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In order to understand why some kids spell phonetically, we need to look at the early childhood developmental sequence in a different way. The contemporary understanding of the developmental sequence has us seeing a child’s development in a rather gross way; however, it doesn’t answer the question of how we can ever perform tasks such as sitting, standing, walking, talking, etc. It is this failure to answer this most basic of questions, which underpins our lack of understanding of how human beings can perform some truly amazing tasks and why things have gone wrong for the kids who struggle.
Ultimately, phonetic spelling is indicative of a developmental disorder, where the child continues to perform at a lower than expected level, simply because they are unable to progress through the developmental sequence as required. At their core, all actions we take in this world are in response to something we have perceived and, in order to perceive, we need to be able to process and integrate sensory information. Consequently, a child’s breakdown in task performance can always be traced back to a breakdown in perceptual performance and, if we address their struggles from here, rapid and profound resolution of the struggle typically occurs.
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In children who struggle, the reversal of letters and/or numbers is common; the reversal of words is uncommon and the reversal of whole sentences is rare. But all reversals have one thing in common, they are caused by
A breakdown in the capacity to form relative
inter-relationships between visual cues
So what does this mean?
At the core of our capacity to process and integrate sensory information is our capacity to relate pieces of information to one another, in order to make sense of our world and everything in it. Just think of a jigsaw puzzle, and how the pieces need to be fitted together in the correct way so that the picture emerges. This is what we are doing at the most basic level within our perceptual performance, and we are doing this constantly across all of our sensory modalities. However, we have to have a very specific skill, and it needs to be working properly in order to do this effectively and efficiently. That skill is the capacity to form inter-relationships between those pieces of sensory information.
Forming inter-relationships naturally allows patterns of sensory information to coalesce – just think of the jigsaw again and how, if we put all the red pieces together, we get to see a pattern in the picture. Fundamentally our capacity to recognise and construct patterns is at the heart of our ability to make sense of the world, but it is our capacity to form those inter-relationships, which allows those patterns to coalesce.
Most things in our world, including objects, environments, situations and thoughts are comprised of a multitude of patterns; however, all of skills, abilities and actions of the body are also comprised of patterns. It is no mistake that we speak of motor patterns and speech patterns, etc, and, these two areas of performance, are excellent examples of how truly profound, our capacity in pattern recognition and construction, and the formation of inter-relationships, actually are.
With a new school year having begun, there has never been a more important time than now to help your child have their best year at school ever. VisualPerceptual specialises in working with children who struggle at school, treating the cause of their struggle and allowing them to enjoy school, to thrive, succeed and to be the best they can. VisualPerceptual programs are focused on long term solutions and we are currently offering a special 'Back to School' program, and you can find out more about it here.
VisualPerceptual offers a FREE 'Skype Consultation' to assist parents in determining if their children would benefit from our program. This is a no obligation consultation, meaning there is no requirement that you commit to having your child complete The Visual Perceptual Therapy if you make use of this consultation.
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Our performance exists in chains. All chains have an origin (in perceptual performance), are comprised of various links and express themselves in the world by way of the actions we perform. That performance we see is the consequence of an emergent process, arising from the point at which we are perceiving this world and everything in it, and cumulating in the actions we take as a result.
What we are seeing in the performance of those everyday tasks, is the consequence of layer upon layer upon layer of sensory information, interwoven with some very specific skills, abilities and processes, scaffolded together as our task performance. Added to this, is the reality that everything we do right now is consequence of absolutely everything we have ever performed previously and how we have refined this. It is absolutely true that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, because that combining together of all of our integrated performance, in a staggering variety of ways always produces some incredibly outcomes. We may take our everyday performance for granted but it is truly a spectacular feat.
Walking and running began with the first kick of our leg, as a foetus in the womb and it has never left us; it was only ever added to. Walking or running did not occur in isolation, nor are they just a simple action. They are the consequence of considerable refinement of performance over time, scaffolded together with a phenomenal amount of sensory information and experience.
The level of our performance and its refinement comes down to the volume of sensory information we can process in any one moment. Any disruption in perception, regardless of cause, will always result in a decline in performance. It’s really very simple, if you can increase the volume of sensory loading you can deal with in any moment, whilst remaining aware, calm, attentive, open and allowing, then performance will improve relative to this. There are two aspects required to do this:
Natoya Rose is an Occupational Therapist and developer of the clinically based programs, used to refine visual perceptual performance
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