Over the school holiday period most parents of children with learning difficulties delight in a significant decrease in anxiety levels in their children. Once school begins again however it does not take long for stress levels to rise. Getting ready for school in the morning can be an ordeal which affects the whole family. Strategies such as reluctance to get out of bed, sore tummies, frequent forgetfulness of normal daily routines and sometimes full blown meltdowns are common.

Dyslexia was accepted by the Ministry of Education as a legitimate learning difficulty two years ago. Since that time a process of consultation has been occurring but little of real help has emerged. There are some who believe the answer is to focus on the advantages of being dyslexic and simply accommodate the right brained learning style of the dyslexic in the classroom. However anybody in today’s society who struggles  with literacy is without a doubt, disadvantaged and every effort needs to be made to address the underlying causes of dyslexia.  

 A child of normal intelligence who is not reading by the age of 7 or 8, is struggling to write, is persistently reversing letters, confusing similar sounds and struggling to correctly associate the letters with their sounds is most likely dyslexic.

What is underlying this difficulty? Something is wrong with his learning equipment.

A ground breaking, educational research study being carried out by Rosemary Murphy, Director of The Developmental Learning Centre, Tauranga  has yielded its first results. The study’s aim was to explore the effectiveness of sound therapy on children with learning difficulties. In particular Mrs Murphy was interested in exploring the effect of sound therapy on literacy as the most significant learning category. Ms Murphy began the study last year with the support and cooperation of Greenpark School, Tauranga. 24 children were selected by teachers because of  their learning difficulties,  which included persistent difficulties in  reading, writing  and spelling, as well as some behavioural issues related to poor listening such as  restlessness, distractibility, dreaminess, forgetting instructions, frequently requiring repetition, poor short term memory and difficulty keeping up  in class. The first 12 children were placed in the sound therapy programme, listening to high quality filtered classical music for ½ hour per day over a period of 2 terms (20 weeks). It included a movement programme which was performed during the first part of each listening therapy session. This resulted in several other senses being used at the same time as listening,  such as vision, balance, proprioception and touch, These activities have been shown to  increase the  effectiveness of  the sound therapy.   A further 12 similar children, matched for difficulty, age and gender were also selected and these were used as a control group. These children did not receive any music therapy but continued in all of the usual support programmes offered to them by the school. 

Dear Parents,

I am passionate about helping children with learning difficulties to overcome these difficulties as much as possible. I am also passionate about helping parents recognize the early signs of these learning difficulties should they appear in their children so that they can access the most appropriate help as early as possible.

There have been many great advances in the area of neuro-physiological research over the past 20 years as researchers and educators have investigated the development and functioning of the brain. This research has helped therapists and teachers to understand more clearly some of the underlying causes of such difficulties.

I am a mother, wife, teacher and educator. I began my career path at the tender age of 4 when I entered a small, private, primary school as their youngest pupil. From the first day I loved school so much that I knew I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up!

I trained as a teacher at Hamilton Teachers’ College and Waikato University School of Education, studying Education, English, Psychology and Geography, gaining my TTC in 1968 and my B.Ed. in 1970. I began my first teaching job that year with a class of delightful 7 year olds in the far north, but my career was interrupted late that year by the arrival of my first, beautiful daughter and so my journey as a parent began.

Are there more children today with Learning Difficulties?

If you ask any senior teacher they will invariably tell you that there are more children today with learning and behavioural difficulties than there were 35 years ago. In those days there would be one or two children who stood out in the classroom of 30 children. Today it is common to find up to 5-10 children in a class of 30 with some form of mild to moderate learning difficulty.

Every parent who has ever delivered their child to school on their very first day at the tender age of 5 years will recall the myriad of emotions which flooded their parental being at that moment:

  • excitement that the big day has finally arrived,
  • pride at how mature and excited your child is at reaching this important milestone,
  • relief at being able to finally deliver your school-ready child to the door and into the teacher’s hands,
  • sadness as he walks away from you without a second glance, and
  • perhaps some apprehension or even fear for your little one as he takes his first steps out into the great big world without you.

This will depend to a large degree on your own educational experience as a child. However if you have taken all the reasonable steps to prepare your child socially for this great transition in his life, with regular attendance at play centre or kindergarten, your fears will for the most part be unfounded. Your child will be off and away on the most exciting adventure of his young life. He will return home at the end of his school day tired but happy, full of stories of new people and experiences and will awaken the next morning bright eyed and bushy tailed ready to go back for more.

ADHD and Autism: What Do These Learning Difficulties Have In Common?


What do ADHD and Autism have in common?

Of all the learning difficulties, ADHD(Attention- Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder) and Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are the two of the most challenging for teachers to manage in the classroom. Children with symptoms of ADHD are disruptive in the classroom with their excessive need to move (hyperactivity), to act without thinking(impulsivity) and their tendency to quickly lose attention for the task at hand (inattention).They are poor listeners and quickly forget what they have just heard.

Listening Therapy Research Studies: Notable Research Studies Using Integrated Listening Systems Programme

Below are some of the notable research studies using an Integrated Listening Systems Programme (iLs) to treat auditory processing disorders. It is important to note that the “Tomatis Method”, as mentioned in some of the studies below, refers to a method of auditory stimulation developed by Dr. Alfred Tomatis. iLs professional training and clinical studies continue in the same vein as Tomatis. iLs is a further refinement of the DLS programme mentioned below in that it includes motor stimulation.