Tag Archives: Johansen IAS therapy

Why some kids may not be “coming out of their shell”

I used to be a Social Shellfish. I was a very quiet kid, lurking around the fringe of most activities rather than joining in completely. Lurking was something I did well. And outside of school, I lurked at home. I was a hermit, accomplished lurker and recluse, somewhere near the murky seabed of the social order. In a way, this was exactly what I wanted. Before MLC and Johansen IAS therapies, I never felt lonely at school. Simply because I didn’t know the difference.

Many parents and teachers talk about helping kids to “come out of their shell”, like coaxing a timid, delicate Hermit Crab from its armour. With some kids, coaxing can have little or no effect. I was so quiet at school that I got sent to Guidance twice. Feeling that there was something “wrong” with me, but not knowing what it was or how to cope with it, I stonewalled their kindly attempts at helping me. 

What teachers possibly don’t consider is this:

The reason why Hermit Crabs have strong shells to hide inside is because many other animals want to eat them.

Remove the threat (perceived or otherwise), and the shell is no longer required. 

Some kids put up walls because of struggles with Learning Differences, such as Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia and Auditory Processing Disorder. Retained Reflexes/Neuro-developmental Delay can cause physical timidity and anxiety issues. Bullying is also a big problem which affects many kids.

I didn’t “come out of my shell” until I had help with problems caused by Auditory Processing Disorder and Retained Reflexes/Neuro-Developmental Delay.

By this time, I had nearly finished school. With my internal struggles resolved, engaging with the outside world made sense. For the first time, it was easy to talk to other people and make new friends. I could hold my own in arguments and was socially alert, no longer an easy target. Less stressed, my grades went up, and I had the energy for out-of-school activities with friends. I no longer just tried my best cope with school. I actually started to have fun. My last school year was definitely the best.

“Coming out of my shell” didn’t mean that I had lost a means of defending myself in social situations. Going to Johansen IAS and The Movement and Learning Centre Scotland, gave me the unscrambled hearing, mental wherewithal, and emotional balance to be on an even level with my age group. I was equal to challenges which I would previously have withdrawn from as a method of coping.

Sure, armour can protect you, but it also weighs you down. Many children (and adults) could benefit hugely from these therapies, which remove barriers to leading a happy, healthy life and unlock potential.

 

 

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Life In Another Language: Auditory Processing Disorder – Free PDF case study

Life In Another Language : Auditory Processing Disorder, is a short, anecdotal account of what it feels like to be a kid with Auditory Processing Disorder.
This PDF file is FREE, so please don’t hesitate to share it with anyone who may find it useful!
View or Download it by clicking the link below.

Life in another language- Auditory Processing Disorder PDF

Free Downloadable Resources!

Hello! It’s been too long…..

Here is the first (of many) downloadable PDF resources. These will be available on the Download Resources page.

In these files I will cover Auditory Processing Disorder, Retained Reflexes/Neuro-Developmental Delay, and my experiences with Johansen IAS and MLC Scotland Ltd therapies.

I really hope you find these useful. And since these downloads are FREE, please don’t hesitate to share them.

This PDF is a BRIEF (6-page) summary of my experiences with Johansen IAS therapy, and the changes in my hearing over a 3-year period as it enabled me to process sound more clearly and efficiently. A more detailed version of this summary will be available for download soon.  

For now, happy reading.

Jenny x

Please click the link below to view the file.

BRIEF Summary of changes to hearing with Johansen IAS therapy

 

Saturday 20th June – Mixed Salad Malfunctions

I’m back from college, tired and a bit mentally bedraggled. It was an intense year! Soon I can post a backlog of blog entries here. In the meantime here’s an entry from last Saturday. Since my previous post I have got myself a Saturday job in a restaurant. It’s a policy of my workplace that I cannot name it online. So I will refer to it with many different names, starting with The Home of the Giant Scone. 

Restaurants are full of background noise. As well as scores of chatting customers and clinking cutlery, a playlist of popular music is played on a loop all day long. Once I have heard “We are Young” by Fun or “Here Come The Girls” for the seventh time that day I know  it’s nearly hometime.

Restaurants are not ideal places to hear clearly if you have Auditory Processing Disorder like I used to. Thanks to Johansen IAS therapy, Auditory Processing is now only a weak area for me, and I can hear almost every single word that customers and colleagues say to me. My job as a Table-clearer is mostly a physical task of cleaning tables and carrying trays back to behind the scenes to be cleared of food and washed. My job also involves chatting to customers and making sure that they are happy with their eating experience. Hearing clearly and being able to tune out table sounds and Top 40 canned music is very helpful to my job. Something that I lacked before Johansen IAS therapy, and something which after today I’m sure I will have to use all the time are PEOPLE SKILLS. Dealing with the public is part of my job, so good communication is essential. I have a feeling that my new job will teach me a lot about people.

I cycled to the Home of the Giant Scone, changed into my uniform, secured my Beard Net onto my head, put my little hat on and got to work.

Today was business as usual, apart from a few stroppy customers.

The first was a woman who called me over to look at her plate. “Would you say that this is a mixed salad?” she asked me. I wanted to say “Is this a trick question?” There was a varied mix of chopped vegetables and leaves on her plate beside a baguette, so I instead I said “Yes”. She insisted that there was too much lettuce and not enough tomatoes and cucumber. “Not like the plates on display” she insisted, trying to educate me as to what the qualities of good salad should be.

I guessed that she was one of these people who considered that the grass was always greener on the other side, mainly because the other side belonged to someone else. I supposed that in proportion to the fresh lettuce leaves, other vegetables were a minority group. As far as I was concerned that’s what a healthy Salad should look like.

She looked at me, pointing to her salad, again explaining that it wasn’t the mixed salad it claimed to be. Obviously it was only a pretender to the title of Mixed Salad. Perhaps not even a Salad at all. Mixed Salad was a pedigree beyond the qualities of the leafy mongrel creature skulking on her industrial chinaware.

Even although you sometimes can’t reason with these people, it is unfortunately in my job description to put on a smile and at least try.

“I’m sorry that your salad is not mixed enough. How can I make this right for you?”

Still glaring at the Leafy Green Impostor on her plate, the woman asked me to go and get her more tomatoes and cucumber. I took the plated baguette back to the food prep area and explained the situation.

“There’s a woman upset about the diversity of her salad and complaining bitterly about it. Can I have some more tomatoes and cucumber please?”

He spooned on more chopped vegetables and I headed back to appease her. Being as polite as I could without taking the piss, I kept smiling and asked her if everything was better now. Instead of dealing with her Salad malfunction I could have been clearing more tables which were filling up quickly.

She eyed her plate suspiciously. “It is somewhat better”.

There’s just no pleasing some people. I dismissed myself from her table to go deal with some real problems.

Behind the scenes again I bumped into the plated baguette preparer. He asked if the customer was happy now.

“She said her salad is somewhat better”.

He gave a whatever kind of shrug, clearly a veteran of kitchen complaints. “It’s not a salad anyway. It’s a garnish”.

stock-vector-cartoon-salad-80738581

Monday 11th May 2015 – Faith, Religion and The Hot Potato of Blame

 

Faith, Religion, and The Hot Potato of Blame

 

Today I was talking to a friend at college about religion. I don’t chat about about religion much, but it really got me thinking. I felt compelled to write down everything I think I know about religion here.

First of all, I reckon that I’m fortunate enough to have a good spiritual stability because I have faith in something that is not person-based.

Most ideas of God are very human-like. When God was a topic at school, ten-year-old Jenny’s mental image was of a middle-aged man with a really big beard.

The form of God which I believe in doesn’t have a beard. Or a gender. Or any rules. However I do believe that this spiritual anarchy is policed by Karma. And Karma has sharp teeth.

Some people believe in “being good” throughout their lifetime purely for the sake of an improved next life. They save up good Karma the way that my dad saves grocery coupons to put towards holiday packages. I feel that they are slightly missing the point.

“Being good” means different things to different people. And some people spend parts of their lives miserable because they are trying to live up to impossible ideals, worried about angelic bouncers at the Pearly Gates. If we worked together to make this lifetime a better place for everyone instead of separately gathering points for a ticket to Heaven, we would be living the dream.

That isn’t to say I don’t believe in something after death. I do. But I think that like death, what happens next is inevitable, and the same destination for anything which was once living. Segregation between a Heaven or Hell doesn’t really compute for me.

Religion can be a wonderful thing, a real force for good. Problems in any (and every) religion always come from a handful of the people in it, not the deity associated with them. Some people in religion, for whom I would agree with the general idea associated with the label of “bad people” use fear to control others.

What are people generally most afraid of?

DEATH. It’s an inevitable fate from which no one has lived to tell the tale.

And this is where the angelic bouncers come in. Handing out haloes to “good people” who have obeyed the rules and earned their ticket to the version of the Pearly Gates that they subscribed to.

The problem here isn’t that “good people” are people who have obeyed the rules. The problem is if “bad people” have set the rules.

In any chain of delegation, corruption or misinterpretation or instructions is extremely likely (and especially if any cherubs with Auditory Processing Disorder were involved). As well as being an enormous force for good, religion can be used as an excuse for terrible Things.

Religion can also be used for Nothings. When something awful happens, people often need someone to blame. Blame is a Hot Potato, and divine fingers tend not to get burned. Holy instructions delegated through “bad people” can turn terrible Things such as Public Stonings into something socially acceptable. In the process, terrible Nothings can also be committed, consciences cleared as quickly as the burning-hot spud of morality is flung away with a yelp.

I came across this saying in the front pages of a book a while ago.

“All it takes for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing.”

Nothings can be wrong things which “haven’t” been done. Like all the people at a stoning who gather there for entertainment, encouraging the gruesome public event. Although they don’t cast the stones, they are also part of the victim’s cruel death.

I think I read something about casting stones somewhere………

Nothings can also be right things which haven’t been done. For example:

If you saw someone drowning, would you do something, or pray for your deity to send an angel to their aid?

Is the Lifeguard who dives in to rescue them a result of divine intervention? Or would it have been better to throw them a float and pray after they are safely on dry ground?

I don’t know if I believe in angels. Maybe they’re there, maybe they’re not. But I am certain that whether divine intervention exists or not, we have to help each other out. Maybe in a way angels do exist in forms including Shelter volunteers, Paramedics, The Salvation Army, Lifeguards, Firemen and those friends who make you feel better when you’re sad.

If we are each other’s angels does that mean we’re also responsible for the outcome of each other’s lives?

We could be, in a butterfly-effect kind of way.

Every choice we make effects a lot of people in tiny ways. Just a tiny thing like giving a smile to someone who doesn’t have one, passes out just a little positivity to them, and in some way to everyone they encounter too. And then everyone who those people encounter, and it goes on like that, hopefully spreading the echoes of a smile all the way around the whole world. Or something delightfully cheesetastic like that.

If events in our lives are determined by the random acts of billions of other people, does that mean there is no such thing as Fate?

Not necessarily.

I believe that if you ask the universe for something, you can get what you wish for. But you have to meet it halfway. If you work hard to follow the direction of your dreams, the universe will help you gain momentum and maybe help you out in the form of what seems like sheer amazing luck. What I want most at the moment is to be a professional drummer. For me that means doing paradiddles on trains and buses, listening hard to drumbeats in songs, and practicing as much as possible. In my free time, which there is currently not a lot of, I work hard to improve my skills. And sometimes, although I am very definitely not religious, I think “Stars, please let me be a drummer!”

the hot potato of blame

Sunday 3rd May 2015- Music and other languages

 

My day started with a grocery shop. Sadly, my usual fish fingers are no longer in stock. A shiny new budget-friendly box is filling my freezer drawer with anticipation. Something I’m really looking forward to is a visit from the awesome French branch of my family tree. So today I watched an episode of Chuck in French with French subtitles.

Despite the fact that listening is a weak area for me because of my Auditory Processing difficulties, I enjoy learning different languages. My favourite language is music. Music is a universal language because whoever’s listening- no matter what their spoken language is- can enjoy and empathise with the mood the music sets. Kind of like that TV show, The Clangers. Many people from different cultures claimed that the Clangers were actually speaking their language (or so I have heard). The Clangers speak Clanger. But like music, Clanger has a similarity to human speech. The adorable moon-dwelling mouse-creatures don’t use identifiable words, but somehow their language of squeaks and whistles still makes a lot of sense to their human watchers.

Although for my first 16 years or so, I couldn’t hear speech as clearly as most people because of serious Auditory Processing Disorder, I have always loved music. It’s a language which I understand. Although my social skills lagged behind since spoken nuances and hints were lost in a sea of gibberish and background noise, I could pick up a tune by ear really quickly. On my flute I learned to play music with an emotional maturity which socially I completely lacked. The way I played and the way I spoke completely didn’t match up. Then after Johansen IAS therapy my hearing cleared up enough to hear song lyrics, and I discovered an amazing combination of languages- music with words! After that my life was changed forever.

I’ve read somewhere that children who listen to music or learn an instrument can improve learning skills and strengthen listening ability. My parents played lots of music in our house when I was young whether it was Gypsy Kings (my mum) or Nirvana (my dad). Listening to music from an early age even just in the background probably gave me an edge against my Auditory Processing Disorder which I wouldn’t otherwise have had.

I think that a lot of kids who struggle in some way with communication, in whatever form and for whatever reason, would really benefit from learning to play an instrument. It’s a way to express your feelings without using conventional spoken language. Like a fingerprint, music is unique to the individual it comes from. Personalities shine through, and listeners who make strong first impressions of people on face value ( *The Fish Finger Conundrum again!* ) may be surprised by what they hear.

*The Fish Finger Conundrum- Monday 20th October 2014*

https://gibberishdictionary.com/?s=fish+fingers+and+social+identity

Due to unfortunate exam-related circumstances and the fact that any vaguely maths-related homework is not my friend, blog entries have recently been few and far between. Hopefully in a few weeks I’ll have the time to post a backlog of stuff. I hope you enjoyed this post.  =)

clanger

Sunday 1st March- The joys of academia

I have SO much homework, an overdue essay to rewrite which I discovered this morning, and revision for two exams which I tanked. Apparently, Tanked can also be a positive description. A garden supervisor once said when I dug over a big area, working flat out, “You tanked that”.

When I say “I tanked an exam”, I mean Tanked as in, like a tank falling from the sky, and whatever resulting unhappiness when it hits the ground with a huge splat. This was a very tough exam in the format of mini essays, which unfortunately can not be answered with a two-word sentence.  

Although I have chosen to go to college, I am not an academic person. I would much rather do things than write essays about it. It is a small miracle that I went to college in the first place. Not because I had very few qualifications- I have a few good highers under my belt. The main reason for not leaving home to study would have been my Auditory Processing Disorder and Retained Reflexes, which affected my life in general as well as making learning much much more difficult. After Johansen IAS therapy to help with my Auditory Processing, and going to The Movement and Learning Centre Scotland to get rid of the Retained Reflexes which were holding me back, I had the health, energy, social skills and learning capacity to go to college. 

So here I am, living independently in a different city, studying with mixed results. I’m not academic and probably never will be, but the fact that I’ve made it this far is something to be happy about. Anyway, no matter who you are, and what your brain is like, sometimes during an exam you just have a bad day.

Sunday 1st February 2015- Today I’m feeling Optimistic

It’s February, and it’s still cold.

Today I’m feeling pretty optimistic.

I want to be a professional drummer. That would make me so happy I think. Playing music with my friends for a living would be amazing. And it’s not an impossible dream. Without MLC and Johansen, a career as a drummer would never have been an option for me. It’s amazing how much my life has changed since I started and finished these therapies- and what a completely different direction it’s taking from what it would have been otherwise. Without going to see Ian at The Movement and Learning Centre Scotland, I would not have the coordination to play drums. Simple, everyday movements such as walking and climbing stairs which nowadays are effortless and automatic for me, would still take up conscious thought.

And without Johansen Individualised Auditory Stimulation Therapy, I would still be afraid of loud noises.

A music theory teacher I had for a short time at school (before he was fired for insulting other members of staff) once said to me “maybe in a parallel universe, Jennifer will do something important with her life”. Imagining a Jenny in a parallel universe who hadn’t had help from Johansen and MLC makes me sad. I have a vague idea of what that story would be like, and as a lover of happy endings, I have a feeling I would be disappointed. Thanks to these therapies I have the opportunity to explore and live up to my full potential- whatever that may be. It’s my duty- and pleasure to live my second chance at life to the full. And of course use my experiences to help other people with Auditory Processing Disorder and Retained Reflexes as much as I can.

My unpleasant theory teacher wanted me to be a musician. In some ways, he may get what he wished for. Although I reckon that I still have as much aptitude for music theory as a shellfish does for mountaineering. I play a small concert on my flute every weekend I can manage. Some tourists and streetgoers particularly like my flute version of “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica. The thought of him seeing me play drums- the last instrument anyone at the music school would have expected me to have a talent for- in my usual unquiet, finesseless and deliciously unclassical manner makes me smile.

Tomorrow is Plant Physiology. Meh.

It’s a testament to Johansen IAS that despite a hectic lifestyle juggling a full-time college course, keeping this blog, busking, and being part of a band in another city, my hearing has not been a problem recently. I barely think about it sometimes. I’ve been taking easy, clear sound processing for granted.

However, I will definitely be my Personal Listening Device for class tomorrow. It’s going to be 5 hours of lectures. My hearing may not be 100% perfect, but the fact that I’m so far managing to keep afloat with this course and with life in general astonishes me.

 

Saturday 31st January- Lunch with a friend from Lip Reading Class

Today I was back in Glasgow and saw a friend from my lip reading class. She bought me lunch and told me about how her friends and family are getting on. She is like a Gran to me. All of my lip reading friends feel like my older relatives. I was so nervous when I turned up at my first lip reading class almost three years ago. I was scared that I wouldn’t fit in there, that the rest of the class might not like me because I was so much younger and had no hearing loss.

They welcomed and accepted me. I told her this, thanking her for accepting me and making me feel so at home there. I wanted her to know how important her and my other lip reading friends are to me. 

She just looked at me and said, “Jenny, why would we not accept you?”

After school, lip reading classes didn’t just help with Aural Rehabilitation. The friends I made there helped to restore my faith in people. 

Thusday 29th January 2015

Today I had a chance to work on The Gibberish Dictionary eBook project again.

Reading my diary from two years ago (when I was still going through Johansen IAS Therapy for serious Auditory Processing Disorder) was an eye-opener to how amazing my life is now. I had almost forgotten how poor my sound processing was. I could barely cross roads safely because the deafening, distorted, misplaced traffic sounds I heard clashed with my synaesthesia. I couldn’t hear the words in songs- slurred mouth-noises with the odd understandable words in between were swamped by mushy instrumental backgrounds. Because of this, all the music I love now was uninteresting to me. Some sounds were painful and overwhelming. I couldn’t cope for long in busy environments such as town centres, or even my local supermarket when it was busy. I couldn’t sing anything in pitch because I couldn’t hear my voice properly. My listening skills (and consequentially my social skills) were so poor I could barely hold a conversation. This makes me glad that I kept a record of the massive improvements to my hearing. Not just because the diary may be a useful case study for other people, but because I had been starting to take my amazing new life for granted.