Tomorrow marks 5 since I registered the Purple Learning Project. Many people have questioned why I have different projects and identities. I guess for me it has always been a balance between supporting people within the current system and leaving a legacy of methods behind for long term change.
When I set up The Homework Club 7 and half years ago, it was about creating the perfect school environment to achieve success for a wide variety of students. It was my own optimum environment. I spent 2 years studying the impacts of our approach and analysing what was different to the traditional school environments. My early notebooks are full of these observations. Very quickly I realised that we created strong more balanced individuals who were able to continue to do well in the not so perfect environments because of the time they spent with us. This brought me on to new ways of thinking. What factors does each different type of person need to feel the best version of themselves?
If I was, to sum up, the last 5 years of research into the umbrella of the Purple Learning Project, it is the study of these elements for each personality. For me an understanding of the overlap between how each person processes the world around them and the relationship this has with their personality. The environment is no longer an obstacle. They should be bale to reach their best potential regardless. I have also become specifically interested in the learning and personality factors for each type of learning difficulty and developed learning programmes to optimise these conditions. For me, it has been about developing programmes that can be done within the home environment.
5 years ago, I remember one particular meeting of many I had around that time as I sought to explain my work to people and find others to align with. The person who was head of a prominent support organisation turned to me and said: “So you wish to make yourself obsolete?”. I replied yes and gave myself a 10-year deadline to achieve this goal. The next 5 years of the Purple Learning Project will be about taking the “me factor” out of my work in order to make the methods and systems I have developed as widely accessible internationally.
I still strive for everyone to feel that they can be literate regardless of learning challenges.
I won’t lie, it’s been a lonely journey at times so far and I still don’t feel that I have met the right people to align with my vision. If I study the paths of people who have gone before me, this is often the hardest parts of their journeys. Sometimes simply finding people who get you, who you can trust and who give you an objective view of yourself can make a huge difference. It's very hard to be objective within your own head!
I have always liked the number 7. This time of the year always makes me reflective as it was the first time students flooded into The Homework Club in Blanchardstown in 2009. Many of these first cases turned out to be hugely influential in my own journey.
The first parent to ever ring me seeking help had a teenager who had not attended school for months, having dropped out of the system. He took classes with us for 6 weeks and did so well in his State Exams the school rang his mother with the results wanting to know what had changed. We worked with him for the next 3 years and hence I found myself taking on a huge number of cases with Asperger's Syndrome. I'm now known internationally as an expert in an area I never expected or set out to be.
By the following September, even though I set the school up for second level students, I found myself taking on the transition age before you start big school. By the following January, a year after my craziness to set up my own school with my own teaching methods, the youngest students were now 4.
Within this time, I had been encouraged by people to go for a number of awards. These were important to me personally as the first outside validations of my work.
I guess all along the only judge of my work, research and methods had been the results my students have received. From there I have become a top referral for many organisations. I find it sad that in many cases I am the person who people are sent to when no one else has been able to help them.
Two years after starting the school, I realised I needed to convert all my work, experiences and methods into a formal system. This meant the birth of The Purple Learning Project. I have always felt there is a balance between supporting people currently in the system and making real change for the future.
I remember this odd moment of describing the basic Purple Learning method to someone and they asked, "Who's work is this" and saying, "It's mine." What book could they read it in? The answer was none - my head. It's always been a bit bizarre to be so outside the box. To work in a way that has not existed before. The Homework Club was, for me, about proving all the wacky ideas in my own head.
Along the way in those years, I developed all these ways of working with people with a whole spectrum of conditions including: ADD, ADHD, Asperger’s Syndrome, Dyslexia, Audio Processing Disorders, Hearing Impairments, Home Schooling, Dyscalculia, Dysgraphia, Confidence, Bullying, Self Harm, Sexuality, Learning Disabilities, Gifted Children, Exam Fears, Child Development, People Development, Team Development, Business Success, Bereavement and so on.
When I started the school I had one main question in my head. Why do no two dyslexics learn the same way? Through working with so many people and conducting interviews, which allowed me to create unique profiles for everyone, I now have the answer to that question 7 years later.
I now have the recorded patterns of how personality and learning styles go together.
I reached the next major crossroads in the school 4 years into the project. The students knew what we did. I collected many of their comments and feedback. It was a magic sense of achievement having created an environment they all loved so much. Hence, the tagline became, "Develop Your Love of Learning." But the parents had no idea in many cases what the project was about. I felt I was missing part of the puzzle. I also felt that many parents had lost involvement in their own children's education.
Confidence Club was born.
I was also itching to take the projects nationally and internationally. Every time I did a radio interview I would be contacted by all these people rurally in Ireland with no support. Confidence Club has been about supporting students in their own homes, with the support and understanding of their parents.
Along the way, the methods have continued to develop in the background. It feels like a back room factory sometimes. The most significant one being in 2013, Periodic Table of the Development of Results. Nicknamed Purple Success. It brought my science and creative brain together. It is the table of the elements each personality needs to succeed in life. Whether it is a 3-year-old I am helping to talk or a 5-year-old to read or a business to grow. It is always just about people and their personalities.
With all the work I have done to date, my key focus in life still remains to take literacy and intelligence out of the same sentence. Because even after all these years, I still remember what the teacher said to me in school at the age of 7.
Dr. Naoisé O'Reilly
It was a great surprise recently for me to count up the number of countries I have students living in and to find there are now 12 across the globe. These include: Australia, Belgium, China, Finland, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and United States. What technology truly brings to education is accessibility.
So, it's that time of year again when we wrap up and reflect on what we have done this year. Reflection is such a critical part in successful development that I encourage everyone we work with to go through the process. I'm always sending 'nagging' type e-mails asking, "so, where are you at now?"
For me, I started the year being congratulated by a series of very influential and hugely successful people internationally. It's impossible to work in a vacuum and this recognition has meant a massive step forwards for me. Especially in little Ireland! It's a sad fact that we are never truly appreciated where we come from. We have beaten our own records on financial success for our Clients this year with an American client making an astronomical amount for an individual in just 48 hours after working with us. But with the Podcast launch, Purple Psychology, it has meant that we are now reaching people in 62 countries internationally. This has also meant that I needed to find a way to work with more employees and hence I created the 4 hour employee system this year. And I said, "no one will listen to the podcast." How wrong could I have been? http://purplepsychology.com/
As always, we have seen a huge mixture of clients this year. From 2 years old upwards. I have helped people to win sporting events, turn their businesses around, get promoted in work, learn to talk, read and write in some of my shortest timescales yet. It's been a year of massive research into empathy creation, speech paths and integration programmes to focus on aspects of Asperger's Syndrome and Dyspraxia/Dyscalculia. My students have expanded across the continents too.
I have also formalised the work I do with Homeschooling (www.homeschooling.ie) and made a separate project for this work. We now support students across the globe and have students in practically every county in Ireland being supported in their homes and in mainstream school. Every year the reach just seems to grow.
I know the high profile client list and the business/sport profiling work I do brings more interest from the media but for me the special moments are still in the videos I get in my inbox of students reading who have never read before, especially when it's only 6 months later and they can read the school play for Christmas. For me my work is still all about others being able to do what I couldn't do at their age or in a way so much easier than what I have had to put in to get where I am now.
Oh, I almost forgot. We also launched an App on the iTunes store this year, the 365Success Productivity App. http://purplepsychology.com/365success-app/
To think Personality Theory Research can have such profound results. I have been told again this week in Washington D.C. that I look at the world differently to everyone else. I still struggle to see what people mean. All I know is that the answers don't seem hard to me.
Merry Christmas 2015 & Happy New Year 2016,
Dr. Naoisé O'Reilly.
How People Achieve Their True Potential with Dr. Naoise O’Reilly of The Forever Method – Marie Grace Berg interviewed me on Today’s Leading Women podcast
Marie Grace Berg interviewed me on Today’s Leading Women podcast
Purple Integration Programmes® – Methods to improve the lives of People living with Dyspraxia & Dyscalculia.
Since the beginning with The Homework Club we have worked very successfully with people with both of these conditions. But like everything else we have continued to refine and prefect our methods. Always striving to incorporate in the personality factors. We now have a very refined and successful formula to achieve results across the lives of these students, beyond just their academic results.