Posts Tagged ‘learning strategies’

“Low-cost learning coach is golden.” – Doc Meek

30 Minute ADHD Consultations

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A LOW-COST READING BUDDY IS GOLDEN

Harold (not his real name) was brought into the learning clinic by his frustrated father, a single parent. “All I want to know,” said he, “is how it is possible for my boy to be in Grade 5 and still not reading properly?”

So began a somewhat tense discussion between the father and myself, a Neurological Learning Specialist at THE LEARNING CLINIC WORLDWIDE.

Different Brains Learn Different Ways

“Different brains learn in different ways,” I said to the father. “Some brains learn in very unusual ways, and the school system cannot keep up with all the variations, so they tend to teach in a few standard ways and many of the pupils learn to read using those few regular ways, and the rest tend to suffer.”

“So can you help my boy learn to read properly?” asked the father anxiously. “Most likely,” I said.

Harold attended the learning clinic for several Saturdays in a row, about an hour each Saturday. I asked the father to bring in tests of hearing and eyesight for Harold and they were normal.

Specialized Reading Strategies

I taught Harold various visualization strategies (drawing a quick rough outline of an object, such as a dog for example, and writing DOG right on the dog, not under it as a caption).

Then I said to the father, “We need Harold to be working with someone every single day for 10-15 minutes with various active learning strategies. An hour on Saturday with me won’t do the job. For one thing it’s too expensive and Harold will not make the needed progress unless he practices learning strategies daily.”

A Low-cost Learning Coach

I asked the father to find an inexpensive daily learning coach. “The lady next door? A Grade 11 student who could work with Harold every noon hour at school?”

“The learning coach does not need to have any professional credentials,” I emphasized.

“The only requirement for the learning coach is that they like Harold. ”

“And that Harold likes them. That’s it. ”

“I’ll teach the learning coach what to do, what simple learning strategies to practice each day with Harold, and you can bring Harold and his learning coach in to see me occasionally on Saturdays so we can see how things are going, OK?”

The father kept bringing Harold in every Saturday and said, “I can’t find anybody handy to work with Harold.”

“You’re wasting your money if you don’t get a daily learning coach to help,” I said, “and more to the point, Harold will not be making the progress he needs to make to be successful in school without a few minutes practice every day with the learning coach.”

An Older Student for a Learning Coach (“Reading Buddy”)

Finally, the father found a Grade 7 student to help. I was concerned the boys were only two grades apart. I was afraid they would just play around and not do any useful practice with reading.

I kept my concerns to myself.

Because the Grade 7 student was so close to Harold’s age, we decided to call him a “reading buddy” instead of a learning coach.

It was wonderful to watch this reading buddy work gently with Harold in practicing his daily learning strategies.

Now, with his daily practice in place for 15 minutes every noon hour at school, Harold’s reading skills began to soar!

The father was delighted and so was Harold!

Harold’s marks soared at school as well, and his teacher was so pleased.

The Reading Buddy Himself Struggled with Reading

I found out later that the Grade 7 student had reading problems and if I had known that I probably would not have been willing to let him act as Harold’s reading buddy.

It speaks volumes about being non-judgmental doesn’t it? The reading buddy was just far enough ahead of Harold to be of real value to him.

Because Harold’s reading buddy struggled so much with reading himself, he never ridiculed Harold about his struggles with reading.

Who would have guessed that such an unlikely pair would have made such a good reading pair?

The “take-home” lesson?

Low-cost reading buddies are worth their weight in gold!

Doc Meek, Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA

30 Minute ADHD Consultations

Need a better brain? Feed, avoid, detoxify, learn

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I just spent an hour with a man who specializes in solving chronic “unsolvable” medical problems. He is an MD with a wall full of specialization certificates. More importantly, he is highly knowledgeable, reliable, honest, trustworthy, dedicated, relentless, and kind. He also has a wry understated sense of humor. A rare human being.

He is more like a “Sherlock Holmes” of mysterious illnesses and their causes, than a medical practitioner, although of course he is both. Some of these mysterious illnesses involve both the body and the brain, and the patients may suffer from various learning problems or psychological problems, in addition to physical issues.

Detection of toxicity in the body or brain not easy

Initial investigation of a mysterious chronic illness may involve the standard blood and urine laboratory tests with which most of us are familiar. If exposure to a toxic substance has been relatively recent, there may be good evidence of the toxin in the blood serum or urine.

However, if the exposure is from an earlier time in the patient’s life, the body has usually tried to protect the person by removing the toxin from immediate circulation and sequestering it in some organ or bone or muscle or fatty tissue, including the brain.

It takes specialized testing, in some cases highly specialized testing, to determine whether we have dangerous toxins sequestered in our body or our brain.

Why is it so important to know that poisons can “hide out” in our body and brain?

Because many a person has been deluded into thinking they have no serious toxic issues (based on lab results showing no toxins in the blood or urine), when in fact their body or brain could be loaded with mercury or lead, both highly toxic substances. And mercury or lead must be removed from the body and the brain, if the person is to recover normal health.

And urgently to the point, mercury and lead must be removed safely, or the toxic issues are worsened, not bettered.

Even MDs are sometimes misled when lab results show no toxicity in the blood or urine. They assure the patient that s/he has no tested-for toxins, and may show the patient the lab results as “proof.”

This is kind of like showing dry, caked/cracked  desert earth as “proof” of no rain, after the flash flood has wreaked great havoc and all drained away. 😮

Nutrient deficiencies are also a clue to brain dysfunction

The first order of business is to drench the body/mind system in the nutrients and micro-nutrients they need for optimum functioning. Obviously, any general or specific nutrient deficiencies would be addressed at an early stage of any investigation of human health issues.

Second, avoid further toxic exposures to all incoming toxicities humanly possible to avoid.

Then, slowly and safely, detoxify. Many people try to detoxify first, before strengthening the body and this is usually a mistake unless it is an emergency, a matter of life and death, or almost that. The reason is that detoxification taxes the body/mind’s resources and we want the body/mind system to have optimal power to handle the detox.

After the toxin has been slowly and safely removed, the patient must continue to feed the body and brain the essential micro-nutrients required for health (toxin or no toxin).

Prescribed drugs may be offered as well, to assist, and these need to be given very careful consideration, with great attention being paid to possible detrimental side effects (often ignored or glanced at cursorily).

I like to err on the side of caution and conservatism when it comes to drugs. In some cases, they are essential and life-saving, and hopefully temporary. In too many cases, however, side effects can be damaging to future welfare and drug dependency is engendered, even in cases where superior alternatives exist.

Obviously there is wisdom in getting a second opinion. And a third maybe, remembering always what my friend says:

“It’s best not to ask a barber (only) whether you need a haircut or not.” 😮

Recently, I was delighted to see in a book I was reading [Dr. Edward Howell (1995), Enzyme Nutrition: The Food Enzyme Concept] this healthy statement: “It is a sign of wisdom, not cowardice, to seek a second or third opinion.”

Learning strategies must be engaged

Beyond the healthy biological steps just mentioned, the person must take steps to teach his body and mind how to work properly again, much like a person would need to learn to walk again, after having a leg in a cast for a lengthy period of time.

And in some cases, where the person has never had good health, it is a case of learning for the first time how to manage the body and the brain properly, for good health and for good function. Such new learning strategies are essential, as a vital adjunct to good physical health for both body and mind.

Happy cognitive functioning!

Doc Meek

Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA; and South Jordan, Utah, USA

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September 2020
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