Rod wintour’s learning experience
Post by Rod Wintour in the LinkedIng group “Autism Researchers Link”, March 10, 2014.
My ASD and Learning problems A more concentrated look at my unachieving at school
Rod Wintour (Multiple Roles -Aspergers children in education)
One of my childhood issues, was the lack of progress at school. One Teacher worded it very well in a school report quoting ”Roddy is full of enthusiasm around this topic and is continuing to make no progress what so ever”. I was in a special class up till when I left school and with no education. One of the facts quite intriguing was that I left school at a lower level, than I had achieved up to middle primary age and then nothing happened. In this discussion I would like to talk about what was or wasn’t happening inside my head at the time and why I believe I stopped. I wasn’t an unmotivated child, but I was branded as a lazy one. I was a ‘why child’ and was fascinated with everything, so what went wrong?
Many Educators are opposed to certain interventions because they perceive that an unachieving child is unachieving on the basis, that the child is not trying, is not focused, is not concentrating or is behaving inappropriately. This is where Educators get it wrong.
There were several complicated issues going on inside me during this time of my life.
1/ Short term memory, could learn things but couldn’t retain them,
2/ Visual processing problem- Irlen syndrome , Can’t process black on white and I see white rivers which stand out and the black words don’t.
3/ Picture paralyzation, Idea’s which constructed strong pictures in my head lead to run away thinking. Sometimes I overwhelmed myself with idea’s to the extent of shutting down and drifting into fixation mode.
4/ No focal anchor –
No focal anchor: A short time ago I mentioned in a discussion a possible reason why an ASD child was blocking her face with her hand when confronted with a problem. I described the hand as possibly being used as a focal anchor. Watching TV neuro-typical people can focus on the TV and exclude things happening around them. ASD people generally can’t. By placing a solid object near the eye’s like the hand, you have something physical to latch your focus on to and then you can exclude what’s happening around you. Learning is the same, you have to have something to latch onto as well as focus on something to learn it.
Many educators don’t produce anchors in their teaching methods; visual pictures, but not objects I can hold and touch and nothing Kinesthetic (e.g. proprioceptive) so I can experience it. (…)
5/ Environmental – School was weak at dealing with bullies and often I was bullied by the teachers themselves. Because ASD was not known about back then, I was continually placed in situations I couldn’t handle.
6/ Tactile defensive (explained here)
7/ Experienced a high degree of Physical pain and discomfort and tummy problems, anxiety and stress.