Tag Archives: Learning Differences

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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Retained Reflexes case study- with The Movement and Learning Centre Scotland – FREE Download!

PDF -The Movement and Learning Centre Scotland Ltd- A Case Study of therapy for Retained Reflexes

This FREE PDF download is a case study of therapy from MLC Scotland Ltd to resolve problems caused by Retained Reflexes. It briefly covers the progress and development I experienced with this therapy in the areas of balance, coordination and emotional stability.

Years on, my life feels so much easier. I’m doing things I never thought possible back then, and I’m just getting started! MLC Scotland unlocks the potential of children and adults being held back by Retained Reflexes.

This PDF is completely FREE! So if you know anyone you think this information would benefit, please share it! Print it, share the link, and click the FOLLOW button on at the side of the screen, and receive Gibberish Dictionary updates via email.

The aim of this website is to spread the knowledge of Retained Reflexes and MLC Scotland, and also its sister organisation, INPP Ltd. These organisations provide therapy for Retained Reflexes (also known as Neuro-Developmental Delay).

Auditory Processing Disorder and Johansen IAS therapy are also covered in FREE PDFs.

My goal as someone lucky enough to benefit from these therapies is to get as many people as possible to know that there are solutions out there for Retained Reflexes/Neuro-Developmental Delay and Auditory Processing Disorder. If it’s common knowledge, these therapies may become mainstream, widely available and funded by the NHS. Think how many kids like me that could help!

Please get sharing, and if I ever have the good fortune to meet you, I’ll give you a hug.

Jenny x

 

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

TWITS, Caveman Conformity and The Toothfull Beastie (Sunday 17th May 2015)

This blog post is being written thanks to my friends who are noticeably “different” in some way. I love and admire them for being the interesting and unusual people they are. Sadly, sometimes other people take against them for it. I wonder why some people treat others who stand out in some way with prejudice or indifference. So here are my thoughts on the matter……

I reckon that cliques and conformity are a form of a Caveman mentality we required thousands of years ago to survive. Separated from the herd, that animal was less likely to live. And once they were separated from the group, perhaps they wouldn’t let you back in- instead becoming a sacrifice to whatever Toothfull Beastie was after the flock at the time. The Toothfull Beastie is more likely to gobble up strays and outsiders instead of attacking the main unit of the herd, the sacrifice of the stragglers allowing the rest of the herd to live another day. Leaving members of the flock behind was probably justified by blaming them for their own predicament, such as being too slow or weak or not really one of them anyway.  Blame is a Hot Potato.

Those of the flock with a conscience may have been thankful that at least it wasn’t them, believing that “It’s them or us”. I tend to think that wherever there’s a Them and an Us, there’s a Problem.  Unfortunately, long after the Caveman days, there is still plenty of that mentality around.   

 

If conformity is fear-driven, that leads to the question: In the case of modern society, what is the Toothfull Beastie?

 

Most predators which once roamed the earth are now either extinct or excluded from most urban areas. Although nowadays there is a lack of animal predators attacking humanity, we retain this mentality out of habit and lack of change.  Perhaps the modern Toothfull Beastie is the fear of exclusion itself.  In a way that makes us our own predators, which is even more destructive.

Before therapies from MLC Scotland (which gave me physical and emotional balance) and Johansen IAS  (which strengthened the sound processing connections in my brain, allowing me to hear speech clearly and consistently) I used to feel different from other people. Difference is great, it’s what makes us individuals, but I felt different in a negative way.

This is partly because I took on some of the views of myself from some people who were herd members in the extreme. Their uniform was generally Ugg boots, short skirts, carefully prepared hair, shellac talons and that healthy orange glow. Instead of emulating their fashion sense and clothes labels and admiring the beatific solarium radiance of their skin, I remained a minority against their numbers. I was a pretty scruffy herd member, with long unkempt fur and almost zero interest in fashion trends.  Because of the serious Auditory Processing Disorder I had when I was at school, I couldn’t hear speech clearly. This made me an easy target for TWITS (Trophy-Wives-In-Training) who identified me as a weaker animal with social skills even less developed than my grooming regime.

Some of them pitied me for not wanting to be the same as them, pointing a bejewelled acrylic claw in my direction and saying “That’s a shame” enough times for my scrambled hearing to pick it up.

Others messed with me out of curiosity as if they were thinking “(OMG!) It’s not the same as us. What does it do?”

And a few of them were just plain mean, the kind of people who intercept the Hot Potato of Blame in midair, just so they can pass it on to someone they dislike.

 

Feeling like easy prey, I took on some of their Caveman mentality. I felt like there was a Them and a Me. I almost believed that being different was something to be ashamed of, because it made me feel lonely and in fear of packs of TWITS every time I entered the school gates.  TWITS are terrified of people who are different, which is why they made sure to remove me as far as possible from them, like doing a biopsy of a cancer. I could have been contagious.

I know many people, who like me, because their differences were seen as negative, badly want to be Normal.  Back at school I wanted to feel Normal, whatever that was, unless it was a TWIT.

Now I know that because “normal” is an average created by measuring how everyone is different, there is no such thing. Normal is a myth, a fiction as non-existent as the Toothfull Beastie.

Safety in Similarity has a nasty sting in its tail: Conformists may show contempt for those who do not emulate them, but if there were no people who were “different”, Conformists would have no direction for their prejudice and fear except to look inwards on themselves. And I think they would find that truly unsettling.

One of the amazing things about evolution is that we adapt to survive. We will eventually realise that The Toothfull Beastie is no more, and that we can come out of our Caveman Cliques and benefit and learn from each other’s differences. Where there is no Them and Us, just one huge united group, by helping each other we will also help ourselves. But sometimes I think Guys, can we maybe evolve just a little bit faster please?

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

Little Green Frogs

A week into term 3 and I don’t have time to type up a backlog of diary entries. So I’ll leave you with this story. I hope you find it uplifting and encouraging on a Monday morning. I heard this tale from a visitor at a school assembly. Because of my serious Auditory Processing Disorder, listening was still not one of my stronger abilities during my school years. I always tried hard to focus despite this, and in this case was really happy that I did. I may have missed bits of it, but I caught the gist of a story which still feels important to me years later.

Little Green Frogs

One day in a rainforest hundreds of tiny green frogs decided to climb to the top of the tallest tree. Wondering what was going on, many people gathered around the tree trunk to watch the spectacle.  It seemed an impossible climb for creatures so small. As they climbed, the people below started shouting at them. “Stupid frogs, you’re too small, you’re never going to make it! You’ll never reach the top!” The frogs began to get tired as they climbed higher and higher. One by one they became exhausted and fell, or collapsed to rest on the branches. Still the people at the bottom of the tree kept shouting. More and more frogs gave up until there was only one left. It kept climbing until it finally reached the top of the forest’s tallest tree, clearing the leafy canopy and emerging in the sun. All the other frogs had fallen or given up, but one made it.

The little green frog at the top of the tree was deaf.

images

Wednesday 25th March 2015 – Honesty is not what I thought it was

Yesterday I found some text on one of the bits of old scrap paper I was using for homework. It was about first-person writing.

The main two points which had survived a printer glitch were:

  • Keep it fresh- a different perspective on life is interesting
  • Put yourself on the line- be honest and show your opinions. Writing life as you honestly see it allows the reader to really understand what you’re writing about. Openness and honesty when writing from your point of view is the only thing that matters.

This made me think.

Maybe honesty involves more than not lying.

Honest people express their opinions, even if that makes them stand out. They don’t hold back their likes and dislikes, and aren’t afraid to disagree with others and fight their corner even over small things. I admire people who are Honest in this way. They are brave.

I don’t lie often. I don’t like it. However, I’m realising that I’m further from Honest than I thought I was. I tend to reserve my opinions and contain my personality to blend in. This way I suppose, I have never really let anyone know me that well.

This is probably the reason why I have never had a fight or a proper argument a friend. Not even when I was a little kid. I would rather stay neutral then risk confrontation with anyone. I suppose that’s a habit from back when speech still seemed muddy and distorted because of my serious Auditory Processing Disorder. Any argument I had, I would have lost. And most of the time I wouldn’t have understood enough of a conversation to argue anyway. When everything seemed so unclear, I just wanted things to be as simple as possible, so why confuse and complicate things with feelings? The small stuff doesn’t matter, right? 

Since I started writing as a Case study for Johansen and MLC Scotland, (3 years ago now!) I have learned to how to listen, how to talk to other people, and how to understand others much more than I did before. A testament to this is how I write “other people” now. Often in my early diary entries I just wrote “people” and left it at that. I didn’t used to identify with others. Something which learning to understand other people comes with, is understanding yourself. I’m still learning to recognise what I think and feel, but it’s becoming easier and more automatic every day.

To improve this blog, writing from a first-person perspective, I need to include more of my own thoughts, feelings and emotions.  

Perhaps, to improve my life, I need to live more as a first-person. Living spontaneously and in-the-moment instead of delaying my reactions and searching for a “safe” response.  

The first big step forward is acting on how I feel. I don’t mean emotional responses to very clear-cut wrongs and rights, or distressing or joyful situations. What I mean is spontaneous reactions to small, everyday events. Spontaneous reactions are honest reactions. Why would I want to express my opinions about things which used to seem inconsequential, such as differing opinions with a friend on music, films or lunch choices? Now I’m wondering why would I not want to?

A huge part of being a normal human being is all the traits, likes, dislikes, loves, faults and flaws which make up you. Which makes me wonder, if I go through life not being myself, what else could I be?

Thanks to MLC and Johansen IAS therapies I have a second chance at life that very few people get. I am very, very fortunate to have this chance to fulfill my potential.

It may seem scary at first, but from now on I will do my very best to be Honest. I think that living life as myself is the only way I will discover everything that I can be.