Saturday, 20 January 2018

How can we improve retention

How can we improve retention by Dyslexia Dublin  © 2018

Retention rates are so important; throughout our lives from early to later years.
Those with Spld tend to have great long-term memories and poor short-term memories; why is this!
We can accrue part of this to a lack of stimulation and different styles of tuition/instruction.
We need a clear and unobstructed path in order to encode (receive) all types of instruction and perform a given task.
When we are receiving visual instruction our attention rates tend to be far higher than if we are receiving aural instruction…this in part is due to our slower processing speeds and can also be a cause of slow processing speed along with poor short-term memory.

Something came to me very recently and that is dreams, can you remember dreaming about school I can't, well certainly not English or maths...why?
It's my belief that dreams are a form of processing visual stimuli.Our dreams can often blend with various scenes.An example, I was watching a tribute to Karen Carpenter the other night and a few days later she was having dinner with us.And her songs played a part in the dinner.
This is long term, so why have I mentioned this? It's an important part of our retention and points to the need for visual stimuli, feed the brain in this manner and it will retain most of we see but all of what we do.
Retention speed has a serious effect on how we take information from the whiteboard or power point (syntax).
We also have problems when we are forced to break words down to aid spelling and replicating from the board to paper; we can often look up two, three or four times to transcribe a word correctly. This will leave us well short come revision time as we only retain parts of words and indeed part of sentences.
Many left hemisphere linear thinkers tend to remember sentences with ease, and some even remember paragraphs in exact detail.
This can also cause problems with handwriting and legibility, this generally happens when a child has to look up at the board to spell certain words. They tend to catch up the others in the class by writing faster.

Many of us forget or fail to process a name of a person during an introduction, why, we are too busy processing a visual image of the person. This is why we never forget a face even though we have forgotten the name.
We lose things very often, like our keys or phone, quite often misplacing them when we arrive home, why, we don’t tend to find the journey home as stimulating as the outward journey. With the exception of leaving somewhere like school.
The brain process is so complexed, and anything can cause us to misinterpret or completely miss instructions!
Noise is a major factor, but we can also include a poor presentation or garbled or overly technical delivery.
Stress can be another variant in blocking pathways to retention. And slow processing speed as mentioned in previous articles.
Stress can have a detrimental effect on the many memory functions and also brain function,
Stress manifests itself in a variety of ways and levels; higher levels can be either intrinsic or extrinsic. We can take maths, for instance, this can be Intrinsic and a complicated formula or any give maths task can be triggered, extrinsic can be triggered by a prior fear or thoughts creeping into the mind.
Poor sleep patterns are another reason for poor retention; as is dehydration.
We can improve poor retention and slow processing by using many of the aforementioned processes.
Others can play their part. Schools can keep an eye on room temperature and the circulation of fresh air.
Many schools still seem reluctant to allow water to be consumed in the classroom, although many take a modern proactive approach.
Getting your children to read out loud and even at a low volume so only they can hear will improve retention overnight (introducing more senses)! Go a stage further get them use to recording their voices the results from this are amazing. I am learning a language at my ripe old age and still use visual stimuli and voice recordings to improve retention.
Bringing as many senses as possible also improves retention.

NB. This information is from personal experience and research and also partly sourced from the work of others. It is purely for improving the understanding of dyslexia and offering helpful advice. Dyslexia Dublin CETC © 2017

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Sunday, 7 January 2018

Why is anxiety affecting our youngsters by Dyslexia Dublin © 2018

I was driving into the office this morning, they had a teacher on the radio who uses mindfulness in his school. I was very keen to listen to their thoughts on anxiety and the need to use mindfulness as a tool.
Just before that the newsreader mentioned the Doomsday clock and how it has moved closer to midnight, the point at which we measure the destruction of the Earth.

Could these two things although different have a connection, I’m sure they do.
There is not one of us that have not had an anxious time in our life, it helps that it’s not in isolation but a common feeling shared by many. We have so many highs and lows in life and all have moments of pure stress
This feeling occurs due to chemical releases when our patterns change from positive to negative situations. Fear and worry affect Children too.
Why are we now noticing this more and more? Children have far greater access to adulthood, far more than I ever had.

Our parents ushered words like seen and not heard. Was that a good thing?
I think it was to some degree, most children now have adult heads on very young shoulders. Children listen to social media far more than we ever did.
When Donald Trump got elected we had a week of children coming into the centre and all the talk was Trump and what will happen to us all.
We talk to other adults and don’t realise that every word is being mentally taken in.
Just like today with the mention of Armageddon on a show timed when children were on the way to school. I could just hear the questions being thrown at parents as to what was that about.
We should protect our children and their fragile minds, let them be children first and adults when the time arises.
If your child experiences a sudden change in attitude, they might become withdrawn and show a sudden loss of confidence. Get some early advice from your GP. Talk to others on support groups there are many sharing these same concerns.

What are the common causes of anxiety?
There are many factors. I suggest that all parents keep a close eye. Meal and bedtimes are a great opportunity to notice changes.

Changes to reliable patterns
We often worry about life’s events and in this modern day those worries are shared, years ago our parents would harness many of these events. Now the child is aware of the global downturn and lack of funds that provide for the niceties in life
Years ago there was a stock answer, it’s not your business or concern.
A sudden loss in the family can be a cause for worry/anxiety in both children and adults. They often lose out on the support as the adults are dealing with arrangements. Even the loss of  a family pet can cause anxiety as the safe secure balance of life has changed.
Moving to a new school requires a settling in process and support needs to be there for this.
Additional workload
Many parents are forced to work and often long hours due to the high cost of housing.
If you look at our neighbours around the globe who have a lower housing cost and less pressure there are more choices available. Part-time working is often not an option over here. Children benefit hugely in other countries as a result of one parent staying at home or working part-time, this leads to lower stress levels in general.
Children attend many after-school clubs, like hockey, hurling/camogie, horse riding, dance the list is endless. Many children then have to come home and set into homework. We often see that after-school activities are driven by peer pressure.
Children are quite happy to partake, however, they have to carry the extra load. This can also encroach on family time as it also creeps into the weekends, Gone are the days where you see families walking around the local park or bowling.
Problems within the school gates.
Does your child show a reluctance when it comes to school? The cause for this could be wide. It doesn’t just have to be a child with a learning need such as dyslexia or dyspraxia. It can be down to class dynamics or even school
Additionally, some children who are having difficulty when taking tests or performing in front of a class for presentations or reports will manifest these difficulties into fears and anxieties about school, as well as other life situations.

Greater global awareness
So many students come to us carrying the issues and troubles of the world on their small shoulders.
We are so aware of the increase in unrest on our doorstep and around the world.
We are living in very different times and need to harbour these things from our children. We had little awareness of such issues as our parents stopped us from watching such programs or asking questions in relation to issues.
I can remember how uneasy the situation was in 1963-64 with the nuclear standoff. My parents never mentioned it until years later but you knew something was wrong. But that minimised the worry and stress. Now the children hear it letter and verse.
I would have had to look up the word stress in a dictionary when I was growing up.
Social media has a big part to play and the same goes for video games producers. Parents can turn the tide on this.
Social Media
Many children are suffering as a result of social media. This was something we didn’t have to deal with. The pressure is on to be the smartest, coolest and best-looking person on the planet. Most of this is down to the pressures of social media. You go into a coffee shop and all the kids are taking selfies…why?
Some children have an ability to cope with this and shake of the stuff that they don’t like. There are many who don’t and it gradually grinds them down and leaves them in a shell.
Shared or Learnt Anxiety
I grew up with a fear of water and dogs. Even though I can now swim and have owned dogs I am still very cautious. This gets passed on to your children and is natural as they can sense your apprehension.
This can be the same with schools, dentists, flying etc.

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