Friday, 6 February 2015

Do we always think before we carry out an action? By Dyslexia Toby © 2015

We work with children and adults each and every day, and they are at their best when focussed and using the thinking area of the brain.
We must ensure as educators and parents that this is the case most of the time
We have several areas and invariably have to switch areas on and off for a variety of reasons such as waking and sleeping.
Our mind is the most powerful tool we have, its use is paramount to our survival.
What is the conscious mind?
We can think of many occasions when we need to be focused and use conscious thought, take maths, you are given a sum, and you process the information. It is possible that we have switched off half way through and arrive at the wrong answer, why.
How many times have you gone from A to B on foot, or maybe a car journey. You just can’t remember certain places you passed through (subconscious), and yet you remained safe and far from a danger to others.
Has your child ever said the don't like the taste of something and you know for sure they have never tried it.
Filtering and visualisation (sub-conscious) can play a huge part in so much of what we choose do or not to do.
Forgetting where you left your phone or purse, etc. for the very same reason, visualisation can help in finding the lost item!
Numbers are just that numbers and make very little sense, when we bring digits together to reduce or grow a number it requires focus for a short but very important period.
We would have a better chance as a visual factual learner to image things to attach to the numbers, such as family members or purchases.
Many with dyslexia, dyscalculia and dyspraxia that would have slow processing speed can lose the where with all during a very wordy sum, we need to be extremely alert when employing our logic and reasoning skill sets.
This would cause us to flick from conscious to subconscious, if we introduce stimuli into maths we will have less chance of our students zoning out (subconscious).
We can at very important moments drift into a subconscious state even though we are wide awake, dreaming whilst awake (day dreaming); this drift can cause us to make simple mistakes; such as tripping or spilling a drink or failing to take instruction correctly.
However, if we are fully switched on to all around us we are concentrating and for this reason using our conscious mind!
If a child in a class is distracted, maybe looking around our perhaps yawning this is a good indicator that they are moving or have moved into the sub-conscious (drifting)

What actions are controlled by our subconscious mind?
As mentioned dreaming, breathing and other vital body functions, we know from birth our brain starts to mature; however we have survival techniques; employed from our first breath and that continues regardless of our brain capacity.
I tend to have a regular breathing pattern while occupied or indeed sleeping if I decide to go swimming, something I still fear even though I can swim…my conscious takes over, and my breathing becomes very short and irregular.
This is one area where I would perform better if I left this to my sub-conscious.
I also find the same with things I am good at like playing golf; if I try to think about the way I need to play I make mistakes.
When we have certain thoughts (good and bad) we are often not in control (sub-conscious) of those actions, we can see this with instant regret after the event. Much the same can be said for those that have meltdowns, in many cases, born out of fear.
This can also follow as mentioned with bad memories; more so than pleasant experiences…I was thrown into a pool when I was a young child and that will live with me forever. We can on occasions remove some of the negatives in our episodic memory and move beyond the fear.

We can look at ways of making both of these areas strengths and not weaknesses (SWAT)
SWAT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats)
This is used very effectively within the employment sector and indeed by life coaches.
There is no reason we can’t utilise this technique in our everyday lives, be it children or adult.
Our strengths are often controlled by our sub-conscious and those techniques that we least favour can flick in and out of conscious and sub-conscious.
We can by over learning move things very successfully into our sub-conscious.
The brain has a unique balancing system; we can train in corrections that will improve most things we undertake.
Maybe we have made countless errors in say literacy/language, we can by repetition erase the error that the brain is happy to make by introducing the correction if completed numerous times.
We often use a similar technique to correct actions in others…meltdowns, etc.; shouting and conflict have the opposite effect (fight or flight).
Many of athletes use visualisation through the sub-conscious state to improve performance, and there are many ways we can learn this technique.

NB. This information is from personal experience and research and also partly sourced through the work of others. It is purely for improving the understanding of dyslexia and to offer helpful advice. Dyslexia Toby © 2014