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Big Bear Bespoke Education Ltd       01483 894858 enquiriesbigbeareducation@outlook.com HOLISTIC. ACADEMIC. INVENTIVE. RELEVANTDiscover the joy of learning again  

DYSLEXIA, DYSPRAXIA & DISCALCULIA

Arun Court School is well-placed to support students with these needs with a full range of interventions as well as therapies. Sadly students come to us experiencing other mental health conditions which have started with these issues, which in themselves are learning needs not mental health needs. Late diagnosis, lack of resources in schools, traumatic experiences and lack of understanding from friends all contribute to increasing anxiety around school or general low self-esteem.

 

Often students who arrive with eating disorders, PTSD, school phibia, separation anxiety and depression will have these accompanying needs. We always focus on potential and it is very important for these young people to understand that other testing may show their intelligence level to be high, eventhough they struggled within the standard school system. 

 

For such students we first work on their mental health and self esteem, then put in intensive tuition and support for their learning needs. Learning styles analysis allows us to direct students towards 'quick wins' where they can experience success and often recognised certification in learning activities where they can excel - thus starting to raise their self-esteem. 

Dyslexia and Mental Health - recommended reading

Book by Neil Alexander-Passe
Dyslexia and Mental Health
Dyslexia is a complex condition that affects not only learning but every part of life. Experience or fear of social stigma can lead people with dyslexia to camouflage the difficulties they face, to withdraw and to adopt negative coping strategies, particularly if they lack adequate support, identification and intervention. This can have lasting impact on their emotional health. Neil Alexander-Passe is an experienced researcher and a special needs teacher in secondary mainstream education. He also has dyslexia. Neil uses his personal and professional experience to shed light on the complexities surrounding dyslexia and examines psychological theories such as ego-defence mechanisms and learned helplessness that reveal how people deal with its emotional impact. He offers guidelines and advice, illustrated with real life examples, about how to help people with dyslexia avoid harmful coping strategies and learn to deal with stress, anxiety and low self-esteem in more effective and psychologically positive ways.

 

Dsypraxia & Mental Health - article by Ashwin Bhandari / Dr Sarah Jarvis MBE (Full article at https://patient.info/news-and-features/why-are-there-so-many-misconceptions-about-dyspraxia)

Before I understood that dyspraxia was more than 'clumsy child syndrome', I would get incredibly upset with myself over minor discrepancies, such as misplacing an item of clothing or being late to an appointment.

I would be frequently late for lectures at university, and for meeting up with friends, and I even lost jobs because of tardiness. It was soul-crushing as I convinced myself I would be known as someone who was intentionally lazy. Even now, I have to make special arrangements for time management, which makes me feel self-conscious about explaining dyspraxia to people outside my immediate friendship group.

Research from Goldsmiths University found that those with DCD have higher levels of emotional distress than their peers and are frequently anxious and downhearted.

Dr Sally Payne refers to this as 'anticipatory anxiety'. "If you know something has been difficult or you failed in the past, then that would make your emotions worse when you're put in a similar situation in future."

She says: "Overriding that hyper-heightened sense of anxiety around the risk of something going wrong or your difficulties being exposed can be hard, even if you have a diagnosis."

According to Payne's charity, this anxiety likely affects teenagers the most, because of the expectations and pressures of success placed on them by the adults in their lives.

Payne says: "As we reach adulthood, we have to do more challenging things, which can make you feel like you are not achieving your potential. A dyspraxic adult might think: 'Why can't I do these things that are in my head? I know, I should be able to achieve them but my body doesn't want to make sense today.' That mindset certainly impacts on mental health.

Whilst there's no cure for dyspraxia, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and mindfulness therapies are usually recommended. I constantly set reminders on my phone for things I need to get done in the day - otherwise I can forget and it usually becomes a problem later. Procrastination is something I still struggle with quite a bit - but I'll work on that another time ...

Payne says: "My message to employers is: Don't make any assumptions. What they need to do is to sit down with the person and say: 'Right, which parts of your everyday life are you good at and which are the bits that are challenging?'

"Sometimes it will take a couple of jobs for the person with dyspraxia to understand the environments that support their performance. You've got to fail a few times. It can take a toll on your mental health, but finding ways of organising yourself and focusing on your strengths are great ways of dealing with difficult situations. No matter how embarrassing it might seem at work, there's never any harm with asking for help with reminders or getting a colleague to show you how something is done."

Despite the long list of apparent shortcomings associated with dyspraxia, people with the condition are often more hardworking, creative, empathetic and willing to learn from mistakes. Apps such as Mindmup can help organise your thoughts and tasks without you feeling like you're being overwhelmed. Whilst motivation for some things may dwindle, dyspraxic people often have specific areas of interest which can be explored with plenty of enthusiasm.

Dyscalculia and Self-Esteem

 

Dyscalculia is a childhood disorder that affects the ability to learn arithmetic and mathematics in someone of normal intelligence, as compared with those of the same age who are receiving identical instruction. It is not a mental health disorder, but rather a nonverbal learning disability that causes difficulty with counting, measuring quantity, working memory for numbers, sequential memory, ability to recognize patterns, time perception, telling time, sense of direction, and mental retrieval of mathematical facts and procedures. To someone with dyscalculia, learning and performing math is like trying to understand a foreign language. Dyscalculia may also be referred to as math learning disability, acalculia, developmental dyscalculia, math anxiety, math dyslexia, or numerical impairment.

 

Whilst not a mental health disorder, sadly discalculia is still under diagnosed in schools and understanding / strategy research is far behind that of dyslexia. Being overwhelmed by seemingly foreign concepts, when everyone aroudn you seems to understand, chips away at self esteem and further conditions which are mental health related can sadly develop. 

 

SOURCES OF HELP

These services are not associated with us. We are not responsible for the quality of service they provide, we are recommending them based on the positive experiences of some young people known to us. By inclusion in this list nor are we suggesting that we are in any way affiliated with these servcies. 

ANXIETY UK - Support, online counselling, magazine, advice 

Text line: 07537416905

Info line: 03444775774

www.anxietyuk.org.uk  

YOUNG MINDS.

www.youngminds.org.uk

Website provides support for young people, professionals and parents. Young people who feel they are having a mental health crisis can get instant emergency support by texting YM to 85258

CAMPAIGN AGAINST LIVING MISERABLY (CALM)

depression and suicide prevention charity for men and young males. Very useful overnight support line 5pm to midnight.

0800 58 58 58 

OCD UK - advice, online counselling, support and magazine. Dedicated youth services. 

www.ocduk.org

03332127890

PAPYRUS - suicide prevention young people's hotline 0800 068 41 41

www.papyrus-org.uk 

An eating disorder support service - smaller than some of the bigger associations, but specifically aimed at young people.

01482 718130

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