Dianne Craft’s Unique Diagnostic Program
In a private consultation, I spend approximately five hours of time with the parent(s) and the student. During that time I use various methods I have developed to search for where there may be a “block” in a child’s information processing system. I tell the child that the reason that I am seeing them is because I work with smart children who have to “work harder” than we want them to have to work at some parts of learning or focusing. My job is to find out WHY the child has to work harder and show him/her a way to make learning, focusing or behavior much easier!
The first hour and a half are spent finding those struggling processing areas. The second part of the session is spent showing the parent and child how to correct the processing “glitch” and how to use specific vitamins and nutrients to help the child focus easier on tasks. Specific nutrient therapy has proven to be very helpful for the child with behavioral issues. The areas that affect learning that I explore thoroughly are:
I want to see if the child is uniform or mixed dominant. This gives me information as to the reason and depth of struggle the child is experiencing in the writing process. I also watch to see how a child makes certain letters. Whether he makes his o’s clockwise or counterclockwise tells me how he is “hard-wired” for handedness. How a child makes f’s, k’s, q’s, b’s, d’s and y’s gives me a great deal of information as to the amount of energy that is required by the child in the writing process. Often a child will struggle with writing, avoid it, or only complete half of the assignment, not because he is “lazy” or unmotivated, but because he is beginning the writing assignment with “half” a battery.” That is, he tires so much more easily than others because of the stress in the writing system that can be corrected. These children often made written reversals longer when they were younger, could spell a word correctly orally, but leave a letter out when writing it, refuse to write in cursive, and make a great fuss when given a written assignment. There is a physiological reason for this, and can be corrected. I show the parent and child how to perform a daily exercise that will correct the processing glitch, helping the child be able to “think and write” at the same time, with much less stress.
There are five parts to reading, and the most basic part is the mechanical ability of the eyes to easily track from left to right, the process that is essential for “fluency” in reading. The convergence, or eye teaming, is absolutely critical for a child to become a recreational reader. This is the area I suspect as being problematic when a smart child does not like to read on his own. All the phonemic awareness training in the world will not be helpful, if the eye tracking is not smooth, and the child needs to work at keeping his letters still, or keeping the spaces between the words. If a child is reading “no for on” or “was for saw” or “put for but” I know that his eyes are not working as a team, and he is experiencing visual confusion that is making the reading process unnecessarily difficult. I will then show the parent and child a daily eye exercise to strengthen the converging ability and the crossing-the-midline ability. This difficulty with eye teaming is more prominent in a child who is left eye dominant, and in a child who did not crawl long as an infant or used the army crawl instead of the normal heterolateral crawl. Many significant changes are seen in a child once the eye teaming has become easier. This is particularly true for a child who suffers from dyslexia. We now know how to correct that problem, and get the child on a successful reading road.
3. Crossing the Midline Ability
In the reading process, the left brain is responsible for decoding a word while the right brain gives meaning to the reading, and brings the fluency by automatically processing the eyes from left to right. In the writing process, the child can “think and write” at the same time, when the left “thinking” brain hemisphere and the right “doing” hemisphere are integrated. Many times the ease with which this process of brain integration is accomplished can be seen be the ease with which a child crosses the kinesthetic midline. If a child can not perform a cross crawl exercise while standing, we call that child homolateral and know that we need to work to make that process easier for learning to become easier. If a child can successfully execute the cross crawl exercise in a standing position, but cannot perform an easy math process such as adding or subtracting while doing the cross crawl, we know that the child is having to think about the exercise, and that it has not been taken over by the automatic hemisphere. When a child has not internalized the cross crawl movement, many information processing areas are negatively impacted. I will show the parent and child a very specific series of Brain Training sessions to do with the child once a week, that will greatly serve to more efficiently integrate the left and right hemispheres of the brain effectively taking the stress out of the learning system. This is a therapy of sorts, that the parent will be trained to do with their child. It is one of the most effective techniques for impacting and many times totally eradicating a learning disability.
4. Auditory Processing Ability
There are four auditory “channels” as we think of them: how a child hears his own internal or “silent voice,” how a child hears individual sounds, how a child sequences or orders sounds, and how a child hears information from others and stores and retrieves it. I determine the strengths and weaknesses of these areas, and then set up a corrective plan for the weak areas that were found. If a child can hear his own silent voice, and hear individual sounds, and sequences sounds easily, but has difficulty in the fourth area of hearing others easily, I look into the area of focusing and attention, which is usually impacted in the nutritional intervention area. However, if a child has difficulty with focusing and attention and also has one or more of the other auditory processing areas weak, I know that we need to look at the auditory processing “glitch” in order to eliminate the difficulty with hearing and understanding what others are saying. When a true auditory processing problem is present, it is like listening to a radio station in a car, while driving away from that signal. Some parts of the conversation are heard, while other parts are totally missing. This can be very frustrating for a child and make it look like he’s not paying attention, when in reality he is missing parts of what is being said. These are also the children who are repeatedly saying “what?” or “you never told me that.” This is a very correctable problem, using weekly Brain Training sessions that the parent will be taught, and important nutritional supplements, particularly in the essential fatty acids and lecithin.
As mentioned before, reading has five parts to it: 1. Eye tracking 2. Decoding or phonics 3. Sight word retention 4. Oral reading (reading ahead) 5. Converting words to pictures for comprehension. I will check all of these areas and find out how the child is processing while he reads. I will also find the child’s approximate reading level. For the areas that are weak I will train the parent to work with the child to strengthen them. Brain integration techniques are very important in this area. Using colored overlays or a pencil to help the eyes track temporarily, training a child how to convert words to pictures, teaching phonics in a right brain manner using color and pictures for easier retention of the sounds and aid in decoding long words, and teaching a child how to store sight words for easy recall are all techniques that we will use. However. the brain integration therapy, when it is completed by the parent once a week over several months, will accomplish what no technique could, which is to make all of these processes automatic.
6. Right Brain Memory Strategies
Many children are right brain dominant students that are learning with left brain curriculum. There are wonderful techniques that a child can be taught that convert left brain curriculum into easier learning and retention with right brain strategies. These methods work for students from kindergarten to college. Parents are frequently amazed how quickly their child will learn something I present in the session, using a specific right brain strategy. This is something the child will use all his/her life.
If a child has an auditory processing problem, we need to do two things: begin means to heal the auditory filter using Brain Training and nutritional means and teach the child how to bypass the auditory learning method as much as possible by converting auditory information into visual information. For example, in the memorization of information as is required for spelling, math facts, grammar and phonics rules and history dates, right brain strategies are extremely beneficial while being an easier way to learn. In a consultation session the child will be shown how to use his “photographic memory” for spelling words. He will be amazed at how fast and easy this process is. I have used it successfully with students for the past ten years as well as teachers in many school systems who also have achieved the same success. Spelling is particularly easy to learn when using the right brain methods. The child does not have to struggle for years with the memorization of multiplication math facts. This can be done easily with right brain strategies. The same is true for phonics rules. I will show the parent how to bypass these rules, and with picture and color show the child how to see the pattern, thereby learning many more words quickly. We usually see a reading growth of two years in one year using this easy decoding method. One very popular strategy is that I show primary children how to add and subtract without fingers, manipulatives or flashcards. It’s a right brain technique that has been used successfully for years. For the homeschooling family, I will help them construct a curriculum that will work for their child without the frustration that may have been experienced before. Finding how a child learns is a very important part of teaching effectively. Parent training is a large part of this consultation session.
If a child is experiencing difficulty with focusing or staying on task, whether or not he has a diagnosis of ADD or Hyperactivity or has problems with temper tantrums, irritability, mood swings, anger, aggressiveness or excessive fear, we know that the child’s body/brain chemistry is unbalanced. Many doctors such as Dr. Jay Lombard, a neurologist who has written The Brain Wellness Plan, state that thanks to the latest research we now understand the link between the brain and the child’s digestive system and his immune system, and how when this delicate balance breaks down, neurological problems result. Eighty percent of the time, children who are experiencing attending or behavior problems have had their gut ecology completely overhauled by the multiple use of antibiotics the first three or four years of their life. Since the neurotransmitters, such as the all important Serotonin, which Ritalin and most of the antidepressants affect, is made in the “gut”, we can see why a child’s digestive system is very important for easy focusing, attention and even temper and behavior. The immune system is run by the essential fatty acids that the body has to work with. In this country that is precious few. Before I see a student for the four hour consultation, I will have sent a detailed questionnaire to the parent to complete, giving antibiotic history, and symptomology that might point to where the problems lie, whether in the child’s digestive, immune or neurological system. The last hour of the consultation, while the child is free to play with game boys and other toys I have, is spent with the parent going over that questionnaire and giving a detailed week by week nutritional supplementation program that is designed to bring the attention and behavior areas under control. I have received hundreds of reports from parents telling me of wonderful changes they have seen in their child’s behavior, memory ability, learning ability and physical health using these very simple nutritional interventions. Children have regularly been able to reduce or totally eliminate stimulant medications using natural supplements. Bed wetting has stopped. Stomach aches cease. Behavior has greatly improved. Headaches are reduced or totally eliminated. Mood swings are gone. Sleep comes more easily. Concentration is much better. Temper tantrums turn into rarities. The child is calmer and much happier. These are common occurrences with the use of the proper diet and nutritional supplementation for a child. God has many ways to heal a child. We just need to find the one for you!