I am genuinely horrified at the support this recent TEDx talk has received. I feel it is the biggest regression in education in 100 years. As someone who has successfully worked with thousands of students internationally, and got them all to high achieving results and a sense of belonging in academia, I cannot stand the idea that education is becoming elitist again. I have received Ability Company Status for making education accessible to all.
Academics make too many assumptions - which I have had my own personal battles with over the years. Despite it all, I have earned a Ph.D. and a First Class Honours degree. My students are always heartened by the fact that if I could do it - so can they.
TED and TEDx talks generally enhance our World and make everything possible for people. I am horrified over this talk because it is so small minded and exclusive in its nature.
Not everyone can pick up a book and read it to learn. Not everyone can see the book. Not everyone can spell to write or hold the pen. Do not be presumptive in thinking all visual impaired people are not visual learners. Many of them are! All of us who work with students on the autism spectrum know that they process the World very differently to other students. Their visual and auditory processing has marked differences.
My success stories with students have been down pure and simply to the fact that I encourage them to work in the learning style that suits them - despite whatever perceived disabilities they might have.
I myself am still very much unable to distinguished phonic sound frequencies and never learned to spell in the way it is predominately taught in school. I have learned to read and write through purely visual techniques. I have brought this gift to many others who are now avid readers - despite years of torture in school and feeling inadequate. I get excited when parents tell me their children will not sleep because they are reading too much or now teaching their siblings to read their way.
I hate the idea that kinesthetic learners can be great at sports in school and rubbish at everything else. This is not acceptable and even our most successful sports heroes still anguish over how badly they did in school.
Practical people are great at the practicals in school but only get half the marks in the subject because the theory defeats them. Our auditory learners are in constant trouble for talking and often labeled as disruptive chatter boxes. The number of students labelled as ADHD seems to be growing annually as these students struggle to fit into the constraints of school and find it excessively boring. I certainly do not feel we need to blame our parents for our genes or feel that education is unattainable in any way.
We have a duty to understand, care and incorporate these learners into our education systems - not blankly dismiss them all as not existing. These are many of the reasons why students with learning difficulties and impairments have been marginalised for decades.
A better outlook for me has always been that if we get it right for these people we get it right for everyone. I hope people will start to stop and think before they blankly share this very irresponsible TEDx talk. I have not even touched on the personality factors involved in education. Most enlightened Educationalists agree that one size does not fit all. TED is supposed to make us think about our fellow people we share the Planet with.
Dr. Naoisé O'Reilly
I have had a gut feeling over the last number of years that it makes no sense to me when I am contacted to take on cases with both a diagnosis of A.S. and A.D.H.D. For me it has felt like 'oil and water don’t mix.'
Over the last 6 years I have evaluated all the new students and clients of all ages spanning 5 to 75 years. I now see many strikingly clear patterns that explain my earlier feelings logically.
The first important point is that all A.D.H.D. students, regardless of age, exhibit what I see as multiplicity. This is the ability to take in information in all 4 learning styles. I wrote an article on this in 2012 when I first saw clearly why so many of the students who come to us struggle in conventional school. They simply don’t get to learn the material in enough different ways simultaneously and they get bored! It’s worth noting that we have never had a diagnosis of A.D.H.D. in any of our learning environments and that we don’t ever see the tell tale effects of A.D.H.D. behaviour. Another scary fact is that in conventional education we start to lose multiplicity from the age of 10 and in many cases it is gone completely by 15 - without intervention. We become the linear thinking people the system has created.
I recorded a short video introduction to A.D.H.D. and behavioural effects we see including Diffuse Focus™ where our attention is always being dragged away to hide what we can and cannot really do.
So, where A.D.H.D. students show multiplicity - A.S. students are slightly more linear and show a very different set of Purple Processing Scales™. These are the scales I have developed to understand how we take in information from our world and how we process the information to retain it.
There are marked differences in the visual and auditory Purple Processing Scales™ for Dyslexia Spectrum, A.D.H.D., A.S. and so on.
I have always felt that there is a 'lost in translation' element to A.S. You ask a question and get a very different answer from the one you are expecting because the question has been interpreted completed differently.
You have never met a quiet A.D.H.D. student and you seldom meet what is viewed as a disruptive A.S. one. A.D.H.D. students tend to be remarkably good at presentation and general chat, whereas A.S. students tend to be very quiet and reserved - until they find their confidence or their subject.
Auditory learners don’t just need to learn by listening - they also have to talk out the ideas and ask endless questions - hence they are often seen as chatterboxes in school.
This means that A.D.H.D. students naturally have a form of self-expression. Whereas A.S. students, with their different Auditory profile, can lack self-expression. This is why it is so important for us to help these students to write their inner thoughts and ideas. A.S. students can be seen to have such whacky ideas that their writing is not always received well in response to conventional school work and they can lack structure. Also, A.S. students, before they gain confidence, can appear to give you the answer in the shortest number of words - which matches their confidence in speech. We have developed ways to overcome these traits very quickly. Ironically, A.S. people can go on to be amazing writers - and with certain use of their Purple Processing Profile they can learn to spell much easier than people on a pure Dyslexic spectrum! Of course, there are many people coming to us that have an Auditory Processing Disorder (A.P.D.) who are wrongly diagnosed altogether. Understanding personality of course plays a vital role in all of my work. I don't think it is possible to separate out understanding of personality and understanding of processing. You have to look at both together. This is why at all of my initial sessions I am creating a profile for both, Purple Profiling™.
So, I was correct 6 years ago - there is a world of difference between an A.S. and A.D.H.D. diagnosis and they don't have the same Purple Processing Scales™ - which I have now proven! Expression is key to all of our successes.
Dr. Naoisé O'Reilly, Expression Developist™.
P.S. For the record, I don't even believe that Aspergers and A.D.H.D. exist in the ways the establishment view them. My new challenge is to start debunking these areas in 2015!
In February 2009 I started a school, The Homework Club® as what I saw as my lab space in order to develop new teaching methods and understanding of learning. Since then through a number of projects these are the methods and theories that I have developed:
Purple Learning Project®: Understanding of setting up educational environments for all and working simultaneously with all learning styles, difficulties and conditions in the same room.
Purple Profiling™: Unique profiling methods to understand all learners and work effectively with them in the shortest time possible. Now expanded to all business employees and business situations. Focus is on success for each person.
Purple Development™: New development theory to understand patterns in education and to change the Educational Blueprint™. From this a new approach to education and a new focus on expression was developed, Expression Developist™.
The Periodic Table of the Development of Results™, Purple Success™: New unique method and theory to understand the individual elements to get successful results with all ages and individuals in the shortest time possible. Applied at all levels in education and all sized companies, situations and individuals globally.
Purple Processing Scales™: Understanding the individual learning styles and how they work in different situations. Which has lead on to a theory, The Pressure Cooker Effect™.
Purple Success Timescale™: Theory of the development moments in individuals from Child to Adult and their significance in dealing with situations. How Successful You Feel for Life™.
Diffuse Focus™: A new theory on the reasons behind ADD and ADHD. How to develop a new learning approach to accommodate these.
Forget Phonics Reading Method™: A new approach to teaching reading specifically for individuals with dyslexic spectrum reading difficulties. Typically a student can now learn to read and write in 4 weeks.
I have also put significant work in to developing specific programs to get successful results with students with Aspergers. I have developed a number of new programs for specific school issues such as the Primary to Secondary school Transition, Expression Club™ for dyslexic learners to keep them on top over summer months, Dyslexia organisation workshop, Maths Orientation studies for Dyscalculia, Supporting students at home with Aspergers through homework and a Purple Pre-School Success™ program to start dyslexic spectrum students ahead in reading and writing before school. I have currently been putting a lot of work into developing new theories for working with students with Auditory Processing Disorders and Dysgraphia.
Dr. Naoisé O'Reilly Expression Developist™
Using Audio Books to enhance focus, comprehension skills and vocabulary for dyslexic spectrum students
I got my first cassette player at the age of 7 - I still can clearly remember all of the books I listened to over and over. I started using my first cassette recorder at the age of 12 in secondary school to record all my lessons so I could listen back to them - I upgraded to a MP3 player/recorder by college!
Now as a dyslexic adult I insist on reading daily to keep up my skills and I'm secretly chuffed at having read 27 books this year!
However I still listen to audio books for series that I feel are beyond my reading and I feel that I would miss out on...
I prescribe audio books for younger students like a medical doctor. For younger students who are book-phobic it gets them into reading and liking books - they don't realize what the are missing out on! It also helps with focus and relaxing the brian. I will talk about this more in my future sleep patterns article. The biggest thing I learned at 7 was that I could memorize the story by listening - it thought me the auditory compensation skills that I still rely so heavily on - in college my fellow students were fascinated that I could remember word for word the lectures despite no notes as I wasn't able to ever take dictation. I would later correct all my class mates notes as I used them for my degree as I have had the time to take the lecture in and understand it rather than worrying about writing. So audio books teach us how to focus while just listening.
Many dyselxic spectrum students struggle with comprehension. Again with audio books we can learn to focus on the context of writing and reading. We learn what to expect from lanuage and where it goes best together. This later helps us while we are reading - it's like we go into auto pilot working out the text from the context without even realizing what we are doing!
Lastly a great benefit of audio books is learning words! Like many dyslexics I simply didn't have the words to say or write at an early age as I wasn't learning them from books. We all know the students who talk better because they read or are read to or they spend more time in adult conversations - they always stand out as being more "educated" to us. Dyslexics quite often are seen as poor at communication as they speak a lot in "things" and "stuff" and other small bity words to fill the gaps of what they are trying to say. Audio books can help to fill these gaps very quickly!
As dyslexics all have huge imaginations I always recomend books that open up new worlds - or even better are like the world you live in only differently. This is why Harry Potter has got more dyslexics to read than any other series ever.
You can download the Harry Potter Audio Books directly from http://www.pottermore.com/
The next series I love is the Dark materials or Northern Lights series as I see them by Phillp Pullman. These can be found on iTunes, Audible and the BBC http://www.bbcshop.com/audiobook-boxsets/phillip-pullman-his-dark-materials-trilogy/invt/9780563529286
For every young student I recommend Dr. Seuss - He is amazing. The app store for the iPhone and iPad has some amazing interactive audio book apps - The Star-Belly Sneetches is still my favorite.
For older students I recommend the Twilight sage, any of the Agatha Christie books or plays, Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh, Dick Francis & Felix Francis, Donna Leon books, Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling. Boys will probably enjoy Frederick Forsyth or John Le Carre which may be too difficult to read. For both when older any books by Dan Brown or The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith can be good debating books on larger world issues.
Dr. Naoisé O'Reilly Expression Developist™
Well that's the 1st mistake - thinking about the "teaching". If we instead look at the learners - the students and look at the world from their perspective we may begin to not only accommodate everyone but have them reach their full potential. Most of all have them be happy and enjoy doing it!
So if we take the learning nation of Ireland - what are they like?
Well we have a nation of sociable chatterboxes that have a huge number of successful athletics when you think about the size of the country. We make an impact wherever we go. We are also very generous again for the size of Ireland we contribute hugely in charity donations, peace keeping and volunteer work . We are hugely proud of anything irish!
So in simple terms that makes us Auditory, Kinaesthetic learners that need huge amounts of encouragement and praise. We really care about what everyone thinks of us, so like most other parts of the world we are a largely extrovert society. We need to work with others in social settings.
The Purple learning method ebook is now available for Download!
In this live setting I talk about what the purple learning project really means and the impacts I hope it will have on the future of the school environment.
Dr. Naoisé O'Reilly