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Educational Info


Sensory Stimulation

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Sensory processing difficulties

Does your child experience the following:

  • can’t sit still through a half-hour lesson and disrupts the class.
  • often seems distracted and doesn’t pay attention to what the teacher is saying.
  • bumps into kids in the lunch line, making them angry.
  • can’t hold a pencil correctly, so he/she struggles with handwriting.
  • gets upset when asked to switch from one activity to another.

The first thought that comes to mind is ADD or ADHD but it is more likely to be the result of sensory processing issues.

What are sensory processing issues?

Some learners seem to have trouble handling the information their senses take in—things like sound, touch, taste, sight, and smell. There are also two other less well-known senses that can be affected—the first is a sense of body awareness, while the second involves movement, balance, and coordination. Also, kids with sensory issues can be oversensitive to input, under sensitive to input, or both.

While sensory processing issues are not a learning disorder or official diagnosis, they can make it hard for children to succeed at school. For instance, overly sensitive kids respond easily to sensory stimulation and can find it overwhelming. They may:

  • Be unable to tolerate bright lights and loud noises like ambulance sirens.
  • Refuse to wear clothing because it feels scratchy or irritating-even after cutting out all the tags and labels-or shoes because they feel “too tight.”
  • Be distracted by background noises that others don’t seem to hear.
  • Be fearful of surprise touch, and avoid hugs and cuddling even with familiar adults.
  • Be overly fearful of swings and playground equipment.
  • Often have trouble knowing where their body is in relation to other objects or people.
  • Bump into people and things and appear clumsy.
  • Have trouble sensing the amount of force they’re applying; for example, they may rip the paper when erasing, pinch too hard or slam down objects.
  • Runoff, or bolt, when they’re overwhelmed to get away from whatever is distressing them.
  • Have extreme meltdowns when overwhelmed.

Meanwhile, undersensitive kids want to seek out more sensory stimulation. They may:

  • Have a constant need to touch people or textures, even when it’s not socially acceptable.
  • Not understand personal space even when kids the same age are old enough to understand it.
  • Have an extremely high tolerance for pain.
  • Not understand their own strength.
  • Be very fidgety and unable to sit still.
  • Love jumping, bumping and crashing activities.
  • Enjoy deep pressure like tight bear hugs.
  • Crave fast, spinning and/or intense movement.
  • Love being tossed in the air and jumping on furniture and trampolines.

Many of the behaviours of learners with sensory problems overlap with symptoms of ADHD, from trouble sitting still or concentrating to melting down when they are expected to make a transition from one activity (especially one they are enjoying) to another.

Reading, Writing & Dyslexia

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Reading & Writing

The reading and writing processes are closely integrated. To be able to process such functions, it is necessary to encode and decode. At GoFocus we pay special attention to encoding and decoding as part of our reading and writing exercises.

Not all children learn to read in the same way and at the same time, yet there are predictable relationships between some of their steps. Decoding and encoding and their inter-correlation plays an integral part in a developing reader.

With the teaching of letters and sounds, the skill known as phonological awareness develops. Children show their phonological skills when they are able to recognize and manipulate letter sounds in specific ways, like beginning, middle and end sounds of words, words that sound the same, and syllables.

This manipulation takes us to the final step in teaching reading – putting these concepts together to instruct children how to read words or, as we mentioned above, decoding. It requires children to process several steps:

  • Recognise the letter;
  • Associate the sound of the letter;
  • Understand how the letter sounds work together to make words;
  • Blend the letter sounds together to create speech.

You’ve probably forgotten how challenging this is to a reader in the earliest stages. Decoding a simple sentence, such as ‘She is happy’ means the child needs to know all the letters contained in the sentence, the sounds assigned to each letter, and the way we put these sounds together to read.

The same process is not used when readers take this knowledge and write. Instead they are encoding, somewhat reversing the process. Take a look at the steps:

  • Understand how sounds work to form words;
  • Take a word apart sound by sound;
  • Remember the letter that goes with the sound, including what the letter looks like ;
  • String or blend the letters together on paper to create words.

When children are encoding they are using the same skills in reading but in a different process.

Gross motor co-ordination

Balance plays an extremely important part in concentration and focussing.  GoFocus offers unique gross motor co-ordination exercises in order to stimulate balance which will have a positive effect on concentration (we do offer Focussing and concentration techniques in addition to this too).


Dyslexics are:

  • bright,
  • highly intelligent
  • extremely creative

Dyslexia is not a structural problem in the brain, it is a functional problem. Therefore it cannot be “cured” but can be corrected.

Following is a quick checklist for Dyslexia. 10 or more YES answers (not including auditory development) is considered a significant indication of dyslexia. Please note that this is not a formal diagnosis of Dyslexia by any means, it is merely a checklist to suspect dyslexia.

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