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’.
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
• 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
• 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.
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
• 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
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.
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.
What is involved in an assessment?
The Extra Lesson intervention
program involves you and your child or adolescent in an initial
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
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.
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