Jake, a twelve year old boy was thought to have a classic history of Dyslexia, and was seen by a specialist following a Psychological Assessment. Although such assessments are valuable and provide lots of detail of childhood development, they do not necessarily provide an understanding of the underlying problems and treatment that might be needed.
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Jake: A case study
The report on Jake included the comments that he did not crawl, was slightly short sighted and was often anxious, struggled to concentrate and had poor personal hygiene and would respond aggressively by biting when frustrated.
Reading and Writing were Difficult
Reading and writing were major problems putting him way behind his classmates, and Jake found it difficult to explain what he wanted to people. Along with so many other children Jake had suffered from eczema most of his life and was prone to catching colds and infections.
Jake Failed Standard Tests
On examination Jake failed the standard hearing tests, and tilted his head to one side, was totally dyspraxic, had marked weakness of the right little finger and had a positive Babinski sign on the right (a retained primitive reflex).
Crawling is a very important aspect of development as it promotes learning of cross-cord reflexes essential to the development of postural reflexes. Many children bypass this stage and become bottom shufflers instead.
Although Jake initially had a label of being Dyslexic it was clear that he was also Dyspraxic, had signs of ADHD and sometimes was obsessional.
Jake was sent home with a set of exercises to perform specifically designed to meet his unique needs. Two weeks later he was again seen, reassessed and treated at the clinic. He was sent home with a computer programme that can be modified to meet the individual needs of the patient. In this particular case Jake had to use the programme daily for two sessions of just six minutes. After two weeks the clumsiness had gone, his confidence was rocketing and his school teachers had reported back to his parents the remarkable changes they had noticed in him. They were unaware at that time that he had any treatment.
ADHD per se is characterised by behavioural problems in reacting to an average situation and the diagnosis based on the history of the manifestation of three types of behaviour:
- Inability to perform everyday tasks/distractability
- Impairment to control impulses/impulsivity
ADHD is caused by a problem with the reticular activating system – the attention centre of the brain – itself due to the immaturity of certain areas of the brain. This late development and resulting under functioning may be in the cerebellum, pre-frontal lobes or more diffuse affecting the right or left cerebral hemisphere. In 98% of boys it is the right cerebral hemisphere that is at fault.
Children have Difficulty Gathering and Processing Information
Under functioning may be caused by two principal factors – the level of stimulation of the brain or the biochemical substrates to the brain. In essence this means that these children have great difficulty gathering and/or processing the information from the environment and then trying to make sense of it.
Fortunately, with greater knowledge and understanding of the mechanisms at work new treatments are now available to tackle the problem without the use of potentially harmful drugs. Computer generated treatments can go right to the heart of the problem.