NLP for Poor Spelling, Difficult Reading, Slow Math

Filed Under (UnLearning Difficulties With NLP) on 02-09-2014

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Here verbatim is an issue one mother approached me with and which I deem worthy of sharing with all parents facing similar issues.  As you read, you may recognize that you and your child have long been struggling with something similar – and say “Finally!  Here’s what I’ve been looking for for ages!”  

My daughter has been tested by our school.  The results showed a composite IQ of 118 with verbal and nonverbal being similar.  Her math computation was 91 and spelling was 93.  Her listening comprehension is 134 and written composition is 140.  She is 13 years old now and had a very difficult time learning to read and knowing her sight words.  She could not go from cat to rat to hat to matt.  She had to sound out and decode each and every word.  She had some reversals, but I do not recall it being a huge deal.  Her spelling has always been poor.  She was slow at learning math facts.  She has no sense of time and how much has passed.  Her teachers have always said throughout the years that she is average and doesn’t need any extra help.  Now she is failing Spanish and not doing well in English and science.  Her teachers remark that she needs to study more and try harder.  What they do not know is that she studies a lot every night, and always has.  She would have been failing before now if we didn’t work so hard every night.  She has poor organizational skills; some days she doesn’t even realize she has homework until the teacher asks for it to be turned in.  She also has Neurofibromatosis type 1.  I worry she is part of the 50% that have learning disabilities.  But again, the school says that even her low scores in math and spelling are still in the average range.  She’s really starting to get frustrated.  What do you think?   Could she have a learning disability with scores like this?  Is there any other tests they could give?

…and here’s how I advised her:  Be prepared for the fact that you may totally reject what I think, because it’s unconventional and none of the mainstream educators anywhere in the world will tell you this, hence their “try harder” etc. recommendations which cover all, yet don’t cover anything.  But if what you’ll read here does happen to align with your belief systems, you’ll see that my approach is commonsense and will help you realize why this is all happening.

Firstly I advise that you forget all the fancy labels such as neuro-whatever-tosis etc. and especially the label learning disability.  These labels are just labels and mean nothing for your daughter’s progress in life if your daughter is wrecking her brains every night, yet still failing.  The word disability is indeed the most disabling – especially for you the parent, and I’ve expanded on this topic elsewhere on this blog, so I strongly advise that you make a habit of totally excluding this word from your vocabulary for the rest of your life and, if you must, replace it with the word difficulty which suggests that a difficulty is difficult now, but once worked through will become easy and thus nonexistent.  In my humble opinion there’s absolutely nothing wrong with your daughter other than that she has, at a very young age somewhere, learnt the wrong strategy for spelling, reading, and math, and is now applying that wrong strategy across all learning, because, one can’t blame her, that strategy is the only one she has ever known!  There’s no wonder she’s failing Spanish, English, reading, spelling, and math, because all of these are VISUAL activities and your daughter is tying to crack them AUDITORILY!  Of course that won’t work!  If we take a closer look at one of all these activities, spelling, we’ll see that all good spellers spell VISUALLY.  This means that if you ask them to spell ‘cat’, they’ll SEE the word in their imagination as a photo before they feel it’s right and read it out loud.  If your daughter doesn’t have the picture in her imagination of what the word cat looks like when written, she won’t spell it, because sound goes in time [like music] and therefore can get confused, twisted, duplicated, or parts forgotten by the brain, while a picture is in front of you all at one fraction of a second when you look at it.  A picture is in this sense much more factual for the brain than is sound and this is why the brain finds pictures much easier to take in and remember [which explains why the visual memory is the most reliable of all sensory types of memory].

What your daughter is dealing with is immensely common and happens to millions of people around the world, especially folks of the older generations who were taught English via phonics instead of visually.  Every time one of these people comes to work with me, I tell him/her that s/he needs to pack up the auditory strategy and retrain the brain to make a habit of VISUALIZING everything. Many people’s reaction is “OMG!  How the heck did I not think of that?!”

The first step is to teach your daughter to visualize words, numbers, and the content of what she reads.  The second step is to practice for as long as it takes to reach the 3rd step: making it a life-long habit.  If you wish to have your daughter work with me on this, I’ll insist that you’re sitting in the session and witnessing how I teach your daughter to visualize words, numbers, and the content of read material, so that YOU too learn and work with her. The fact that she lacks the visual strategy is beautifully confirmed in what you say about her not having a perception of passing time and having poor organizational skills.  Both these issues need visualization.  Would you be able to organize a party for 20 people without having a visual mindmap of where, when, what, how, why, and with whom would happen at the party?  Would you know that you had homework to do if you didn’t have it visually coded in your brain, in the same way as you would have a visit to the dentist or going shopping?  I hope this is now all beginning to make sense.  Intelligence and visualization are only linked to the extent that because a picture holds a lot of information in front of you within the fraction of a second during which the eye looks at it [as opposed to sound going in time like a piece of music], visual people take information in much faster and remember it much better, which accounts for people’s perception of them being “more” intelligent.  But the IQ quotients have nothing to do with how visual a person is.

Contact me for more NLP help with poor spelling, difficult reading, or slow math.

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