Saturday, 31 July 2010

Is There a Link Between ADD and Kinesthetic Learners?

I am convinced my daughter has ADD. However, ADD is very poorly understood in the UK. I was referred to the Adolescent Mental Health Unit when I mentioned ADD to my doctor. The psychiatrist discounted ADD because she didn't demonstrate an attention difficulty at school despite learning very little. Anyone with a good understanding of ADD knows that it is not about attention but more about being Distractable, Impulsive and Sensation Seeking. She was given a provisional diagnosis of ASD (Autistic Spectrum Disorder).

Anya has a very unsual learning style which I have finally identified as being Kinesthetic. Kinesthetic learners:
- like to be active whilst learning.
- Like to move and fidget
- Do not enjoy watching presentations
- Do not enjoy listening to presentations
- Touch manipulate and try things
- Use gestures when speaking
- Enjoy moving to music

I don't think this learning style is accommodated at all in school and may be the link between Anya's difficulty learning at school. Only 5% of the population are Kinesthetic Learners and their style of learning would be very disruptive in class.

I have been reading an article by Association for Comprehensive NeuroTherapy about a possible link between ADD and Kinesthetic Learning. The article discussed how children may have been misdiagnosed with ADD and ADHD and simply be Kinesthetic Learners. I also wonder if all people diagnosed with ADD and ADHD are Kinesthetic Learners?

Find out your child's learning style with the Learning Style Survey

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

OPAL project: an opportuntity to take part in a free educational survey of hedges this autumn

We will be taking part in the Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) project , an educational project being run by Natural History Museum, Imperial College London and thirteen universities and educational organisations across England. This survey will focus on the local biodiversity value of hedges. It will involve 30-45 minutes of fieldwork which can be carried out in gardens or local area. Participants complete activities that assess the hedge’s structure and management, food supply, invertebrate diversity and importance as a wildlife corridor. The survey is structured so that each of the separate components tell a story about the hedge’s importance for wildlife.

For the Biodiversity Survey, a great deal of survey work has been done in the past on hedges in farmland, but no-one knows much about the current national picture of the condition of hedges in urban areas (especially in gardens), so this survey really will add to our scientific knowledge.

Taking part in the OPAL Biodiversity Survey is easy. All you need is safe access to at least one side of a hedge (hedge needs to be minimum 3m in length). This doesn’t need to be a classic farmland hedge of hawthorn – garden hedges (e.g. privet and laurel), a patch of ornamental shrubs at the edge of a car park (if safe to access) or a line of trees with leaves close to the ground will be equally as valid.

OPAL has funding to supply individual survey packs (one per child) to home educators throughout England. If you are interested in receiving survey packs, or if you would like to discuss the OPAL project in more detail, please email

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Home Education, Culture & Buddhism

Anya is a predominantly a Kinesthetic Learner so hands on experience is a really good way of her learning. Trips and making things and moving whilst learning are a good way of accommodating her Kinesthetic learning needs.

Anya and I visited the Buddhist Centre in Kennington. A Buddhist Nun called Barbara showed us around. The centre was also an old court house so a visit serve well for historical learning. It was interesting to watch Anya as she didn't seem interested at all in anything Barbabra was saying but she did seem to be touching things in a gentle and thoughtful way. To an extent Anya set the pace which was good as although I had loads of questions I didn't want her interests to be reverse by endless adult conversation. Her first questions was "do you believe in God?". She also asked "why are there seven bowls of water in front of the Buddha statue?" Barbara gave Anya some peace flags which have been hung in our garden 'temple'. Anya has also told Owen the water symbolises water for drinking, water for bathing, flowers, incense, light, perfume and food although she didn't actually remember of of them!).

The Buddist Centre is happy to offer family and home school visits.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Resolving Rudeness with Books

My son can often be 'rude'. It is usually when he is feeling excited or impatient but can be when he is stressed or anxious. Reading stories about 'rude' characters that show how a situation may be resolved might help. However, Owen's rudeness is often directed towards adults that have been 'rude' to him or unfair to him. I also am aware that rudeness is cultural and often moralistic and I am becoming increasingly aware that moralistic parenting does not encourages insincerity.

The Elephant and the Baby Baby by Elfrida Vipont

The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugenios Trivizas and Helen Oxenbury

Princess, Princess by Penny Dale

Second hand books can be purchased from Abe Books

Monday, 19 July 2010

The Link Between Behaviour & Emotions

A good friend of mine who regularly comments on this blog suggested that I investigate a more creative approach to "managing behaviour". She doesn't feel the term behaviour management is appropriate because the word behaviour is mainly attached to "good" and "bad" and management implies "supervision". The articles I have read demonstrate a strong link between behaviour and emotions. This is backed up by the results of my behavioral diary which showed undesired behaviour being triggered by anger, stress, worry, disappointment and jealously. Therefore, it would make sense that behavior (both desired and undesired) is an outlet for emotions.

I regard myself as "autistic-ish" which has gifted me with many abilities neurotypical people do not have. But I think it has left me less able to understand my own emotions. This presents me with a complex problem if I am to emotionally educate my own children. Emotions are divided into four main categories: Glad, Sad, Mad and Scared. Whilst I support my children's Glad emotions I think I am guilty of trying to "fix" my children's Sad, Mad or Scared emotions through discipline or distraction. Owen and Anya should understand that emotions are not bad. I plan to support my kids in identifying their emotions and help them to understand and respond to their feelings in an "acceptable" way. I am going to try the following strategies to help them identify, explore and understand their emotions.

Working with Images (Help The Aged, Salvation Army, RSPCA, NSPCC)
Feelings Meters/Barometers
Books for Exploring Emotions

Friday, 2 July 2010

Auditory Processing - Barnabys Burrow

Owen and Anya have auditory processing problems. Instructions get mixed up in their brain so they often forget part of the instructions or the order of the instructions. I have found this wonderful game for developing their listening skills and developing their ability to listen to questions or more complex instructions. We love playing the game too!

Barnaby’s Burrow has been created by a company called LinguiSystems. It provides practice for the auditory skills of memory, discrimination, closure, and synthesis. The auditory processing tasks and content within each deck of game cards are arranged at increasing levels of difficulty. The 310 game cards are organized into four decks. Within each deck, the items are numbered and arranged from easiest to most difficult: