Learning difficulties in children are often difficult to determine. They are diagnosed and treated differently depending on the school. Although there are specific tests to determine learning difficulties, there are often other factors as well, such as emotional problems, behavioral disorders, and health problems. Determine if your child has learning difficulties by checking it with a test and talking about signs of impairment with teachers and a pediatrician.
Sensomotor integration as a factor affecting academic performance
Slight impairment of sensory integration can cause poor performance at school, first manifested at the beginning of training. The concept of sensory integration involves not only the processing of sensory impulses entering the brain, but also their ordering, due to which a person has a certain idea of both himself and the environment.
If the processes of sensory integration are slightly disturbed (neurologists during the examination recognize the child as completely healthy), then a child who did not cause any concerns in his level of development may encounter difficulties in school education. New activities (such as reading and writing, as well as arithmetic counting) confront the psyche with previously unfulfilled complex tasks, the successful implementation of which requires a high degree of development of sensory integration.
It should be understood that disruptions can begin not only in cognitive processes, but also in the behavioral sphere - for example, with constant nervous strain from new social rules and learning requirements. In this case, in the absence of proper support, the child may begin to miss classes, he develops psychosomatic reactions, often this is reflected in a decrease in self-esteem. In the future, the situation only worsens, since there is no way to quickly restore knowledge gaps.
The main problems that parents and teachers notice
Difficulties in teaching a child can cause many things that other people do automatically when using muscle and visual memory (reading and writing). Since when the integration is impaired, the brain activity does not order the received sensory images, difficulties arise in the timely recall of the mnestically fixed features of the writing of letters and the sequence of arithmetic operations. It is not possible to force the student to learn by volitional force and constant repetition. Most likely, such training will only bring harm, since it limits the obtaining of independent sensorimotor experience and the possibility of developing the necessary brain structures.
Practical difficulties encountered by children in school:
- reading (dyslexia), writing (dysgraphia), counting (dyscalculia),
- integration of sensations of various modalities (to record heard words, process kinesthetic information),
- orientation in the surrounding space (find the necessary turn, correlate the speed of your movement with the oncoming stream),
- correlation of the parameters of one’s own body (for example, the distance between a notebook and a board is not available for determination, therefore, the rewritten text is uneven, letters are located at different distances and have different sizes),
- the weakness of concentration, manifested in the inability to complete the work begun (cleaning or homework), as well as plan your future (it is difficult for a child to understand how long this or that activity will take, and, accordingly, to calculate its beginning and end),
- rapid general fatigue due to tasks that exceed the child’s capabilities in complexity.
Manifestations and forms in each individual case will be different. It also happens that in some areas violations are practically not noticeable, but at the same time they are very clearly manifested in others.
Decrease in performance due to impaired sensory integration is not a psycho-emotional problem, therefore, a change in the educational approach does not lead to improvements. Unfortunately, many parents and teachers do not take this point into account, and instead of helping, supporting, and developing the necessary functions, they focus their influence through educational methods. This can lead to the exact opposite result and further reduce the motivation to study, as well as develop self-doubt and lower self-esteem of the child, worsening adaptation in the team (in such cases, in addition to solving the main problem, it will be necessary to help the child cope with psychological difficulties).
Behavioral manifestations of impaired sensory integration:
- shyness or hyperactivity
- dislike for others
- hooliganism and systematic violation of social norms,
- aimlessness of action.
Often, educational methods of exposure do not have any effect, because the child simply can not behave differently due to biological characteristics.
Classification of learning difficulties
There are two approaches to classifying the child’s learning difficulties.
- In school subjects - focused on highlighting the subject, difficult to process in comparison with the rest. With this approach, we can talk about the difficulties with reading or writing, mathematical operations. The problem in these areas can be solved by the teacher, child psychologist, defectologist and neuropsychologist, and in some cases the root causes are missed, and only the result is restored.
- The second approach to classification is based on neuropsychological features and finding out which functions are underdeveloped lead to certain visible changes. For example, the writing process alone is based on the regulation of arbitrary actions, processing of audio and kinesthetic information, and manipulation of visual images. For each process, the corresponding part of the brain is responsible, and depending on where the problem is located, a specific violation of the letter arises.
Applying the principles of the neuropsychological approach, the classification of learning difficulties occurs on the basis of the typology of errors:
- Programming and control actions. May occur:
- Violations in the form of repeated spelling of signs, as well as repetition of actions in solving mathematical problems. In a letter, this is noticeable when re-writing letters and syllables or when skipping them.
- Inattention to reading the conditions of an exercise or task, the occurrence of difficulties in planning solutions. In working with texts, this may be the inability to plan a story or to maintain a line of storytelling.
- The impulsiveness of decisions in oral calculation, which can lead to errors in simple tasks, while complex ones will be solved correctly. When writing, mistakes can be made in the simplest rules, for example, a child begins a sentence with a lowercase letter.
- Processing of audio information (sound analysis) - is manifested in the fact that the student confuses letters that are close in sound (deaf and voiced "ws", "w-p", etc.). This can affect both the pronunciation and the presence of errors in the letter.
- Holistic (right-hemispheric) information processing strategy (auditory, visual, visual-spatial). This type of violation is associated with the underdevelopment of the functions of the right hemisphere, which is responsible for the formation of holistic visual and auditory images, as well as for orientation in space. The most common manifestations:
- difficulties of orientation on the working surface (find the beginning of the line in the notebook, continue recording from the necessary place on the board, etc.),
- poor handwriting arising from difficulties in maintaining a certain size and tilt of the letters, uneven fields expanding down from the left side are also possible (due to the narrowed field of view on the left),
- the presence of errors even in typical phrases and words, such as “exercise”, “conclusion”, “class work”, etc.,
- it is possible to mix vowels, skipping spaces between words.
All the errors described are cyclical in nature, which leads to unstable performance of the child. To prevent cognitive overload and the dying of motivation to learn, it is necessary to draw up a training plan taking into account the fractional and short-term load.
The initial stage of correction is always a diagnosis that allows you to create the optimal program for each child. For example, if a child has speech disorders associated with the stereotype of the words used, short phrases, and in order to completely understand it, it is necessary to ask additional questions, then the difficulties concern the programming of speech. In the case where sentences of various lengths are used, but there is a replacement of specific concepts with more generalized ones, a large number of pronouns are encountered, that is, it makes sense to take up the level of processing of auditory-speech information. A complete diagnosis is carried out by a specialist - a neuropsychologist.
In order for school performance to improve, and the shortcomings of the behavioral sphere to be smoothed out, a sufficient development of the sensorimotor basis — the basic mental functions (thinking, memory, attention), is necessary. This cannot be achieved by requiring the child to concentrate through force and coercion, since this is not a pedagogical, but a neurophysiological aspect. Effective methods will be those that develop an exceptionally lacking level - these are natural processes of cognizing the world, such as games, running, jumping, as well as other forms of activity that expand the sensorimotor sphere.
Instead of tutors in all subjects and various developing early programs, it is recommended to focus on the development of necessary brain structures and neural connections. This is possible using the method of neurosensory auditory stimulation of Tomatis.
In addition, for the correction of dyslexia and dysgraphia, classes with a speech therapist-defectologist are necessary. The Tomatis program will help brain structures “ripen”, form and strengthen neural connections, and training with a speech therapist will consolidate and automate the necessary skills.
The Tomatis course aims to:
- Neural connections between the limbic system have matured (it gives the brain energy in the form of motivation and an emotional response to stimuli, helping the frontal lobes to make decisions and exercise control over behavior), sensory areas of the cerebral cortex (process the received visual, auditory, kinesthetic and other information) and the prefrontal cortex (responsible for programming and controlling actions, making decisions, shaping behavior).
- Carry out sensorimotor integration, help different parts of the brain work smoothly.
- Improve attention, especially auditory (since Tomatis exposure occurs through the ear, auditory attention begins to train even at the stage of sound passage through the middle ear, the method experts call this process “auditory muscle fitness”). Tomatis helps the nervous system learn to distinguish between the main and the secondary in the sound environment, increase resistance to information stress, maintain concentration in a noisy place and at increased loads.
- By influencing the speech zones of the cortex, improve the functions of reading, writing, processing of speech information and expressive speech.
How is the correction of violations of school skills in our center?
In our center, the initial consultation is carried out in the form of a consultation: several specialists conduct the reception at once (at the request of the client). A speech therapist, neuropsychologist, defectologist and specialist in Tomatis therapy (clinical psychologist) participate in the consultation. The composition of employees may vary depending on the specific situation (prior registration is required).
At the consultation, experts study the child’s anamnesis, features of his personality, the nuances of problems encountered in learning. We recommend bringing notebooks with “typical” errors to the reception, this will help in the diagnostic process. It is also advisable to bring medical records (if any): honey. map, EEG, dopplerography and other results of examinations that are on hand.
The consultation lasts 60 minutes. If necessary, an extended neuropsychological examination is prescribed additionally, since it takes a lot of time (from 2 hours or more, depending on the tasks).
After the diagnostic phase, specialists propose a corrective route for the child, which may include:
At the request of the parents, the conclusion can be made in writing on the form of the center. Often, school teachers take into account the presence of specific reading / writing / counting violations and take this fact into account when making grades.
Sign up for a consultation by phone (812) 642-47-02 or leave a request on the site.