Tot2Teen Tools

Maggie Jones

Maggie Jones

Passionate about providing children with an educational space which allows them to blossom and tools which they will learn to love.

Help your child avoid unnecessary labels at school

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Have you heard comments like these about your child?

“Craig is disorganised and keeps forgetting instructions. He seems to have a bad memory.” “Jenny is unable to sit still and disturbs the other children.” “Paul seems to be hyperactive!” “Simon is easily distracted and simply unable to concentrate on anything he is not interested in.” “Jeremy can’t follow directions and is unable to cross his midline.” “Amy confuses me, one day she understands the work and the next day she has forgotten everything.” “Peter is very noisy and disturbs the class, because he is constantly tapping or kicking his desk.”

Don’t stress, this is where Headstart  can assist your child through a sequence of movements, to strengthen the neurological building blocks responsible for the brains’ healthy development. Your child is quite possibly struggling with a neuro-development issue, rather than a mental disorder.

Let’s have a simplistic look at neuro-development

Our nervous system has millions of neurons or brain cells, which form a very complex circuitry. These neurons carry electrical impulses from your eyes, nose, skin, ears and balance sensors to the central nervous system (brain, spinal column and peripheral nervous system). These ‘wires’ are the essential two-way communication between the body and the brain. At birth, these neurons/wires are not developed and need stimulation in order for them to make connections. A neuron which is repeatedly stimulated by receiving messages from the sensory receptors or muscles, becomes well insulated, forming healthy neural paths and develops good connections to communicate with other neurons. With continued stimulation, the grey matter of the brain becomes a complex network of neurons.

When is my child learning ready?

When your child has reached a level of brain and body development that will support their functioning.

The brain needs to be able to take information from the environment, give correct meaning to that information, respond to it through speech or eye movements or stable body posture or facial expressions or writing or many other body actions. It also needs to transmit messages to the correct part of the brain or body at lightning speed.

Why are some school ready children not learning ready?

At birth and for most of the first year a child is governed largely by the lower, more ‘primitive’ brain areas. The undeveloped brain of the baby is not capable of exerting any deliberate influence on its body. Without developed neurons to carry messages to the muscles of the body, the brain is unable to control movement or many other functions. At this stage any movement the body makes is as a result of reflexes. These reflexes help the baby meet milestones like: rolling, sitting, crawling, walking, head control, muscle tone and the integration of sensory information. The new born has over 100 reflexes such as the sucking reflex, the rooting reflex and the grasping reflex to name a few. Each primary reflex has a purpose and then ‘disappears’ as it is integrated into the brain, becoming the neurological building blocks of a developed brain. They are then replaced by secondary or postural reflexes namely the blink reflex, the gag reflex, yawn and cough reflexes and the head righting reflex. Primary reflexes should no longer be noticeable in a child older than 1 year. If they are still present at school-going age, it is likely that they will negatively impact the child’s learning readiness.

How do I spot if my child has retained primary reflexes?

They struggle with poor balance, difficulty crossing the midline, poor eye movement control, mixed laterality (cross dominance), poor handwriting, poor written expression of ideas, visual perceptual problems, fidgeting, poor concentration, poor short term memory, low muscle tone, poor sequencing skills, poor sense of time, poor organisational skills, clumsy movements, slowness at copying work and difficulty learning synchronised movements.

The Headstart movement sequence is specifically designed to help integrate any retained primary reflexes which might be preventing your child from being the best version of themselves. The perfect time to use the Headstart movement sequence, would be during the 2 years before your child starts school. If this is not possible, then the movement sequence can be used to improve your Foundation Phase child’s school performance.

Hope you will join me for my next blog.

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