Purple Psychology Episode 41: https://itunes.apple.com/ie/podcast/purple-psychology/id981266976
Most Educationists take the summer off. We use this time to refine and develop what we have learned in the last few Academic years. Like our students, we are always moving forward and learning. I will talk about this new Method in more detail over the coming weeks. But needless to say, I'm excited! I think the results we have had contradict everything that has been understood about empathy. In particular, I see this as a way for students to grow and develop their personalities without social anxieties and labels such as Asperger's Syndrome. I would predict that cases will never in future be given a diagnosis of Asperger's. I never set out to "fix" people. It has always been about creating the best versions of themselves but in recent years I have seen that our results mean that students no longer exhibit classically labeled conditions such as Dyslexia, Dyscalculia, ADHD, Asperger's Syndrome or a whole host of other challenges. They move beyond these labels and recognizable challenges.
If the way we are was purely genetic or environmental - kids in the same family would be the same. They would react to situations and challenges in the same way. Your birth order wouldn't matter. Children from abusive or alcoholic families would act out their challenges in the same ways. Kids from highly nurturing environments would all turn out perfect. Issues such as self-harm and eating disorders would not exist. All kids in all families would feel identical to their siblings and parents. No-one would ever feel like a misfit.
So, our personalities determine how we react and what we do. They determine an integral part of who we are. The most important part. For example: No two dyslexics from the same family in the same school with the same challenges will be the same. They won't get the same results. They won't be good or bad at the same subjects.
The family and school environments are the same. The dyslexia is genetic and inherited with that same family. But their coping strategies, reactions and lives will be completely different.
This is why personality matters so much in education. It is why one size doesn't fit all and why just because we focus on the dyslexia that education has not appeared to change for the better. When we focus on personality needs - everything changes. Then we can help anyone to be successful regardless of any issues, difficulties or differences.
This is at the crux of what’s different about the Psychology of Success because you’re looking at not just what makes up people or what their challenges are - you’re looking at what they need in their personality to succeed. Plus, looking at the effects generationally that have been built up environmentally but concentrating on their reaction to it because of who they are.
Dr. Naoisé O’Reilly.
This is why when I now do Psychological Assessments of young children I am very focused on a fun enjoyable experience - a trauma free zone if you like.
I was 8 when I had my second Psychological Assessment and 16 when I had my third. I have lived with hereditary Profound Dyslexic Spectrum Disorder since birth and it still impacts of every aspect of my daily life - but I developed ways to cope.
I remember there were pages and pages of how I did not measure up to other children my age. There was never help given to my parents and I to assist me in working the way I needed to work. The only focus was on what I could not do.
Hence, this is why I started to develop my own methods of learning from 4. I was also acutely aware at 4 that I was completely incapable of doing what the School and Government Shrinks wanted me to so.
These days, I set children and families up for success no matter how “behind” the rest of the world perceives a child’s cognitive development and behaviors.
Every family I have dealt with personally, and that is thousands of people at this stage, are set up to succeed in the precise ways that their child is capable of learning and developing.
Personality is a massive factor in development. Some people are more independent that others. They may walk faster, they may be quieter. Some people are born chatterboxes and others do not speak until much later on. Some will not play by themselves others are loners. No one can be put on a scale and expected to fit.
Even children who have hearing impairments and a great big long list of conditions I deal with can develop better and learn faster with the right interventions. It does not matter what it is - no two children can rise to their challenges in the same ways.
How can a professional determine if a 4-year is up to task with cognitive development?
Most professionals rely on standardized test. Personally, I do a session with the child using my “toolbox.” This involves a whole series of games with everything from Playdoh to magnets. This allows me and my Team to test abilities across a whole spectrum without the child even being aware of it. All the testing is completed without the child feeling like they are being examined.
What if the 4-year old cannot do all the cognitive skills for his/her age?
Should a parent worry?
I do not deem tasks age appropriate. I strongly believe development is a little bit more complex and I think it is unfortunate that a lot of learning difficulties are determined on an age scale. This ends up making parents feel very bad about their child’s development. During my initial assessments, yes sure it is always very obvious to me what people cannot do, but it is equally obvious if they have fantastic visual pattern recognition or memory association skills. These can be used to develop the areas that are lacking. Just the same ways I achieved a First Class Honors Degree followed by a Doctorate when told as a teenager that University was “beyond my status.”
I think the system sets up parents to worry. But one of my key tasks in taking on any new case is to put everyone’s mind at ease and make everything doable. Families always walk out the door with a way, structure, plan an if necessary Team support to do everything.
How can a parent help a child develop these skills?
I set up programs for parents to use the everyday in their own home to help their children. I think one of the disadvantages of our technological world is that it is very removed from other people and parents. Yes, I do like to use some Apps but I like to develop skills using less remote games. Child cookery, for example, builds time management skills and the use of a radio in the background helps children filter information.
Dr. Naoisé O'Reilly Expression Developist™
Don’t use florescent lighting.
Don’t use energy saving bulbs in main work lamp.
Use 25W bulb - normal filament bulb in desk lamp.
In office space - even turn off the florescent lighting and use your own desk lamp!
Don’t have a white desk! Mine is red. IKEA have amazing colourful table top options. Or use a large desk blotter that is coloured with non-white paper. Surrounding ourselves in colour makes our workspace more creative.
Try to sit beside natural light.
Have natural light to the side of you while working on a computer - not behind you causing a glare on the screen. Also in front of you it offers little help.
Don’t sit in front of a projector. Get some serious distance! They are the biggest cause of eye strain / damage after florescent lighting. Like the sun - never look directly at projector light.
Turn down the light setting. Increase the colours and adjust the contrast so it actually suits you.
Some computers naturally set the light - check it as the day goes on that it is not automatically raising the brightness too much for you.
For large amounts of writing or report reading - invert the colours to white on black.
With Company work - create your own template form for word processing that is not white - this has been written on a personalised template and exported to a PDF when completed.
Pick a font that suits you - We purchased one especially for our work. It is called ‘Monolith.’ Tahoma and Helvetica are good choices. Times New Roman should be deleted from society as the worst font ever to read from. You are looking for a rounded font where the big letters and small letters look considerably different. The font colour we use is very dark purple instead of black.
Kindle and iPad settings are done separately.
Don’t use traditional paper.
Use squared / boxed paper for detail work or graph pads for layout and blank paper for ideas. Plan ideas out on larger sheets A3/A2.
Always use coloured paper where possible. Not white.
For study notes - it is good to use blank paper of different colours. Set up a colour system that helps you to remember ideas going together. You should then be able to see your page in your head when you need to recall the information!
Pick notebooks to use that suit you. Moleskine are great because the paper is off-white and offers paper choices. Escape school copy books where possible! Or stick coloured material into them.
On a white board the best colours are Blue and Purple. These are our most used pens ever!
If you are planning out ideas on a white board - buy your own set of markers. Evans in Mary Abbey, Dublin have a good selection or Eason’s (formally Read’s Nassau Street). Pick finger tips if that suits you.
Use markers to write ideas out instead of pens. They have quicker flowing ink and don’t slow down our thoughts. We think faster than we can write!
Don’t use black pens/markers. They are the hardest colours to read.
Coloured Post-Its can be great for mapping out ideas. They allow us to change the order of the ideas, form, structure effortlessly and then expand the ideas even more.
Pick stationary that suit you.
Don’t use hard roller pens and especially not biros! They are very hard to write well with.
Try Pilot Hi-Techpoint. They have two sizes 0.5mm and 0.7mm pick what suits you.
Try fine liners too as they slow our writing and it can be neater. Also loads of colours!
Dr. Naoisé O’Reilly
From my experience helping students across a whole spectrum of dyslexic conditions of all ages - dyslexia boils down to difficulties across 4 areas.
1: Visual Perception
2: Auditory Processing
4: Information filtering
This sounds a lot simpler than the endless technical jargon of psychological reports.
We see differently, we take information into our heads differently, it comes back out of our mouths and on to the page differently, we swap orientations and don't know our left from right and we become overloaded in certain situations and can't filter the information to focus on what is important. Dyslexia Spectrum in a nut shell. All you simply have to do is to work on these core skills and work in the way that suits the learner best - match their learning style to overcome the area or areas that hold them back.
Dr. Naoisé O'Reilly, Expression Developist™.