What is ILT?
School success seems to depend upon a child being ready to learn. Schools generally expect a child to be able to sit still, pay attention, hold a pen/pencil correctly and that the child can get his eyes ready to follow a printed line of text.
From birth onwards a child uses his senses to discover his own body and the world around him and the brain responds by creating neurochemical pathways to develop skills and the supporting structures and networks necessary for reading, writing and problem-solving activities like mathematics. The development of the supporting structures and networks in the brain depends on movement. The age between 2 and 6 seems to be critical as muscle strength, coordination, balance and spatial skills are developed in this period. Learning, language and behaviour are linked to the functioning of the motor system and the control of movement.
Integrated Learning Therapy (ILT) is used to evaluate a child to unravel the underlying causes of the child’s learning and behavioural difficulties in the systems that supports learning and behaviour, and by using movement, to address it through focusing on neurodevelopment (the central nervous system including the brain, the peripheral and autonomic nervous systems), so that these systems can support the child’s learning and everyday functioning.
How do I know that my child has a problem?
Is your child:
- Restless, fidgeting, easily distracted, always moving, impulsive?
- Always falling, being clumsy/ uncoordinated, and knocking things over accidentally?
- Getting tired quickly, slouching, and leaning against objects?
- Responding slowly to verbal commands or not responding at all?
- Not tolerating light touch at all, reacting to touch by hitting/kicking?
- Very emotional and frustrated when things are not right?
- Refusing to cooperate, being stubborn or inflexible, and overreacting?
- A fussy eater?
- Having difficulty to cut with scissors and colouring in between lines?
- Always in trouble at school because of distracting others, hitting them and other negative behaviour?
- Already diagnosed with having ADD/ADHD?
For a child to successfully learn things such as riding a bicycle , cutting out forms neatly, or learning to read , it is essential that all the underlying systems of the child such as the vestibular system and, for example the tactile system, work well together.
If any of the descriptions in the list above is true of your child, systems like the vestibular system, proprioception, kinaesthesia, tactility and muscle tone may not be working together as they should.
The vestibular system (balance and movement) has receptors in the inner ear that that register every movement and every change in head position. It is also stimulated by gravity and this system thus forms the basic relationship of a person to gravity and the physical world. This system in the inner ear is responsible for balance, eye movements, and awareness of space and essentially for all of our movements. The vestibular system also affects emotional moods, activity levels of the child, as well as focus and attention. If the vestibular system doesn’t function in a consistent and accurate way, the interpretation of other sensory messages will also be inaccurate and inconsistent.
Tactility (sense of touch) processes information which it receives primarily through the different types of receptors in the skin that are stimulated by touch.
Proprioception (body awareness) processes information about body position and body parts, which it receives through the muscles, ligaments and joints.
Muscle tone (tension in muscle): It refers to the amount of tension in the resting muscles and is necessary to maintain posture. It is regulated by the vestibular system.
Kinaesthesia (muscle memory) is the memory that muscles have for movement; the sense of relative muscle, joint and tendon position and the sequence of shifts in specific active situations. If an activity is repeated several times, it is committed to kinaesthetic memory.
What to do?
Bring your child for an ILT evaluation and get a home-based therapeutic programme to follow to address the root causes of your child’s learning and behavioural difficulties. To make an appointment for an evaluation please send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. I will send you a form to complete as well as all the details to make an appointment.
Adie van Rensburg
Academix & Integrated Learning Therapy Practitioner
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