If you are reading this, the chances are that you have a child who is struggling at school. Maybe he or she is finding it difficult to master skills such as reading, writing, maths or spelling. Maybe he or she can do all these things but comes home with reports about unfinished work, or work left at home.
The teacher complains about her being disorganised, untidy or even aggressive towards other children. Or maybe she is described as being unfocused and a daydreamer who never seems to listen. And maybe you agree with the teacher because you see the same behaviour at home.
What’s going on? Why did your happy toddler, who so loved to learn, who listened so eagerly to stories, who knew so much about dinosaurs and built wonderful Lego constructions suddenly become this difficult child who can’t sit still, can’t concentrate, can’t follow directions, can’t remember the spelling he seemed to know so well last night…?
The school will probably recommend an assessment to get to the bottom of the problem. Now you start the rounds of Occupational Therapists, Psychological testing, Neurologists and even Psychiatrists.
You learn about labels such as Attention Deficit Disorder, Hyperactivity, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Central Auditory Processing Problems, and so on. It is highly likely that someone will recommend a drug. But nothing seems to really help. What’s going on?
Integrated Learning Therapy (ILT) helps get to the bottom of these problems by considering the child in totality. By means of careful and thorough investigation, ILT practitioners try to unravel the underlying causes of a child’s difficulties.
We have found that there is no ‘silver bullet’ that can promise a quick cure but by tracing aspects of a child’s neurodevelopment within his or her environment, we generally are able to help overcome problems to a significant degree and to prevent problems in pre-school and primary school children.
ILT has everything to do with the brain – hence our use of the term ‘neuro’, referring to nerves that make up the brain and nervous system.
And then, as the name implies, ILT brings together knowledge and practice from related fields. The focus is on the development of our central nervous system (including the brain, the peripheral and autonomic nervous systems) so that components can support our learning and everyday functioning.
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For more details about ILT, visit the ILT video gallery, where Prof Shirley Kokot explains the approach and ways of helping.
Aspects of development
Children’s development during the early years is influenced by their neurodevelopment, neurophysiology, neurochemistry and neuroanatomy. Often the difficulties they experience with school learning and socially accepted behaviours can be traced to some or other irregularities in one or more of these areas.
ILT uses this knowledge to help pinpoint the possible causes of problems associated with the demands of school and society and helps to overcome them. As such, it is a neurodevelopmental, eco-systemic approach. Using information from related fields of study and practice makes it a multi-disciplinary approach as well.
Why is this necessary?
The body functions as an organism through a complex interplay of many systems (including the central nervous system, visual system, auditory system, digestive system, sensory-motor system, endocrine system and so on).
In addition, these systems interact with others in one’s environment (living conditions, food habits, allergens, polluted areas, etc.). Attempts to solve problems by addressing them at only one level (for example, labelling symptoms and ‘treating’ them from a single perspective) seldom results in total or lasting success.
Understanding the development and functioning of different systems and the impact on those of environmental factors makes it possible to work holistically with our clients.
What is the aim of ILT?
ILT is committed to helping all individuals to realise their potential with efficient functioning in school and/or the workplace as well as in the wider social world.