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EDUCATION
Learning Defects in Children Can Be Corrected, Says Expert
Posted by: administrator (Jan-08-2009)
Vanguard Online Edition
Nigeria: Learning Defects in Children Can Be Corrected, Says Expert
Aliyu Adekunle


interview
Many parents think some of their kids are unteachable due to the child's inability to learn fast both in school and at home, but many of these problems are what can be overcome if the parents can identify the causes of a child's inability to learn and hence effect the needed correction.
Today's technology discovery that learning is an important part of a child's development has developed important ways learning problems in children can be overcome as parents need not fear that a child is unteachable.
This made Vanguard Education to engage an expert in the field of correcting learning defects in children who shed more light on learning defects and the corrections that can be made. Aliyu Adekunle conducted the interview.
Excerpts
Philosophy and psychology science, are great sciences of the mind, but after graduation, you went into banking, and some how, you are back in an area, where you can apply what you originally learnt as an instructor, correcting specific learning disorder in children, let's start by asking who are you, your full name and background?
My name is Mrs Anayo S. Daniel, . I am married with four kids, I graduated from the University of Nigeria, where I read Philosophy/Psychology. Like you said when I came out, I went into banking, worked for about eight years, until my bank became liquidated, which led me into computer business. I did it for about three to four years, I came out of that and joined my friend who did her training in correcting learning defects in kids in the US, she came back to Nigeria, and decided to train me and here I am.
A minute, this friend of your's how did she get into training?
She has being living outside Nigeria, due to her husband's job the last place she found herself is the USA . She said one of her sons, as a matter of fact, a very brilliant boy, they discovered that when given an assignment in school, ie take-homes, he does them very well.
But during examinations, he wasn't doing well not because he was not brilliant but was never able to finish fast enough. So she now started browsing the internet to find out the reason for this and if there is any way they could help. They were advised to go to this firm (in the USA) which we use.
She went there and they did an assessment test on the boy and they found out that he was deficient in one of the learning skill, the particular skill that he was deficient in was the one that has to do with processing speed.
The speed at which the brain processes information and that is why he was not able to finish on time during exams but when he has a home work to do, he performs better because he has all the time to finish it and scores well.
Until they now found out what his problem was, the boy was losing self motivation, self esteem . So she and her husband agreed that she should go for the programme (ie learning how to correct learning deficiencies in kids) after which she will now come back to rectify her kid's deficiencies. when they are back in Nigeria, she can also train others to help in correcting children who have similar problems. So before she came back to Nigeria, she called me and informed about it, I told her I liked the idea. And when she came back to Nigeria, she called me again and then I made my arrangement to be trained on correcting learning defects in children
Specifically what kind of learning disorders are there, how many are they and can it be corrected?
No matter the learning defects it can be corrected with time. Having said that, there are seven types which are the underline cognitive skills which cause deficiencies in children. It has been discovered by some American specialist, physiologists, psychiatrists and some medical doctors that some times when children have problem in learning school works, the problem is not just because they are not intelligent, it may be because they have underlining skills, which are required for learning such deficiencies in these children which include one Attention that is the major one.
When a child has a problem with paying attention in class, the child will never be able assimilate. He will not even hear half of what the teacher is teaching, because he is very restless, very hyperactive, some of them are hyperactive, he will never be able to stay on track, some of them will just be quiet. But they will be fidgeting and their mind wonders off. All part of the attention goes.
The second is the Possessing stage, which I have discussed about, the third one is Memory, when a child has problem with memory, the information that is received or thought, never stays long enough in the child's memory to pick or retrieve that information to use in exam or whatever, he finds out that, that information is already lost. This is due to of poor memory.
Another one is Logic and Reasoning. This occurs when a child or an individual, mind you we deal mostly on children because they are the ones who are still learning. It is believed that adults have reached their full potentials.
So now, when a child has problem with logic and reasoning it affects the areas of arithmetic, reading comprehension, compositions because you have to be able to logically reason out he questions after reading the passage and you ask some trickish questions, the child has to be able to reason it out logically before coming out with the answer.
So if a child is poor in logic and reasoning, it will affect his ability in maths, reading and comprehension. Another is the Visual Processing, this is the child's ability to create mental images of what he or she is being taught .
If a teacher is teaching and mentions a few things if the child is able to create a mental picture of what he or she is being taught it is easier for him/her to remember. It is easier for the individual to remember what he is being taught if he can create mental pictures. And if you are reading a novel or comprehension, if you are, able to create mental picture of what you are reading about, it is also easy for you to remember.
So if that visual process is not there, the child will have problem even with mathematics. It also affects mathematics because when it comes to Algebra is affected. Then another one is Auditory, auditory processing, that is the area where you will hear a child reading and spelling. Some children are dissented because they have poor auditory memory, they can not read very well because they can not put in place or put to use those skills that are required for them to read and spell.
And when a child is not able to read and spell very well, he will have problems with reading compression. If you are not reading or if your reading is incoherence, you will not be able to understand what you are reading .
If we bring a child to you here, what is the procedure that he will adopt and determine the kind of learning disorder that the child has?
First of all, when a patient, brings a child to us, we first of all put the child through an assessment test, then using what they call coigned test battery.
What is that?
It a device developed by our company in US. The MD of the company is the inventor, and we use it to test a child in order to be able to determine the child's problem. We scale the child in processing speed, working memory, visual processing, word attack ie the ability of an individual to be able to read words, he or she has never come across.
And then we have the auditory analysis, the ability for an individual to be able to segment words, to blend them, like in segmenting a word like cat.
You have a word in like cat, but we segment it.
In the Assessment test we take the child through stage levels, if he performs two years or months far below his age level, it means the child is deficient in those skills. In correcting the deficiencies we pay more attention to these areas that the child is deficient while we help him build others even more better.
Before you go further what causes it?
There are different causes. As a matter of fact, let me start by saying that some of them are caused by the children joining bad gangs, peer pressure, lack of motivation from parents and teachers.
Like I said earlier, some parents engage teachers to help their wards do better in school. But at the end of the day, you will find out that after engaging this child with a tutor, the child might do well at that particular time and section and in the following year, the problem recurs, so you find out that you are engaging tutors to help your child every year and the problem is still there when the child ought be on his own study and pass his exams.
That is where this learning deficiency now comes in. So you find out that ordinary tutors engaging the child with extra lessons will not help. They won't solve the problem. So what is required for solving the problem is to attack the problem from the root, the underlined cognitive skills that are deficient, you attack it from the root.
And these are the learning skills mentioned. If they are attacked, then the child will start doing well in class. We have trained a lot of children, even those children that are not having any of the learning problems, that their parents just want them to be on top of the game. So we have been training a lot of them and they have always come out very good.
We have trained some children who are often sick and down, we are not claiming to be doctors that will cure them or psychiatrist, no, but it depends on the degree of which the child is down. Some of them are just slightly down, but then there could be a mental problem. It might have affected the brain. So the child will never be on the same academic level or performance as his age mates. So we are trying to help those children.
What advice will you now give to parents?
As a matter of fact, we have been going to schools and talking to them. Our advice usually to some of them, who understand and give audience, is to allow us test the children. Mind you our test is different from IQ test.
So if we find out the areas in which these children are deficient we then give a report to the school or to the parents as the case may be and if the parents wants us to train the children, we will do it for them.
But the thing is we don't have assess to the parents, so we have assess to the school, that's why we go through the schools because they are the ones that have assess to the parents. And then if the parents are interested they can get to us through the school. A lot of our students were gotten through that process.
So what I will advice parents to do if they discover that their wards have problems after putting him/her through extra lessons, and that problem persists, they should know that the problem is not just that the child can not do well in school, there is an underlined cognitive skills deficiency.
As expertise, what are you people doing to enlarge this service?
As a matter of fact, Nigerians, a lot of Nigerians are ignorant of these things whereas the service can go a long way in correcting defects in children that we think are un teachable.
However those of them who understand come to us for help we do our best and we have testimonies, but like people from my area now, if you ask an Igbo man to put a child that has this problem through this programme, he will see no reason why he should spend extra money.
He probably believes that the child has no brain to read or study further. So the best thing is to go and put him in a trade.
Mind you the programme is very expensive so only few people can afford it, but the few people who can engage their children in such extra activity to enhance their learning abilities.
The masses are not interested, the ones who are interested are few. What we are trying to do, is to make our fees as low as possible, by going to schools talking to them.
We just want to be exposed first, and when that exposure comes, then people begin to show interest, we will not have any problem.
How long have you been in this now?
Two years now. This is my third year.
Can you train some body to become an expert rate?
Yes why not. When any body applies to us, before we interview that person, we will put them through this same test we put the children through. The person has to be able to pass the test first before we can get in to the oral interview. Because if the person can not pass this exam, how can he or she train this children, who have the same problem.
My friend tested me now when she came back. I couldn't believe it. When she tested me. As matter of fact, I thought that it was a child's place, but it was the kind of thing that use to interest me when I was a child. any thing that is challenging. So I found it challenging.
So she would read a passage to me, show me some pictures, she will come back to it and start asking me questions.
Then she will ask me one questions on what she has showed me, she will ask me one questions on the story she has told me.
Then she will go further, show me more pictures, read more questions to me and then go back and ask me the first questions she has asked me. by the time she is on the fifth level of telling stories and showing me pictures, she is still going back to the first ones to ask me questions to know weather I can remember. I remember that i use to watch a lot of cartoon and I use to read a lot of comic in them.
And people will be telling me that how can I be reading this kind of a thing. I said am just reading them like a child.
Now you encourage children to watch cartoon?
No the cartoon we are talking about, has nothing to do with their cognitive skills. But cartoons help in the development of a child's mind. I encourage my children to watch cartoons, i buy comic for them. Archie and others, Ii buy it for them.
Veronica and Becky I buy them for them. And I allow them to watch cartoons. All the DVD's Ii have been buying for them are cartoons because I watch it a lot and it improves your English. But that does not mean that the child that has cognitive problems, by watching cartoons, will solve that problem.
- the education of Nigeria so far what , it is discovered early, that a child has learning problem, they can quickly start tackling it ?
Yes I would say that a lot of the problems that we have in Nigeria education, both parents and the government, are responsible for the problems we have because where we are, you see parents whose children are very brilliant, but they are not ready to do any thing for them. To the extent that they are not even ready to encourage this children.
Because they have money, they will encourage them to while away their time in idleness and all that because they have the money to pay their way through. We found out that a lot of children, who have actually narrated those positions in schools at night because these ones who have money, are ready to pay and that. They will tell us that a lot of our teachers and lecturers have been bought over.
Where does all this problems come from, I blame it on mass poverty, mass poverty, where is it coming from, up there. So the major problem is poverty. I don't see why I should go and pay even though am the richest man in this world my daughters must use their brain to get what ever they want to achieve to get any level they want, get to any position they have to attain.
The only thing is that is the less privilege that is suffering for all these things.

 
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