stupid and lazy.
I am certain the school does not intend to teach children that they are stupid and/or lazy.
What is to be done?
Sometimes drastic measures are necessary to demonstrate dramatically to the child that there is a solid disconnect between a school report card and their own intelligence and effort.
One child brought to me (let’s call him Harold, not his real name) had spent the first 4 or 5 years in elementary school and still had not learned to read.
Harold’s report cards were abysmal. And Harold felt dismal.
Both stupid and lazy?
Harold felt—and knew it was true—he was both stupid and lazy.
Harold’s father—a very frustrated and very angry parent—thankfully was convinced that everybody was missing something important. He just didn’t know what it was.
Harold’s father said he had positive out-of-school evidence that Harold was very smart.
Harold could not see it. He was adamant that he was stupid and lazy. His report cards proved it. All D’s and F’s for years.
The father was equally adamant that there was a solution. He insisted that I find a way to “get to the bottom of this mess!”
Soaring and crashing
So the father found a reading buddy for Harold and I taught them both how to use specific strategies to overcome the worst aspects of Harold’s inability to read—his dyslexia as some would call it.
Dyslexia is just a label—a label for observed reading difficulties. There are as many different kinds of dyslexia as there are children.
Both Harold and Tom (not his real name) practiced a specific strategy faithfully together for 15 minutes every day and reported back to me on Saturdays. They would then continue that same strategy for another week, or learn a new strategy.
These strategies were of all kinds: intellectual, visual, auditory, emotional, kinesthetic, beliefs, etc. We used the whole body and the whole mind. All happy and hopeful strategies. (For detailed specifics, see The Gift of Dyslexia, by Ronald Davis.)
Harold loved it. He was succeeding for the first time at mental tasks.
All went reasonably well and Harold’s marks at school soared. Finally Harold’s work at school was going so well that the reading pair stopped reporting to me weekly.
This is usually a good sign.
Crashed and crushed
Then one day Harold and his father arrived at my office like a great wind.
Father was in high dudgeon and Harold was so hang-dog I was very concerned for him. He looked even more defeated than when I saw him the first time in my office.
“What’s the matter?” I ventured.
Dad shoved a report card into my hands. Harold had just brought it home from school the day before.
I glanced at it. Mostly D’s and F’s. I quickly set the report card aside.
Dad explained that he had gone to the school to complain. The school explained that it was a mathematical averaging thing. They explained that Harold’s recent good marks were mathematically overwhelmed by the multitude of bad marks previously. It was school policy to average marks over time.
You would think that someone might have had the courage (or simply the common sense) to ignore the bad past and put the present good into place on a suffering kid’s report card. It is, after all, just a piece of paper, right?
Sometimes it is imperative to ignore “standard policy” or “standard practice” and remember the first purpose of education is to serve the child, not worship some mathematical algorithm.
Drastic measures needed
I tried reasoning with Harold:
“But look, you and Tom practiced those reading strategies faithfully every day and you know you learned to read quite well. You know you were reading quite well! Your Dad knows it. Your teacher knows it. And I know it and you know it. Right?”
Harold was unmoved. Locked in total despair. The report card proved he was right–he was stupid and lazy, just like always.
I grabbed the report card, shook it in front of Harold’s face, and roared, “Who cares what they think! You know better!”
I stood up, tore the report card to pieces, and hurled the pieces into the far corner of the office.
Dad was startled (to say the least).
Harold was impressed!
The evidence was destroyed right in front of him
Report cards had been the bane of his existence ever since he had started school.
An instrument of torture, defeat and proof of stupidity.
All that evidence—gone to wrack and ruin in the far corner of my office.
The vital necessity of keeping hope alive (at all costs)
So Harold sent back to school with high hope in his heart, and with his confidence in the truth of report cards decimated forever.
Wouldn’t you know it? Harold continued to thrive in school.
Doc Meek, Learning Specialist
Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA, Fri, May 30, 2014
.EPILOGUE: A couple of days later, Dad arrived in my office alone, looking a little sheepish. “I need to sign that report card and take it back to the school,” he said. I was hoping he would aid and abet the demise of the report card, but he just couldn’t do it.
Fortunately the caretaker had not made his usual rounds to clean up my office.
So there we were in my office, a couple of guys gathering up pieces of report card, and scotch taping them back together like some weird puzzle.
Image from: 123rf.com
Image from: 123rf.com
Listen, what can be done about client failures?
We in the helping professions love to report our client successes.
It inspires the successful clients, the hopeful clients, our fellow helping professionals, and ourselves.
But what of client failures? No one wants to to report these. No one wants to hear about these.
Can failure be helpful?
I am remembering a young fellow (let’s call him Casey, not his real name) who came to me with a “hearing problem.” His anxious Mom brought him in because he was failing in school (Grade 3).
Casey’s hearing was perfect, so it turns out his problem wasn’t hearing, it was listening. Listening comprehension to be exact. Auditory comprehension to be more exact. This is treatable.
Casey self-described himself:
“I’m a poor listener.”
Casey felt it was a “fixed state” problem that he frustratingly had to live with, and created severe over-dependency upon his mother.
Passive listening therapy
It turns out that there are a number of protocols out there to help students who have trouble making sense out of what others are saying, even though they may have perfect hearing.
These listening protocols are relatively unknown, especially the easy passive listening therapies.
One of the possibilities is relatively inexpensive software designed for home use, such as Patricia and Rafaele Joudry’s Sound Therapy International products coming out of the original work of Dr. Alfred Tomatis. Link: http://www.soundtherapyinternational.com/v3/our-method.html
Treatment is a “piece of cake.” Put on a high quality set of earphones and listen without paying attention to the healing sounds, often embedded in music for more pleasant listening. The child or adult wearing the headphones can turn them to low volume and go about doing other things if they wish.
One university classroom in Montreal, Quebec, CANADA, had all of the students wearing the headphones during regular classes. Their mastery of subject matter and their marks went up significantly.
Another passive listening possibility
Another passive therapy choice is Advanced Brain Technologies “The Listening Program” for children and adults. One of the things they do is address issues with auditory processing, a very important brain/ear function. Their home-based programs are a tremendous help to students struggling with “hearing” issues.
Link to video: http://a.advancedbrain.com/tlp/the_listening_program.jsp
But Casey “disappeared”
I would have recommended a home-based passive listening program for Casey and it would have helped greatly. And restless Casey would not only have tolerated treatment well, he would have settled down in addition to being able to function properly in his school classroom.
But Casey never showed up again. Emails and phone messages left for his mother went unanswered.
This meant that Casey, without some form of good listening intervention, is sure to suffer endlessly in school and onward into his adult life.
Since effective passive listening programs are relatively unknown, the chances of Casey getting the help he so desperately needs are slim.
It broke my heart.
Where are you, Casey?
Doc Meek, Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA, May 17, 2014
Teddy Bear image from: 123rf.com
STOPPING BAD BEHAVIOR
(HEALING ANGER KINESTHETICALLY)
I suppose the best place to start is how to stop our own bad behavior. For example, if we are trying to stop someone’s outbursts of anger, it seems ludicrous to use our own anger in an attempt to do this. On the other hand, is there a place for anger?
And just what does controversial mean? At the most basic level, it means that opinions vary, sometimes very strongly.
So whose opinion gets to prevail? The biggest verbal bully? The most threatening to our health and welfare? What if our job is threatened?
A school example
(This will work at home as well, probably much better and much wiser, but only if an “outsider” does it, not the parent; the parent will probably not be able to withhold anger; some cultures have the “uncle” administer all “discipline” so as to preserve the parent’s gentler role and good relationship)
“Toughest” case I ever handled
I was called in one time to an inner-city elementary school because a Grade 6 boy was bullying other students on the playground at recess, at noon hour, and before and after school.
The principal and the teachers said he was unstoppable. They had tried “everything” and other students were suffering.
No “hands on” allowed
The teachers and all school staff were forbidden by school board policy to touch any student. Perhaps that is OK, I don’t know. All I know is that sometimes human touch is necessary to resolve violent human-touch issues.
I told the principal I would take the case if he would allow me to handle it my own way, without interference from him or any of the teachers or other staff.
Since the principal was totally defeated over this issue, he agreed.
Reluctantly. Of course. The man had wisdom and judgment.
Calm “stealth” approach
I approached this boy (let’s call him Brandon) at recess. He was leaning up against the outside brick wall of the school, with his back to the wall. He was facing the schoolyard at the side of the school.
I put my back against the wall beside him, and said sideways:
“Hi Brandon, I’m Doc Meek.”
“Brandon, I hear you are pushing other students around.”
He was only in Grade 6 but he was big enough to beat me up.
Slow and gentle “wrap up”
“Brandon, are you able to just stop it?”
Came the slow answer:
“I don’t think so.”
“Here, let me show you something,” I said, sliding softly in behind him and the brick wall.
The big teddy bear hug
I reached gently around him with my two hands and held his left wrist with my right hand and his right wrist with my left hand. No anger in me.
Putting my knees slowly into the back of his knees, we slid softly to the ground. Now we are both sitting, Brandon with his legs extended and me with my legs extended around him. I put my legs over his legs in front of him. No anger in me.
“OK Brandon, we are just going to sit here until you just stop it, OK?” No anger in me.
At this point Brandon decided he had had enough of this nonsense and decided to get up—tried very hard to get up in fact.
I held firm.
No anger in me. This was not my own child. I could be objective.
Since I had both of his wrists in my hands and both of his legs with my legs looped over his, he was completely “wrapped up,” thoroughly restricted in his efforts.
No anger in me
The best he could do was try to bang his head backwards against my face, but I dodged by arching my head backwards just out of reach.
No anger in me.
Now Brandon attempted to get really violent. To no avail.
I whispered in this ear (no anger in me):
“The toughest cases always turn out to be the best guys.”
And I whispered other “comforting” phrases which did not reduce his violence one bit.
But his brain was registering. And his back was registering my slow and measured breathing and the slow expansion and contraction of my rib cage. No anger in me.
The body registers kinesthetically
This will not work if anger is used.
I held him firm and whispered in his ear:
“I’ll let you go as soon as you decide to just stop it.”
And later: “Have you decided you can just stop it?”
His body was registering all along my quiet and measured breathing.
Brandon has “enough”
Finally Brandon decided he had enough and said:
“OK, I’ll just stop it.”
I instantly released him.
And he instantly began angrily swearing at me.
I instantly “wrapped him up” again and we sat quietly again with my back against the brick wall of the school.
I had to be really quick since he was not happy about me holding him.
No anger in me.
More time… more embedded “commands”
I kept whispering good stuff in his ear, from time to time.
Brandon tried the “OK, I’ll just stop it” several more times and I had to “wrap him up” again several more times.
We sat there in silence (Brandon had quit resisting my gentle but firm hold on him) until school let out for the day.
More time… silence
All the other students departed for home. No one bothered us sitting there at the side of the school. The principal went home, without even seeing us “perched” at the side of the school.
We “sat on” in silence. I was getting tired. And so was Brandon.
The janitor came out of the school and came around to the side where we were “perched.” He observed from a distance and went back inside.
We “sat on” until sundown. Measured breathing.
Brandon actually achieves “enough”
Finally Brandon announced (with real conviction):
“OK, I’ll just stop it.”
And he did.
Doc Meek, Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA, May 16, 2015
P.S. Another time, I was called into a Sunday School class to help with an “impossible” child. I “wrapped him up” in a gentle bear hug.
The parents and teachers were more trouble than the child.
We (child and I) only had to sit on the floor for an hour on this one.
Easier than than “all-day” Brandon.
Can Fish Oil Help My Struggling Child?
Parents often ask if fish oil can help their child struggling with learning difficulties. I like to tell them the “bigger story” from my colleague, a doctor of environmental medicine. Let’s call him Dr. Child.
Dr. Child says, “In general, any good nutrients that help the body can potentially help the brain as well.”
“Fish oil can be a good body and brain helper. Here is why.”
“The important component for the brain is the DHA in the fish oil.”
It’s the DHA we are looking for
DHA? Docosahexaenoic acid: an omega-3 fatty acid present in fish oils.
DHA can also be found in krill oil and is available from certain algae as well.
Dr. Child says that DHA (not necessarily the EPA) us the key to brain health.
EPA? Eicosapentaenoic acid: an omega-3 fatty acid present in fish oils; also good for you but it is not the quintessential component for brain health that DHA is.
Dr. Daniel Amen (his actual name) in his book “Healing ADD” says that you need a fairly high dose if DHA to be effective. To heal ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) requires at least 2,000 mg of DHA, plus other considerations.
It’s not enough to put the good stuff in;
we need to get the bad stuff out
Dr. Child reminds us that some fish and some fish oils are contaminated with mercury, and so we need to be alert to make sure the product we are choosing for our child is clean.
Dr. Child also reminds us that in addition to putting in good brain micronutrients, we need to test to see if existing levels of brain toxins (like mercury and lead) are present in the brain already, since “the bad stuff interferes with learning no matter how much good stuff you put in.”
Glutathione can help the brain heal
A gentle place to start in removal of heavy metals from the brain, says Dr. Child, is to use glutathione, since it is a substance the body is already using to help clean unwanted debris from human cells, and it is effective in cleaning out brain cells.
The glutathioine supplement must be the liquid liposomal form of glutathione however as regular glutathione is mostly destroyed in the digestive process.
Liposomal means that the glutathione is packaged in a lipid (fatty) molecule so that the glutathione has access to the cell at the cellular level.
Stronger measures may be needed
if mercury or lead levels are high
in the child’s brain
Extra measures should be supervised medically.
Environmental medicine have had good success removing mercury and lead using oral detoxifiers such as DMSA and EDTA, respectively, which chelate (bind to metals) and help to remove them from the body and brain.
DMSA? Dimercaptosuccinic acid: used to remove mercury and other heavy metals.
EDTA? Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid: used to remove lead and other heavy metals.
Dr. Child advises that IV (intravenous) chelation should be used only as a last resort. It is usually better to remove the heavy metals and other brain toxins slowly and gradually over time, using gentler oral detoxifiers.
Doc Meek, Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA, May 13, 2014
Image credit: www.123rf.com
“Smog” we know, but
Our modern culture has come to know that we have to watch for biohazards in our food and drink. We have also learned that if airborne contaminants become too concentrated we can suffer from health-hazardous smog when we breathe.
Apparently the word “smog” was invented to denote a bad combination of smoke and fog.
The word “electrosmog” is a non-sequitur because it cannot possibly denote a bad combination of electromagnetic radiation (EMR), smoke, and fog.
However, “electrosmog” does connote a bad combination of EMR (electromagnetic radiation) and the human brain.
The “smog” part of the word “electrosmog” conjures up in our minds a serious biohazard.
And EMR (electromagnetic radiation) is definitely a biohazard.
EMR is especially hazardous to the human brain, especially the student brain, the learning brain.
However, no one wants to talk about it, it seems.
The wife of a friend of mine says that it is OK to talk about biochemical hazards and toxic chemicals because we are all familiar with the territory, but talking about the effects of electricity being hazardous (aside from being shocked of course) is “weird.”
“Leave it alone,” she advises.
Enter Environmental Medicine
A colleague of mine, an MD with a Board-Certified specialty in Environmental Medicine, related a tough case he faced recently.
A teenage boy (let’s call him Harold) was brought in by his parents because he had changed from being a successful outgoing high school student into a paranoid psychotic psychiatric case in the course of only a few months.
Harold had been placed on several prescribed drugs in an attempt to control his symptoms, and was now not only “zombied out” on this drug cocktail, but was still paranoid, psychotic, socially isolated, and hostile when approached in his bedroom “hideout.”
Harold was no longer able to attend school, and his psychiatrist pronounced a dismal prognosis: Harold was likely a permanent psychiatric case and would have to be on drugs for the rest of his life.
Alarmed, the parents felt that “something” had caused Harold’s decline and they were determined to ferret out the cause.
The environmental medicine specialist tested for “everything under the sun” and could find no cause in relation to possible toxins in Harold’s food, water, or air. Neither could the doctor find any nutrient or micronutrient deficiencies in Harold’s body or brain.
Aside from the prescribed drugs, Harold was found to be free of toxins and deficiencies. All the biological and biochemical tests came back in the normal range.
What about EMR (electromagnetic radiation)?
The doctor knew from previous experience that electronic equipment of all kinds can be a cause of brain malfunction, so all of the computers, cell phones, cordless phones, video games, etc., were cleared out of Harold’s bedroom and placed in a separate study room, far removed from the bedroom.
And Harold’s time with all of this electronic equipment was limited so his brain would have a chance to heal.
Mystified, the good doctor took his EMR-detection equipment to the boy’s home and scanned the bedroom. Nothing. All of the electronics had been removed, so theoretically, no EMR. Right?
Suddenly, at the head of the bed, right where Harold’s head would rest on his pillow at night, or whenever he napped throughout the day, the EMR metre shot sky high.
But there was nothing there. No electronics. No electrical equipment of any kind. Not even a clock radio.
It took quite awhile to figure out that just outside the bedroom wall where Harold’s head rested fitfully every night was the heavy-duty main mast and conduit for all of the electricity that entered the house from the power pole nearby in the alley.
EMR to the max.
No one had suspected of course.
Harold’s Brain is Moved Away from the EMR Danger
Harold’s bed was placed in the spare bedroom, far removed from the main electric power mast against the outside of the house, and far removed from all of the electronics in the study room.
Would it surprise you to learn that Harold quickly began to return to the boy he once was?
Off his heavy-duty psychiatric drugs now, Harold once again became the successful and outgoing student he was before he began to sleep in the bed with his head next to the power mast on the outside of his bedroom wall.
Sometimes professionals have to act more like Sherlock Holmes–the brilliant and famous detective—than to stay within their usual selves in their own areas of expertise.
Doc Meek, Neurological Learning Specialist, Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA, Wed, May 7, 2014
I’ve been asked to republish my June 16, 2010 article on WorkShop Way, one of the best ways to truly educate children. WorkShop Way is a sensitive and sensible combination of specificity, structure, and genuine caring for–and about–students (and teachers and parents!). - Doc Meek
Photos from WorkShop Way (TM).
We’ve been blogging about changing the world, or changing the world by changing ourselves.
Many have suggested that instead of the focus being on changing the world or changing ourselves, the focus should be on LOVE.
We are not talking about the popular culture version of love here. We’re certainly not talking about sensual love. We are talking “filios,” “brotherly love” or “sisterly love.”
We are talking about simply caring about others (say, children and students) in a genuine personal way, no matter what their academic performance is, no matter what their behavior is.
This is not easy. We do have to learn to love and respect ourselves first, completely, with our combination of strengths and weaknesses, as we learn to love students completely with their combination of strengths and weaknesses.
If love and respect are performance-based, if love and respect are conditional, they don’t work very well. Not safe. Not secure. No ultimate trust. Students need the trust to move ahead confidently.
Respect and love are effective!
And they are do-able.
Teachers or parents, for example, are not just simply purveyors of subject matter or rules.
In the classroom this translates, according to Grace Pilon, into paying attention to specific and obvious TRUTHS that apply to all of us, and certainly to students. She liked to see teachers put up LEARNING TRUTHS posters in their classrooms.
The LEARNING TRUTHS
- We respect the rights of others.
- It is intelligent to ask for help.
- It takes courage to be willing to risk.
- We are free to make mistakes while learning.
- Everyone has a right to time to think.
- We don’t have to know everything today.
These learning truths posters are not just for decorating the wall with “nice sayings.” The teachers refer to one or more of them daily, in the course of the day’s lessons, so that the students will learn how to apply them effectively. ……………………………………………………………………………………….
This applies to children in the home environment as well.
This needs more discussion in a future posting.
Doc Meek, Neurological Learning Specialist, Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA, Wednesday, June 16, 2010
P.S. Recently Susan Bostik commented on the above post, and I replied to her post as follows:
I am very grateful that you have reminded us all of the value of a single child, of every single person in this classroom called earth.
Many a child struggling in school (or simply bored to tears, struggling in a different way, eh?), has been saved by Grace Pilon’s Workshop Way.
You can prove this for yourself by checking out any of these links:
Official Website: http://www.workshopway.org/
Not only is the child saved (revived, survived) in school, they grow up to become better parents at home (or wherever they work elsewhere), and better members of their communities, their churches, and everywhere they are in this… our common classroom…
Susan, thank you for pointing us to the nature of true education:
It’s ripple-out effect, spreading its value in ever-widening circles—for all time and all eternity—and throughout the entire cosmos (known and unknown to mankind).
And to womankind of course. :o)
They (womankind) are what makes the world worth living in, and living for.
Doc Meek, Neurological Learning Specialist
Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA, Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Image from: 123rf.com
“WHAT DO YOU DO
WHEN THE WHOLE CLASSROOM
IS RESTLESS AND FIDGETING?”
I was asked this question somewhat in desperation by a teacher of junior high school age students. About 20 students had signed up for an after-school study skills course.
The teacher had thought that these teenagers would be attentive since they had voluntarily joined this group to improve their marks in school.
The students chattered with each other, and wandered about the room, more intent on looking at their electronic devices than attending to what the teacher had to say.
The teacher had grown exceedingly weary of appealing to the group and encouraging individual students to “settle down.”
I advised the teacher that, generally speaking, almost all students in Canada and the US are deficient in the essential calming mineral magnesium because our society (unknowingly it appears) has removed the three major sources of calming magnesium that were historically available to all:
(1) WATER SUPPLIES:
When major municipal drinking water suppliers added fluoride for dental health purposes, apparently they were unaware that the additive binds up the naturally-occurring essential calming mineral magnesium so that it is no longer bio-available to those drinking that water.
(2) MILK SUPPLIES:
When major milk suppliers fortified milk with Vitamin D for health purposes, apparently they were unaware that the additive binds up the naturally-occurring essential calming magnesium so that it is no longer bio-available to those who are drinking the milk.
(3) FOOD SUPPLIES:
When major corporate food suppliers produced food on a mass scale, apparently they were unaware that this practice depleted soils of many essential trace minerals, including the essential calming mineral magnesium.
Global efforts by scientists to remove unhealthy man-made fluoride (an industrial waste product) from municipal drinking water supplies are underway. See, for example, FAN (Fluoride Action Network):
However, in the meantime, this doesn’t help the teacher, so I suggested the teacher try a “global” solution within her own classroom:
Encourage (require?) all students to carry a water bottle with them, containing pure non-fluoridated water with naturally-occurring calming magnesium, and have them sip the good water all day long.
This gives the students a triple benefit:
(1) The students are getting (again) the essential calming mineral magnesium in the water they are now sipping all day long.
(2) The students are hydrating their brains, and this is big, because most students (owing to consumption of sugar-water drinks, soda pop, etc.) are dehydrated and brains need hydration to work properly.
(3) This helps all of the students, not just those who have been “officially” diagnosed with attention disorders such as ADD or ADHD. Thus there is no stigma for any one individual student, a great advantage in any problem-solution effort.
Students may need a calcium-magnesium dietary supplement
There are many magnesium-rich foods and if these can be located and consumed (minus the usual pesticides and mineral soil-depletion), this can be very helpful in reducing general anxiety, restlessness and fidgeting among students and adults alike.
And finding good mineral-rich foods is the best route to take.
However, because of the general deficiency of magnesium in water, milk and food supplies in Canadian and US society, students may be well-advised to take a good pure calcium-magnesium dietary supplement from a quality supplier. For example, see:
Many doctors prescribe calcium for bone health (and other reasons) without being aware that calcium requires its companion magnesium to ensure proper bio-availability of both the calcium and the calming magnesium.
For a good article on why you should not take a calcium supplement alone, see:
The ideal combination of calcium and calming magnesium (whether taken together in the same supplement, or taken separately) is 2 to 1. For example, if you are taking about 1200 to 1600 milligrams of pure calcium daily, then for proper use and bio-availability you need about half that amount in magnesium, about 600 to 800 milligrams of pure calming magnesium.
If the amount of magnesium you take daily produces loose stools, either eat more insoluble fibre or reduce the amount of magnesium a bit.
Pure water and essential magnesium hydrate and calm the brain and the body
The students were initially reluctant to undertake the pure water sipping routine in the classroom (no sugar drinks, soda pop or coffee allowed), but when the teacher gladly led by example and some of the students followed her example and found their brains worked much better, soon all of the students were sipping and studying easier and remembering longer.
Great “global” solution for a “global” deficiency of essential calming magnesium and pure water hydration of the brain!
Doc Meek, Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA, Thurs, Apr 3, 2014
P.S. Happy Sipping! (Pure water only!)