Archive for March, 2012

Things We Need To Know For Our Babies!

 

The Neurodevelopmental Approach

In the 1940’s, a team of specialists including educators, neurologists, pyschiatrists and so forth, explored the potential to improve function in brain injured children. The result was the famous/infamous Doman-Delacato developmental profile. This profile was an attempt to decide what was necessary and sufficient to achieve “normal” human function. It looked at the inputs to the brain – tactile, auditory and visual, and the corresponding outputs –speech and language, manual function and mobility – from birth level to “normal” human function. Having completed all the steps of this profile, an individual was pronounced “neurologically organized” and hence capable of any normal human activity. If one of these developmental steps was missed, specific stimulation was supplied to complete that step and hence accelerate the individual through that step so that higher levels of function could be achieved.

This was a true work of genius. First, it challenged the premise that the brain was fixed in function and that if an injury occurred or a developmental step missed for whatever reason, be it illness, genetic anomaly, etc., that there was nothing that could be done to improve function. The ability to evaluate an individual that couldn’t talk or move or take standardized tests was an important breakthrough. Plus, by stripping away unnecessary developmental steps, it simplified the evaluation process. This work brought great hope to those that previously had been considered hopeless. It has given rise to many early intervention and “stimulation” programs and the whole sensory integration therapy now claimed as the territory of occupational therapists.

Many have taken this neurodevelopmental work forward. More specific steps of development have been identified, and new ways to provide specific stimulation as well as nutritional and metabolic breakthroughs have enhanced our ability to help individuals function at higher levels than ever before.

Implications for Babies

The great news for parents is that knowing the developmental steps used to evaluate individuals with problems, helps us design the best developmental environment for our babies. Since we can accelerate the learning and function of an individual with problems, we can also accelerate the learning and function of newborns. Why would anyone want to do this? Visions of “pushing” little ones in inappropriate activities come to mind. The fact is that little children love to learn. Very few respect baby’s wonderful ability to learn and to absorb information from his environment. By simply improving the environment of the child so that developmentally appropriate activities are available, little children can be physically and mentally excellent. This will avoid errors that result in learning problems down the road. Plus, we can approach the God-given potential that individuals have. Perhaps we can approach the abilities of our forefathers and send Godly, intelligent and capable children into the future.

This author’s own son was a fully automatized reader at the age of 24 months. He read at college level at the age of seven. By the time he was 12, he could read faster than any individual the author has seen.

The author had a Montessori school in the 1980’s and ALL of the 3 and 4 year olds were readers. This was not a population of bright and superior children. Some children, who couldn’t speak at the age of 2, were reading and speaking by the time they were 3 years old.

All of this is possible using the principles derived from the neurodevelopmental approach. What a refreshing vision in a country that enjoys a 40 to 50% illiteracy rate, despite the millions and billions spent on public education.  Read More:   By Kay Ness, Certified Neurodevelopmentalist

An Overview Of Little Giant Steps Consultation & Testing Services

Learning Issues Are Not A Life Sentence!

Little Giant Steps offers consulting services to families with children or adults who want to improve their current level of functioning. We work with those who may have come to us with a plethora of labels including: Learning Disabled, Developmentally Delayed, Dyslexic, Distractible, Down’s syndrome, Autistic, OCD, Bipolar, ADD, ADHD, Down’s syndrome, Asperger’s Syndrome, Hyperactive, Auditory Processing Disorder, and more. We also work with those who are considered: typical, accelerated, and gifted to improve their overall function and continue making progress in all areas of learning.  While Little Giant Steps has five Neuro-Educational Specialists that serve the State of Texas, there are ND associates located throughout the U.S.and Canada to help your children, teens or adults. 

An overview of the process:        

 Consulting services are based on four-month cycles or trimesters for evaluations. Each trimester begins with an evaluation. A certified Neuro-Educational Specialist will conduct the evaluation. Educational Testing will be initiated as a way to establish a base line from which we can see the advancement of the individual’s progress.  The evaluation is based on neurodevelopmental models developed by several outstanding  researchers and organizations in the emerging science of neurodevelopment.  A home neurodevelopmental and educational program is specifically designed for the client based on the information gathered in the evaluation. Little Giant Steps supports the family in the utilization of their program. The family and n maintain close communication for the four-month period to ensure that the program is implemented properly and to help the family maintain their motivation. The family and the Neuro-Educational Specialist will work together to resolve learning difficulties and inefficiencies. The client’s success on the program is based upon communication, implementation, and a positive environment. Ongoing communication and input between Little Giant Steps and the family promotes dynamic implementation of the plan. Lasting progress is obtained when the plan of activities is performed consistently with proper techniques and positive reinforcement. It is our experience that the program is implemented more effectively when the family is in close communication with the consultant. Therefore, the family is urged to maintain regular communication with Little Giant Steps.

The role of Little Giant Steps is to provide educational testing,  evaluations, write the plan of activities which address the neurological inefficiencies, train families to implement the activities, and provide ongoing expertise for each family.

The family’s role is to provide information on the client history and evaluation forms as well as additional information as requested from time to time. They will receive training in activity procedures, communicate frequently with Little Giant Steps, consistently implement the plan, and schedule revisit appointments every four months. Based on prior experience with the time necessary to address neurological disorganization, the family is urged, but not obligated, to remain on the plan for one year to eighteen months in order to insure neurological efficiency and optimize the progress the client will be obtains.

Please review our success stories, as nothing works better than listening to someone who has traveled the journey successfully!

 

Keep Learning Fun Even With An Academic Struggler

Fun Will Always Win

Regardless whether we are a child or an adult, when we are learning new things, if it’s fun ~ we’ll pay attention, relax and allow ourselves to be guided into a new experience. When a child, teen or adult has lower than grade level processing skills (Auditory or Visual), they tend to loose their traction with the amount of information coming into their ears and eyes.  Next, confusion rules their consciousness, soon followed by frustration, and then all processing shuts down, as the emotional toll becomes greater than their coping ability.  This kind of thing has happened to all of us for one reason or another at least once in our lives. It’s nothing we haven’t experienced. Some have greater coping skills than others, and some are so persistent in their quest for things, they will forge on regardless.  Those brave and determined souls are not the majority of us!  When we shut down, then learning takes a back seat and only the emotional state remains for us to cope with. There is a tried and true way to overcome these road blocks to learning and it’s called The Neurodevelopmental Approach.  We also call it, The Neuro-Educational Approach.

What Can You Do To Help Yourself or Your Child?

 1. Get the Free Auditory and Visual Test Kit from Little Giant Steps.  Here’s the link to order it free of charge.  Follow directions. It will help determine if there is a processing issue.  Get both Auditory & Visual Test Kits. If you  or your child isn’t up to what is considered grade level, then you will want to work on the deficit, and eliminate it!  That’s what Little Giant Steps does; eliminate learning issues!

2. Next is to practice twice a day for two minutes each session.   What do you practice? You go through exercises that you learn in the Test Kit. We have digit flash cards available (read about them at the link) or better yet, we have a computer program (Sequencing In A Flash) that will help improve both visual & auditory processing abilities.  If you are working with a child, then be sure and set up a reward system for them to do the practice activities twice a day for two minutes.  Some parents like to use a point system for each day of the week and redeem the points for something the child would like at the end of the week.  Even if it’s for you, or your teen, a reward system is a great way not only to improve ones processing abilities, but help establish a goal that is pleasant to achieve. For more information Jan Bedell, the Brain Coach, has written a booklet  (The Best Kept Secret In Education ~ Auditory Processing) that not only details the benefits to be gained, but offers other games, and ideas to help develop better learning abilities.

3. Practice every day until the learning road blocks are eliminated.  You’ll know when you see the evidence of the new neuro-pathways providing easier receiving of information, processing, comprehending, storing an recalling what’s being learned.  It is self-evident!  Many parents say, “All of a sudden he could read!”  or “One day he remembered things he’d never been able to before!”

If you choose to use flash cards, make sure the few minutes of interaction for you and your child is fun!  The auditory games can be played anywhere!  Some play these “listening” games while driving in the car, or while doing chores, etc.  Let your imagination flow! The more fun, the better for everyone.

As one parent said, “I’m surprised when I approach this part of my day as a “fun” assignment, both my child and I feel happier and more relaxed to go back to the other things on our schedule!”  I think that’s a universal truth.  When we approach anything with the right attitude, we can make our time spent better, more appreciated, and happier!  The best way to learn is to have these neurodevelopmental precepts in place: Intensity, Frequency, and Duration. 

Linda Kane, a Neuro-Educational Specialist, states: “Stimulation needs to be given with proper frequency, intensity, and duration. Frequency means having enough opportunity and repetition in order for the stimulation to produce a change in the brain and become learned information. Often, we are testing for output without ever properly putting in the information. Intensity refers to the strength of the input of the stimulation. Is the stimulation at a level where the individual is actively engaged with it, or have they tuned out because of lack of intensity?”

 You can drag an individual through an activity, but without a high level of involvement and interaction, change or learning will not occur. Duration has dual meaning. It refers to the time the stimulation is being given. Usually the shorter the duration the higher the intensity. Five or ten minutes of mathematics will have a far greater impact than dragging a child through an hour of math. Duration also refers to staying with the stimulation for however long it takes to produce change. Specific stimulation will produce change. It may take time, though. Many times the stimulation is creating, developing, and building new pathways to the brain. Usually that work produces internal changes that are not always seen. Just because immediate improvements are not evident does not mean it is time to stop offering the stimulation. Again, specific stimulation does produce change, but one must stay in for the duration needed to see the outward changes, which brings us back to the Neurodevelopmental (ND) Approach. By knowing what is specific, through the ND Approach of looking at things, you can have significant change.”

 

Leaving Dyslexia Behind!

Educating Yourself Can Make a Dramatic Difference In Helping Your Child Succeed.

This mom shared with us how the Little Giant Steps Neuro-Educational Program has made a difference in her daughter’s life.  She’s given us permission to share it now with you!

“After 10 months on the Little Giant Steps program, this week all the letters my 10 year-old daughter had continually and consistently written REVERSED since kindergarten have flipped and now fluently come out on paper facing the right way.  She doesn’t even pause to ponder which way the letter “p” faces.

I thank God and rejoice that her learning problems are falling by the way side as her brain changes and new neural pathways are built.  This learning challenge seems to have vanished!  I thought it would remain a challenge and she would always pause to ponder which way her letters and numbers go. This is truly the difference in The ND Approach vs learning to compensate!

Our diligence and hard work on program is paying off.  I am celebrating and wanted to share.  We had a Little Giant Step today!”  C. K. in Perry, Georgia