What is a Learning Disability
How Do You ‘Get’ a Learning Disability?
Our research shows that all learning disabilities originate with processing problems. For some people, the brain simply has not developed the connections needed to turn the things that are being taught into usable information. Whatever activity is most difficult, whether it’s math, spelling, paying attention, reading, organization, etc., the root of the problem lies in processing.The reason Learning Technics is so overwhelmingly successful is because our entire program focuses on developing connections so the brain can correctly process information.
Learning disabilities stem from the inability to process information correctly. There are 10 Essential Neurological Processes Critical to Learning. When one or more of these processes is not functioning correctly, information is inaccurately processed in the brain and proper learning cannot take place.
In our groundbreaking Physio-Neuro Training we systematically identify and strengthen the following neurological processes.
|1. Focus—the ability of a student to keep his eyes and mind on a task long enough to gather all pertinent information. Focus can have a profound effect on how the student learns. If the eyes and mind cannot focus long enough to gather all the relevant pieces, the brain must guess at the information and fill in the blanks. This can be one reason a student repeatedly misreads words or misunderstands concepts because a vital part of the needed information is missed. Students with poor focus many times get labeled ADD or ADHD.|
|2. Cross patterning—it has long been known that certain kinds of information may become trapped in various areas of the brain by ineffective processing. A strong dominance on one side of the brain over the other can cause processing difficulties. Through the activities used in this program, communication between various parts of the brain improves and information releases. These activities enable the non-dominant side of the brain to become more active and its processes more accessible. These exercises are “cross patterning” exercises.|
|3. Motor match—motor match is the ability of the brain to respond within a given time period. A weak motor match is often a problem for students who have difficulty with reading fluency. This means that all involved parts of the brain do not coordinate to efficiently process information during the process of reading. When this occurs, the student will read with an extremely choppy, or uneven rhythm. The student may also repeatedly misread words.|
|4. Mental picture—mental picture or visual memory is particularly important in the process of reading. The brain treats each word as a shape. Each word creates its own unique shape, which the student must immediately recognize and decode. A person with good visual memory will have instant recall of a word after six to seven exposures. A person with poorly developed visual memory might need 45 to 50 exposures to a word before he develops this instant recall. Consequently, the individual will learn to read but at a much slower rate and only with great effort. Visual skills have other important functions as well. As we read, we must put words and phrases together to conceptualize the meaning of words. If we are able to form a clear “mental picture” or visualize what is taking place in the text, we are easily able to conceptualize meaning. If we are able to visualize the step-by-step procedure as a math concept is being explained, we are easily able to understand and recall the procedure. These skills also play a major part in helping us recall the correct spelling of words. We must remember what a word looks like (bouquet for instance) in order to correctly spell it (if you spell words phonetically, you are not good at spelling).|
|5. Tracking—one of the major visual skills needed to perform the act of reading is the ability of the eyes to track. During the act of reading, the eyes must accurately follow the lines of the text and move precisely from one word to the next. If a student has not developed this skill he may constantly lose his place or skip lines or words. It is a surprising fact that some students do not naturally develop this critical skill. In one study (Koslowe 1995), “Visual tracking was found to be the major visual deficit in a group of 100 elementary school children referred to a center for reading disabilities.”|
|6. Figure ground—the process of figure ground is the ability to focus on the “figure” or the important stimuli against a background of competing stimuli. The volume of stimuli coming to the brain at any given time is incredible. The brain should automatically and rapidly sort the pertinent information from the insignificant. (If a student responds appropriately, he will ignore the person tapping a pencil in the next seat or the noises in the hall and focus on the important information being given by the teacher.) If the sorting of information does not properly occur, the brain is then bombarded with an overabundance of stimuli and a student may respond with inappropriate behavior. Mental focus may vary depending on an individual’s level of interest in information given and the amount of competing input the brain is required to filter out. People with attention deficit disorder or ADHD have low figure ground.|
|7. Direction—direction is skill of movement or sequences. Seeing “b” as “d” or “p” as “q”, reading “was” as “saw”, not writing from left to right and not knowing right from left are all symptoms of low directional skill. When direction is low, even two or three simple directives at once can be very difficult and setting a goal with a sequence of steps to reach the goal seems impossible. People who struggle with direction are sometimes called dyslexic.|
|8. Position in space—is the skill we use in determining where we are in relation to our physical emotional world. When this skill is low, one may become physically disoriented. This may occur when trying to find a car in a parking lot or you may lose your place on the page as you read. Frequently low position in space will cause an inaccurate perception of one’s relationship with others. “How close is our relationship?” One may frequently vacillate between shy and obnoxious. This skill is essential to understand geography (where things are located) and history (when did various events occur) and how they all fit together.|
|9. Size—is a skill we use in understanding volumes. Size is used in concrete as well as abstract environments. We use size to interpret information arriving in the brain from all senses. We use it in interpreting how loud, how sweet, how pungent, how far, how large a task, how much time it will take, and how big the situation is. A misperception in size will cause major problems when associated with a task, schedule, or reaction to others. When perception is too large tasks may seem overwhelming. When perception is too small tasks may be left to the last minute when completion is impossible. Schedules can be extremely frustrating when “they don’t give me enough time” or over or under reacting to others may seem as insensitivity or extremism.|
|10. Shape—is the mental skill we use to give structure to our world through categorization. All information fed through our senses to our brain is processed according to shape. Tastes can be sharp, sounds dull, and touch rough. Our linguistic system is based on shape. Speech is sound symbols attached to shape, for example, a cow is initially defined by its shape. The written language is merely a series of shapes we call the alphabet, with their accompanying sound symbols placed in varying orders. If a person has trouble with shape he will often have difficulty with conceptualization, the structures of life, language, reading, math, and sometimes speech. The difficulty is often inconsistent. For example, a parent knows a child understands the material because he had correctly responded a moment earlier. Unfortunately when asked for the same information a second time it may be processed incorrectly. The parent or teacher, not understanding the weak underlying processing skill, will assume the child is not paying attention or daydreaming and both become very frustrated.|
See how strong your 10 Essential Neurological Processes are with our Home Evaluation for Learning Disablities !