Underlying causes of learning and behavioural difficulties

Underlying causes of learning and behavioural difficulties

From birth onwards a child uses his senses to discover his own body and the world around him and the brain responds by creating neurochemical pathways to develop skills and the supporting structures and networks necessary for reading, writing and problem-solving activities like mathematics. The development of the supporting structures and networks in the brain depends on movement. The age between 2 and 6 seems to be critical as muscle strength, coordination, balance and spatial skills are developed in this period of time. Learning, language and behaviour are linked to the functioning of the motor system and the control of movement.

For a child to successfully learn things such as riding a bicycle, cutting out forms neatly, or learning to read, it is essential that all the underlying systems of the child such as the vestibular system and, for example the tactile system, work well together.

School success seems to depend upon a child being ready to learn. Schools generally expect a child to be able to sit still, pay attention, hold a pen/pencil correctly, including that the child’s eyes be ready to follow a printed line of text.

If any of the questions in the list below is true of your child, systems like the vestibular system, proprioception, kinesthesia, tactility and muscle tone may not be working together as they should.

Is your child:

  • Restless, fidgeting, easily distracted, impulsive?
  • Having problems with concentrating/paying attention, not finishing tasks?
  • Avoiding movement or always moving/running/jumping?
  • Always falling, being clumsy/uncoordinated, and knocking things over accidentally?
  • Running into furniture, walls or people?
  • Having difficulty distinguishing between left and right?
  • Avoiding noisy places/placing hands over ears?
  • Having difficulty with tying shoelaces/getting dressed?
  • Getting tired quickly, slouching, and leaning against objects?
  • Having difficulty reading, showing delayed language development?
  • Responding slowly to verbal commands or not responding at all?
  • Not tolerating light touch at all, reacting to touch by hitting/kicking?
  • Very emotional and frustrated when things are not right?
  • Refusing to cooperate, being stubborn or inflexible, and overreacting?
  • A fussy eater?
  • Having difficulty to cut with scissors and colouring in between lines?
  • Always in trouble at school because of distracting/hitting others or other negative behaviour?
  • Already diagnosed with having ADD/ADHD?
  • Using prescribed medicine such as Ritalin or similar?

The vestibular system (balance and movement) has receptors in the inner ear that that register every movement and every change in head position. It is also stimulated by gravity and this system thus forms the basic relationship of a person to gravity and the physical world. This system in the inner ear is responsible for balance, eye movements, and awareness of space and essentially for all of our movements. The vestibular system also affects emotional moods, activity levels of the child, as well as focus and attention. If the vestibular system doesn’t function in a consistent and accurate way, the interpretation of other sensory messages will also be inaccurate and inconsistent. 

Tactility (sense of touch) processes information which it receives primarily through the different types of receptors in the skin that are stimulated by touch.

Proprioception (body awareness) processes information about body position and body parts, which it receives through the muscles, ligaments and joints.

Muscle tone (tension in muscle): It refers to the amount of tension in the resting muscles and is necessary to maintain posture. It is regulated by the vestibular system.

Kinesthesia (muscle memory) is the memory that muscles have for movement; the sense of relative muscle, joint and tendon position and the sequence of shifts in specific active situations.  If an activity is repeated several times, it is committed to kinesthetic memory.

To help unravel the possible underlying causes of the child’s learning and behavioural difficulties in the systems discussed above that supports learning and behaviour, we have a course that can help identify possible causes, and we address it through movements focusing on neurodevelopment (the central nervous system including the brain, the peripheral and autonomic nervous systems), so that these systems can support the child’s learning and everyday functioning.

We have achieved excellent outcomes for children in the past. One mother reported: “It is as if a switch was turned on in my child and her teacher is pleasantly surprised that she can now sit still and concentrate.” Another mom reported: “His marks improved from 60 to 80 in only two months!” We use a detailed questionnaire to help identify the possible causes. This form needs to be completed for us to evaluate your child and to give you feedback and further details on how to proceed. Click here if you want to solve your child’s learning difficulties

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