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Parents have found that children and adolescents with dyspraxia; dyslexia; ADD or ADHD; fine and gross motor problems; auditory processing, reading, maths and spelling difficulties have greatly benefited from doing The Extra Lesson®. Parents have reported that they have been able to understand their child better and at last move forward. For children, with attention problems, it provides the option of a ‘drug free’ approach. For all it is a holistic understanding that provides a picture to make sense of how the child is doing the best they can with the way they perceive the world and what they are asked to do both at school and at home. As a parents it means you can let go of some of the frustration you have often been experiencing with a child that is not ‘fitting into the system’.

Frequently Asked questions about The Extra Lesson

1. What is The Extra Lesson?

The Extra Lesson is an assessment and intervention program originally developed by Audrey McAllen in the UK and is based on the holistic developmental perspective of Rudolf Steiner's philosophy of education. Recent research is supporting the link between learning difficulties and child development in the first seven year period (See Results section).

2. What are some of the common characteristics of children or adolescents who would benefit from Extra Lesson?

• Diagnosed as ADD, ADHD, Dyspraxic, Dyslexic, an Auditory Processing Difficulty or as Gifted and underachieving
• Performing below age level academically, or in others areas appears to be bright
• Avoiding reading and handwriting tasks
• Difficulty with social relationships
• Easily frustrated or blames others, anger attacks or outbursts
• Awkward or tight pencil grip, poor handwriting
• Skips lines when reading, loses place,
• Reversals in handwriting/reading or reversals persisted longer than peers
• Easily distracted, short attention span
• Behaviour problems at home and/or school
• Disorganised and/or loses things
• Clumsy or accident prone
• Poor balance, lack of co-ordination, low muscle tone, car sick as youngster
• Difficulty remembering or following instructions
• Appears not to listen (no hearing problems), needs things repeated, difficulty with phonetics
• Over emotional or hypersensitive, mood swings
• Low self esteem
• Confuses signs in maths
• Ambidexterous or mixed dominance for different tasks
• Difficulty learning or performing new task

A cluster of three or more of the above indicates that your child has some developmental difficulties and would benefit from an intervention such as the Extra Lesson. (Adolescents may have had some of the characteristics at an earlier age and have found ways to compensate).

3. Why does my child have learning or behavioural problems?

• Disruption of a child's early development and initial sensory learning experiences can interfere with the subsequent development and learning as the child grows older.
• The first seven years of the child's life are primarily focused on the physical and sensory development of the child and lay the foundations for all later academic learning and behaviour. The analogy can be made of a house with faulty foundations, in that the house is structurally sound however cracks in the walls may appear. If the child has 'faulty foundations' then later learning may require additional effort and the learning process for the child may not be an easy or enjoyable one.
• Learning is a spontaneous process in most children that comes from curiosity, so a child who finds learning difficult or one who has to put in extra effort all the time may end up feeling frustrated and the end result is low self esteem.

Common interferences to early child development:
• Problems or accidents during pregnancy
• A difficult, prolonged, too quick, or interrupted birthing process
• Illness e.g. ear infections, tonsillitis or the need for a lot of antibiotics
• Time in a walker, jolly jumper or limited movement opportunities
• Excessive passivity e.g. lots of TV, game boy, computer games
• Trauma or emotional upset in the family life
• Adverse reactions to medication or immunisations
• Allergies and food sensitivities
• Post natal depression
• Accidents in childhood
• And many other interferences to early development Sometimes the cause is unknown and often the circumstances were unavoidable in the parent/s situation. The main focus is identifying what the developmental issues are for the student and doing something about these rather than focusing on the past that cannot be changed.

4. Why is Extra Lesson different to tutoring?

In The Extra Lesson we work on the idea of giving the child or student a second opportunity to learn by working on the underlying causes so that learning can proceed unimpeded. At a later date after the underlying issues are addressed the student can go back to acquire the learning that was missed earlier if necessary, although this is often unnecessary.

The Extra Lesson intervention process can take up to a year and learning can then proceed with enjoyment. Then the student is free to learn for a lifetime, not just catch up on yesterday's school work.

5. What is involved in an assessment?

The Extra Lesson intervention program involves you and your child or adolescent in an initial assessment.
The assessment covers the following areas and standardised tests:
• Parent interview about early development and the areas of concern
• A reflex assessment
• A reading test to assess reading accuracy and comprehension
• Maths and Spelling test
• Dominance and laterality assessment
• Fine motor skills (e.g. handwriting and co-ordination)
• Hand-eye co-ordination
• Overall co-ordination, balance and rhythm
• Spatial awareness and body geography
• Eye movements
• Memory and auditory processing
• Behaviour checklist
• General impression of the student's sense of self esteem and general wellbeing.

The assessment shows the areas that need to be addressed to assist the child to overcome the problems they are having in learning and behaviour. It provides a picture of how the child’s development can be recapitulated to allow a second opportunity to learn and function more easily in the world.

An Extra Lesson intervention program involves weekly sessions with a trained practitioner who will work through an individualised intervention program. This will address the underlying developmental difficulties behind the presenting problems or concerns. A short 5-10 minute individualised daily home program is also set.

The Extra Lesson session will include movement, co-ordination, speech, drawing and painting exercises to work on the student's difficulties and the 1:1 intervention process rebuilds the student’s self esteem. The length of time required for the intervention program varies with each child and the time available to parents to support the daily home program. The majority of students have completed their program in 12-18 months.

Parents may be referred to a doctor or other professionals with experience in the area of learning difficulties e.g. a behavioural optometrist for vision and eye movement problems.

6. How would I know my child could benefit from The Extra Lesson intervention?

If you feel your child is of average intelligence and is not enjoying school or is frustrated with learning then The Extra Lesson would make a difference to your child, especially if you found a cluster of characteristics (listed in question 2) that fitted your knowledge of your child. Parents often know what their children's issues are, although at school your child maybe managing, you may see the extra effort or frustration involved for them in learning or managing their behaviour. Students with a diagnosis of ADD or ADHD most commonly have underlying developmental issues and if the opportunity arises to address these issues it provides the student with an increased ability to control their behaviour and learning. Please contact us. We look forward to helping you and your child.

To enquire Click Here or call:
Lalage Craig 02 9980 7891 in Sydney
or Mariane Judd 0402 133 382 in Canberra

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