The Neurodevelopmental Approach to Learning Difficulties - How to Get Real Solutions

Labels represent a group of symptoms exhibited by an individual with learning difficulties. Many approaches target those symptoms. On the other hand, the neurodevelopmental approach seeks to find the underlying neurodevelopmental causes and prepares an Individualized Neurodevelopmental Plan. The neurodevelopmentalist designs this INP with a list of activities that develop the areas of deficiency. Most often, labels limit expectations rather than lead to a solution. Then the neurodevelopmentalist looks at the five paths of sensory input: visual, auditory, tactile, taste and smell as well as the three areas of motor output: fine motor, gross motor and expressive language. All of these areas are necessary in the process of neurological organization.

One specific area that the neurodevelopmentalist evaluates is the individual's ability to crawl, creep and walk in a cross pattern. This ability represents brain organization. In the normal progression, the infant first crawls on tummy like an army soldier, then creeps on hand and knees and then walks. All of these are necessary steps in the neurodevelopmental process.

Another area that the neurodevelopmentalist evaluates is short-term memory. The same activities can be used to test and develop the short-term memory. For instance, to test and develop auditory short-term-memory, a person can read off a list of digits, at one-second intervals, in a monotone. The individual listens to the whole list before repeating those digits back. The average one-year-old can remember one piece of information, a two-year-old, two pieces, a three-year-old three pieces etc. until the age of seven. Sadly, our society has become very visual and has lost much of its auditory memory or processing ability. In our society today, the average digit span for an individual seven and older is only seven.

The good news is that your digit span may increase by doing this activity two to three times a day for two to three minutes, over a period of time. This provides intensive and frequent short-term memory/processing training, which enables the use of phonics, builds attention and increases social maturity. You may also use a free website that helps develop these and other cognitive skills: (Item Span)

Additionally, a very important area is that of dominance. A person who is right-handed should also be right footed, right eyed and right eared. If a child naturally and without external pressure is right-handed, he should be right side dominant. Likewise, a person who is left-handed should also be dominant in the left eye, ear and foot. Parents can observe all of this, and in some cases, determine which side should be dominant. Other times it is wise to have a trained neurodevelopmentalist evaluate this area. Dominance relates to long-term memory and emotional control. Handedness is normally determined by seven years of age.

These and other areas make up a neurodevelopmental evaluation, which leads to an individualized neurodevelopmental plan. When this plan is consistently implemented, parents will see progress.

Article Source: Maggie Dail

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