Dear Fiona Millar I follow you on twitter..... Here is my rant!
The problem - a therapist's point of view.
Some children go to school not having enough developmental skills in place. Those with minor problems are never picked up. Problems such as tracking and co-ordination. If that child is able to read (usually by sight only) then they are seen as progressing. The phonological skills required to decode are sometimes missed altogether at the expense of poor spelling.
A child with poor concentration yet good behaviour may be considered to be just 'lacking in attention skills.' The link between poor concentration and inability to comprehend sentences, long passages or understand maths is never addressed as possibly having working memory deficit.
Whilst children with minor problems fall through the net. On the other hand a lot of children with bigger problems spend years waiting to get the extra help by means of getting a statement.
The numbers of children with major problems are growing, those with minor problems will never get a look in as funding is always an issue. Teachers are not able to identify the problems (as there are so many) they need to get through the curriculum. They, teachers, are not trained to understand the link between dyspraxic 'symptoms' and poor sequencing skills...so much so the logical process of understanding maths is nil.
Without the needed developmental skills the affect on literacy and maths is huge. If a child's tracking is not addressed processing information in sequence is affected as their eyes dart around instead of moving smoothly from left right.
What is needed -
The right type of exercise to help improve tracking skills, improve bilateral integration, improve auditory connections and better motor coordination. We can do this by increasing play time activities. Getting children playing more! Skipping, hop scotch, pick up sticks, all the old school playground games required to build the required co-ordination skills.
We owe our children to provide cheap effective help which compensate for the hours these children spend in doors when they should be out fishing with make shift rods. Children, in my opinion are failed due to lack of play and forcing them to study before they are developmentally ready.
There are many products and solutions on the market. These solutions are inflicted on children but they are not as fun or addictive as play ground activities of thirty years ago. A solution needs to be inexpensive to implement, easy to schedule be implemented in the classroom and most of all enjoyable. The enjoyment factor needs to be considered at length. Once an activity is considered enjoyable we have buy in from children of all ages.
I have looked at a number of solutions suited to a school environment: Learning Breakthrough, exercises by Dr Portwood, Brain Gym and recently Bal-A-Vis-X.
I went to train in Bal-A-Vis -X ( Balance, Auditory, Vision Exercises) as I it ticked all the boxes. It addresses all the key issues that under pin cognitive development. Most of all children think it is fun.
This is a protest to how schools are dealing with the problems and an opportunity to open the discussion at to what may work ….we need to do something.