|Problem Areas||Poor Reading Comprehension, Low Self-Esteem,
Day Dreamer, Anxious, Lack of Confidence, Auditory Processing Problems, Mis-pronounced words even after constant correction, Read only simple books
and preferred not to read at all, then struggled to understand or recall what
was read, preferred not to re-read to understand or answer questions, but provide irrelevant answers, Working Memory Issues, Slow Copying, Unsettled behaviour, short attention span, Low Self-Esteem, Struggled to follow verbal instructions, Preferred Simple written instructions, Used medication to help sleeping,
|Finished Program||October 2013|
Everyday life was a struggle for Olivia, particularly school days, yet to most, even teachers, this would have gone unnoticed but her behaviour at home was extremely unsettled. Nearly every mum says their children are difficult to get up before school and awful after school, but I knew Olivia couldn’t go through life like this. No one seemed able to pinpoint the cause. A lot of the classroom and social situations in a normal day were a confused blur to her and she struggled to understand what was required of her. She was a bright child and frustrated to not be achieving like she should have been.
Background: Olivia wasn’t the classic case of struggling to read and write, in fact spelling was her strong point! At one stage it even seemed to be the only thing she excelled in academically, rarely getting less than 100% in a spelling test! Ok, she wasn’t the fastest or earliest to pick up reading and writing, but there was no major cause for concern. Maths, however, was a complete stumbling block. Whilst having support in this area it became clear that the problem was not with the mechanics of maths, but the language of maths – understanding what she was being asked to do, particularly in problem solving exercises.
This not understanding what you have got to do applied to many, if not every, areas of her life and led to immense frustration. Along with this not understanding, she often felt misunderstood herself and found it difficult to express herself fully. Many times what started out as a cheerful chatty conversation ended in disaster because she felt she wasn’t making herself understood. I was treading on thin ice the whole time!
Every day was a struggle for her, life was hard work and added to this she was a conscientious perfectionist! By and large her difficulties went by unnoticed at school, particularly in KS1. The teacher commented that she was a good listener, always sat still on the carpet. I asked if she took in what was being said and the teacher admitted that Olivia always asked her afterwards what they had to do! She obviously hadn’t followed.
I was desperate to do something to help and knew sooner was better than later ….. but what?
Prior to starting school I had her eyes and ears checked to see if there was an underlying problem. Both were normal as far as NHS was concerned. Later, privately, she did have glasses to help with a divergence of both eyes. We also followed a Neuro-developmental programme for 18 months. At times we saw improvement in areas such as balance, co-ordination etc., but towards the end of the course the frustration was as bad as ever and I was somewhat disappointed to say the least. At the same time Olivia completed a Sound Therapy course for Central Auditory Processing. After following the course 3 times, there was virtually no improvement and it was put down to the fact she wasn’t concentrating on what she was listening to! Sometime later, the school had Olivia assessed for Speech, Language and Communication. Nothing was wrong with her speech and language as such, but she needed extra time to understand and process what is being said to her and time to express herself.
As her mother my gut feeling was that if we could address an underlying problem, her academic abilities would improve. She was a bright child but was being held back and not fulfilling her potential. She would give the teacher a ‘blank’ look or appear daydreaming in class and wouldn’t join in a game at playtime if she didn’t understand how to play it.
THE TREATMENT PROGRAM
So….when a friend mentioned the ALC program and sent me the online link, I was straight onto it and even felt quite excited! To be honest, however, my heart sunk when I first got through to the website as it was all about dyslexia. That was one word that had never been used in connection with Olivia. She wasn’t dyslexic. Her visual awareness was excellent but her listening skills and comprehension were poor. I read more and more of the information on the website and each time noticed something that hadn’t struck me before ….Yes, she had found tying shoe laces difficult, ball games were a nightmare for her (she felt as though the ball would hit her face), she had difficulty understanding instructions, maths comprehension questions were a problem, she did have low self-esteem, little confidence, was unable to concentrate for long …. Perhaps this was the right treatment? Simply reading through the pre-assessment questionnaire helped with making the decision.
We took the plunge and again felt confirmed at the pre-assessment appointment. We only heard positive feedback from others …. So decided we had nothing to lose! However we were warned by the ALC team that we couldn’t expect the treatment to be a cure all, but 1 step in the right direction. We, too, have no regrets and don’t hesitate to recommend the course to others. The treatment itself was fun, wearing groovy glasses etc. and Olivia enjoyed the one-to-one sessions. The homework was straightforward but proved to be a challenge due to her extreme tiredness (this is to be expected) and stress levels were rather high! All worth it though for a treatment that only needs to be done once in a lifetime.
Areas Improved So Far: One of the first things I noticed was during the treatment fortnight she commented on something that was being said in a function we were at. Wow! Up until now I had wondered if she had even realised there was something to listen to when we were at functions! A few weeks after the treatment a Class Assistant wrote a few comments as to areas she felt Olivia had noticeably improved in. Previously, she would constantly ask the Assistant for help/checking up on what to do (due to misunderstanding and lack of confidence), she now sat quietly getting on with her work. There was a marked improvement in physical exercises and sport games. She wrote a lovely poem and was chosen to read it out in the school concert – which she coped with well. It was also commented on how she was more socially relaxed and sharing jokes etc., generally fitting in better with her peers and joining in playtime activities. The Class Assistant has highly recommended the programme to others, saying Olivia is a different child. If a child is happy at school it can make a big difference at home!!
A lot of her tension has gone, before and after school are the best they have ever been. Her SATs tests went well, fairly stress free and she was at the expected level or above in all subjects! Her hand eye co-ordination has definitely improved and we hear no complaints as to ball games etc. Several adults have remarked on how she is more outgoing. Her behaviour is more in keeping with her age and she enjoys listening to mealtime conversations when we’re with friends, something which never caught her interest before. To our surprise she was given a main part in the end of year play. She remembered all her lines – and there was a lot of them. I wasn’t allowed to help either. I personally couldn’t believe her performance, having thought the year before that she’ll never be able to do this! It clearly surprised many others too!
When you’re with someone all the time you don’t always notice changes until you stand back and look at how bad it was. Clothes being uncomfortable used to be a big issue, even down to pathetic details – this is a thing of the past now! Things are still improving and she is coping better and better with school life and challenging situations. Not everything is quite perfect yet, but …..!! It has definitely been the most effective treatment we’ve seen, by far!! One that has the widest reaching affect and made the biggest difference to Olivia’s life and ours.