Stephanie's Story

From ADHD to AOK

History

Eleven-year-old Stephanie’s story could have ended very differently. A classic underachiever, she had spent years struggling academically which was seriously affecting her confidence and behaviour. Attempts to seek help from a series of medical professionals had resulted in an ADHD diagnosis which Stephanie’s mum, Marieke Waghorn was unconvinced by. “I spent over seven years being fobbed off by medical professionals who just wanted to label Stephanie ADHD without even meeting her in person - how could they know what the problem was when they hadn’t even seen her?”

Referral to Developmental Learning Centre

Stephanie could have carried on struggling if it were not for a recommendation to visit the Developmental Learning Centre from a psychologist who suspected her issues might be related to an Auditory Processing Disorder. “As soon as I stepped foot in the door of the Centre I knew I was in the right place. The team were so welcoming and understanding. They explained that Stephanie would need a thorough assessment before they were able to make any recommendations. I was so happy – someone actually wanted to see my child instead of just making assumptions of what was wrong and assess her with an aim to finding a solution.”

A solution, not a label

Learning Difficulties Expert and Founder of the Developmental Learning Centre Rosemary Murphy completed a full assessment to explain the underlying causes of Stephanie’s problems. Marieke explains: ‘Rosemary clarified everything so well – instead of labelling her ADHD, she explained the facts, what they meant and how we could get help. After all those years, it was what I had been waiting to hear!” It was recommended that Stephanie undertake a course of Auditory Retraining Therapy to help mature the pathways in the brain needed to recognise different sounds.

Light at the end of the tunnel

After just a few sessions of Auditory Retraining Therapy, Stephanie’s parents began to notice a difference. “It was like a light at the end of the tunnel. Her teacher could not believe the change in just a matter of weeks – she began to follow instructions properly and stay on task, which was a huge struggle previously. Then her reading and writing improved dramatically - she went up two grades and hit national standard after just two months. She started to really enjoy learning and became more confident in herself because she was actually achieving things.”

The results of the Auditory Retraining Therapy were so fundamental, Stephanie is now undertaking Developmental Movement Therapy, which is also having a huge impact on her academic performance. Marieke’s explains: “The change has been phenomenal. Previously Stephanie had huge problems with mathematical concepts - times tables were way beyond her grasp. The other day she said to me, “Mum I can do my times table.” So I asked her, “Did you learn them off by heart?” She said ‘No, I understand them.’ I thought WOW!”

It is not only Stephanie’s confidence that has grown, Marieke is also feeling much more positive: “There were so many times when I felt really low. Like I was being made to feel as though Stephanie’s issues were a result of me being a bad mother or that my academic expectations were too high. With the help of the Developmental Learning Centre I now know this was not the case and I just wish I had found the answer sooner.”

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