By Bridget Minnie
The final step in the Master Teacher/Parent course is the Classroom Project. I was a Physical Education teacher at the time and did not have my own classroom. This was not an issue because I could use my Grade 1 son as a case study. I was excited about this because as a teacher, especially a Physical Education teacher, there was usually very little energy left at the end of the day for my own children. Any energy I had left often went to his sister, who not only needed a little more TLC in general, but she was in Grade 4 and had more homework. Knowing what Mind Moves had done for my relationship with my daughter, I was looking forward to spending some special time with my son as well.
Being a researcher by nature and enthusiastic to learn more, I didn’t just choose one Classroom Project topic for him, I chose 5. I never intended to run them con-currently, but I wanted to do all the Pre-Tests for all 5 projects before starting any Mind Moves. This would give me a set of Pre-Mind Moves baseline results for all skills to be worked on. I would then redo the specific tests at the start and finish of each 3-week project.
I conducted the tests and tasks over 3 days so as not to over-whelm him. By the end of those 3 days, I was the one who was over-whelmed. My child was battling. I had been a Grade 1 teacher for 5 years. I now had a son in Grade 1 and I was completely unaware of how bad his situation was.
I was flooded with such guilt and frustration that each day I had poured my heart and soul into other people’s children, without conserving enough for my own son. I didn’t engage enough with him at the end of the day to notice certain things or act on the things that I had noticed.
I had to remind myself that he didn’t get written homework, so I wouldn’t have known how bad his writing was unless I had forced him to sit down and do extra homework each day. However, I had noticed problems with his reading and I hadn’t acted. I had waited for his teacher to bring it to my attention, negating my responsibility as his mother.
Knowing that the group reader he brought home each day for homework had already been read at school in a group, I had suspected for a while that he was reading from memory. I had seen this before in other children and recognised the possibility straight away. I had concerns with his inability to identify words that he had just sounded out, or that I had just phonetically sounded out for him. Sometimes he would try to read the words backwards, even after sounding them out in the correct order. Letter reversals in Grade 1 are relatively common, but he would reverse and flip f and t. This occurred in both his writing and his reading. In 5 years of teaching Grade 1, I had never seen that. When you consider the number of children that had passed through my classroom and my colleagues’ classrooms in those 5 years, that made this issue relatively rare, which to be honest freaked me out.
After seeing the results of all these tests, I was devastated. I jumped ahead in my mind to my child in a few years needing medication just to get by and battling with dyslexia and an auditory processing disorder.
It took me a day or 2 to get over myself and get back to the task at hand; the classroom projects and now more importantly starting the intervention process for my bright-as-a-button little boy, who had an extensive vocabulary, a mature use of language, an affinity for maths and a problem with reading and writing.
Weeks 1 – 3
• Gravitational Security – Mind Moves© Massage, Rise and Shine, Power On, Neck Rotator, Trunk Twister
• Reading Accuracy – Power On, Homolateral and Bilateral Integrator, Mouse Pad, Focus Adjuster, Visual Workout
Weeks 4 – 6
• Low Muscle Tone – Antennae Adjuster, Temporal Toner, Abs Trainer, Spine Stretch, Trunk Twister
Weeks 7 – 9
• Handwriting Spacing – Antennae Adjuster, Arm Workout, Palm Stretch, Mouse Pad, 2D Mouse Pad
Weeks 10 – 12
• Handwriting Formation and Closure – Antennae Adjuster, Arm Workout, Palm Stretch, Mouse Pad, 2D Mouse Pad
All exercises were each performed in sets of 3 and done 3 times a day.
The first post-test blew me away. During the pre-tests, he couldn’t skip with a rope. He barely managed 2 laboured jumps before ending up in an awkward balled up position, which I now recognise as the effects of an aberrant Tonic Labyrinthine Reflex. When active, this reflex can negatively impact on a child’s ability to sit still in a chair and write neatly. By the end of Week 3, he was skipping in a beautifully upright position, averaging about 7 jumps per attempt. As a PE teacher with a Human Movements Science degree, I could not believe the transformation, especially when I made sure he did absolutely no skipping practice at all in those 3 weeks. The improvements in his posture, timing and co-ordination whilst jumping rope could be solely attributed to the Mind Moves exercises we performed. As a researcher, I was ecstatic and keen to see more.
Being overly eager and really worried that my 7 year, 1 month old son had scored way below his age in the 1 minute reading test, I ended up running the Gravitational Security and Reading Accuracy projects con-currently. This wasn’t ideal for a few reasons. The main reason is that, from a research point of view, he only increased by 5 words in the minute over the 3 weeks. I was still happy with that, but knowing what I know now, if I had established the Gravitational Security first and then built on it with the Reading Accuracy exercises, I would have seen a much higher improvement over the 6 weeks.
I have painted quite a picture using lots of words. I am now grateful that I can share some visual pictures with you, displaying the improvements made by the Low Muscle Tone and Handwriting exercises.
Please note the evidence of the relationship building effects of Mind Moves at the bottom of the page from 20 October 2018.
My son now does not battle with reading. He does not read words backwards and he is able to correctly sound out words at an age appropriate level. Although his handwriting has clearly improved, he still has a long way to go in this regard. He really does not like to sit still in his chair for extended periods of time writing paragraphs and colouring in pictures. Does this concern me? NO! What little boy seriously prefers such things over moving, building and playing? I’m real about his academics. He is coping academically and he does not disrupt the class. I know he is going to be just fine because he has established the basics which he can build on as he matures.
I am no longer concerned that he will need medication to cope and concerns of dyslexia are completely out of the picture.
Thank you to Dr Melodie De Jager and the Mind Moves Institute for everything you have done and continue to do to develop this research. Thank you to Michaela De Gier and all the other Advanced Mind Moves Instructors around the country who enthusiastically share this knowledge with parents and teachers, as well as work with children one-on-one to help them be the best possible versions of themselves.
I am so excited to be a part of this dynamic team and I look forward to sharing this enlightening, scientifically-based knowledge with parents and teachers, whilst helping children and families heal and thrive.