Thursday, May 25, 2006

ADHD - can it be misdiagnosed?

Is your child diagnosed with ADHD? If so, you may want to let him or her complete a Learning Style Analysis (LSA) questionnaire on before you give him the drugs.

If you search for ADHD tests and symptoms on the Internet, you will find plenty of information. Some of it will probably scare you enough to take your child to the doctor. According to the Internet, signs of hyperactivity may include symptoms like: “Fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat”, “Leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected”, or “Is 'on the go' or acts as if 'driven by a motor'”. When you do the LSA questionnaire, you will discover that children who display such symptoms simply have a different Learning Style, one that requires mobility instead of sitting still. If that need for moving around during learning is satisfied, you’ll be amazed at the improved school performance as well as a change in the child’s confidence and behaviour.

Other ADHD symptoms listed on the Internet may include behaviour like: “Fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities” or “Has difficulty organizing tasks and activities” or “Does not seem to listen when spoken to directly” - all of which can easily be explained by Learning Styles.

Running around, shouting and being easily distracted are all part of being a child. A normal, healthy child.

In the USA, 9% of school children take ADHD medication on a regular basis. That’s a lot of children. Are they suffering from ADHD? Or is it a case of misdiagnosing their Learning Style needs?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Broaden your child’s horizons

Today I’d like to show you an example of how we, at Creative Learning Systems, walk our talk.

Barbara sent us a postcard from Helsinki... and it was addressed to my 3-year old daughter. Apart from the expected delight of a little girl receiving “her own post”, the postcard had an unexpected consequence: a barrage of questions:
· Why do people send postcards?
· Why was there a fire in the city?
· Was it a bad person who started it?
· Where is Helsinki?
· Is it close to where Babcia (grandma) lives?

Just one postcard - and so many opportunities. We looked at the map and saw that Finland was closer to Poland than it was to New Zealand. We talked about the language people speak in Finland and their long winters and the wonderful summer berries (cloudberries and cowberries). I told her that the person who wrote the “Valley of the Moomins” came from Finland.

So, next time one of your friends goes overseas, ask them to send a postcard to your youngster. With a slightly older child, you could turn in into a homemade Geography lesson:
· Is Helsinki the capital city or just a city? What does it mean to be the capital city?
· If you wanted to take a car from Helsinki to Vienna, which way would you travel? Which borders would you cross? What do you have to do at a border check point?
· What currency do they have in Finland? What did they use before they joined the European Union?
· What crops do they grow?
· What industry do they have?
· What animals would you find living in the wild?
· What do they eat in Finland?
· Cook a traditional Finnish recipe together with your child: pea-and-ham soup or buttermilk cake, then serve it to family or friends.
· Let your child draw a picture / make a clay model / write a poem about one aspect of Finland.
· Plan an imaginary holiday in Finland. What would you see? What would you do there? What would you pack?

Vary the tasks according to your child's Learning Style (which you can assess on visual, tactile, analytic, etc.

Remember, the most important lesson your child will learn is this: I am special enough for somebody to send me a postcard and I am special enough for Mum/Dad to spend time with me discovering a fun new world.

Happy learning!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

On Owls and Larks - Body Clock and Learning Styles

Is getting up with the birds every morning a challenge for you? Do you find it difficult to stay awake at Saturday night parties? You can blame your genetic makeup.

The Learning Styles Analysis (LSA) pyramid is not surprised by the latest scientific discovery that the “Time of Day” preference is hereditary (or, as we call it, biological).

Researchers at Britain's University of Surrey have identified a gene called Period 3 which helps to regulate our internal body clocks. Period 3 can occur in two sizes: long or short. People who have an extreme preference for early mornings are more likely to have a long version of Period 3, while those who stay up way past midnight are more likely to have the shorter version.

Of course, that's the simplistic explanation. The body clock is governed by a combination of genes, and it’s influenced by external circumstances such as late nights. You can try to fool your body clock by making it follow a certain lifestyle pattern... but you’ll be doing it at a cost.

Do you want to know whether it’s best for your health to work first thing in the morning, or after dinner? Go to and find out by filling in a Learning Styles Analysis (LSA) or a Working Styles Analysis (WSA) questionnaire.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Gifted Children and Learning Styles

Many people believe that gifted children have no special needs. After all, they learn easily and can do so in almost any environment... right?

However, being gifted is not synonymous with being an all-rounder: a child can have a gift of music yet struggle to write good compositions. Being gifted doesn’t mean that you necessarily “do well at school”, either. Many gifted children struggle to achieve their potential at school because of their unconventional behaviour and questioning attitude, or because of their incompatible learning styles. For example, if your child is gifted, but also holistic and tactile, he or she may suffer in the conventional schooling systems that favour analytic visual-auditory learners.

Of course, you will want to know whether your child is gifted. You want to be able to help them achieve their potential. You don’t want them to become distressed through frustration and boredom. You don’t want them to deny their intelligence in order to become more acceptable to their peers.

But how can you tell? Unfortunately, there is no easy (or indeed accurate) test. A lot of your evaluation will be based on your own observation. Your child may be gifted if they display many of the following characteristics:
· inquisitiveness
· exceptional powers of observation
· wide-ranging vocabulary
· phenomenal memory
· ability to talk early
· ability to read early
· good levels of concentration
· creativity to form unusual advanced questions
· ability to grasp ideas quickly.
Learning Style Analysis (LSA) available on can also offer good insights into your child’s learning needs. Look out for the following criteria in your child’s LSA report:
· highly integrated in analytic and holistic thinking
· can learn through all sensory modalities with ease
· can learn at any time, forgets to eat or do other chores when lost in learning
· prefers to work alone or with true peers
· won’t accept authority
· is highly internally motivated - often learns for pure knowledge
· never gives up - has often extreme persistence
· dislikes rules - makes his or her own ones
· doesn’t need help in structuring their learning, dislikes guidance.

The report will also give you a detailed analysis of the biological and non-biological elements that make up your child’s Learning Style. It will show you how to create an ideal homework spot and how to talk to the teachers about any concerns you may have.

Remember, gifted students need to learn in challenging settings, where they can have opportunities to develop their abilities. And yet, many schools fail to recognise the efforts and needs of the high achievers.

Whether your child is truly gifted or “just” very bright, what you want is to produce a happy switched-on child who doesn't want to miss school. LSA will help you achieve that goal.