Heads, shoulders, knees and toes - our top tips

How children’s physical needs can impact their learning and behaviour
Our hot tips

Amanda Smith – Unlocking Learning


Amanda’s top 3 take home tips are:
  1. Language is the key to so much learning, we need our children to access it as easily as possible
  2. The brain is a muscle and we can change it
  3. In our busy world, we need to make time to talk and listen to our children

Amanda has spent years as a parent and teacher, researching and implementing support for children with auditory processing issues.

Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) is not a problem with a child’s hearing as such; it is related to the way children interpret, process and use the information they hear. It can affect the way children learn and behave in dramatic ways.

Taking the time to put our devices down and TALK with our children was a key message. So much of a child’s day at school is based on what they are told (hear) so getting children to process all of this informtaion efficiently is vitally important. Using before and after graphs, Amanda was able to show us the improvement children can achieve with specialist intervention. For more information on how this works visit Unlocking Learning

Sarah Bycroft – Albany Optometrists

Sarah Bycroft is a dispensing optician with a special interest in children’s vision. She is also the Irlen diagnostician for the North Shore.

Sarah talked with us about behavioural optometry and how the way children’s eyes behave can affect what they see, what they read and how they learn. She also explained to us about Irlen Syndrome – how different coloured lenses can help children make sense of the words on a page.

Great news… because the brain is a muscle, it can be exercised and trained/re-trained and so eye behaviour issues and Irlen Syndrome can be easily diagnosed and treated! Sarah shared the Three Point Check Test and the iCept app for testing that schools and parents can use. For more information, visit Albany Optometrists.

Sarah gave us some really practical ways to see for ourselves if a behavioural eye issue or Irlen Syndrome could be affecting children. Here are her 3 top tips:

  1. How to do a quick test for convergence

    Convergence is when the eyes come together when doing near visual tasks. Get the child to hold a pencil away from their face and focus on the top of the pencil. As you slowly bring the pencil closer to their face, watch for when the pencil goes “blurry.” Children should be able to get the pencil nearly to their nose!

  2. Spotting a child with Irlen Syndrome

    Light sensitivity – shading their eyes, reading in dim light, aversion to bright lights

    Slow reading speed, especially with small font

    Not progressing after year 3

    Skip words or sentences, misread words, re-read the same line

    Forget what they have read, have problems understanding what they have read

    Physical Symptoms when reading – tire easily, blink frequently, rub their eyes, frequent headaches, fidgety or easily distracted

    Try copying worksheets on different coloured paper – does it make a difference?

  3. Top two eye exercises for children’s vision

    Eye tracking – getting the child’s eyes to follow an object (without moving their head)

    Convergence – each day trying to get the pencil closer and closer to their nose!

Charlotte Nightingale – Peaches and Pickles

Charlotte brought a sense of drama and delight to our evening. She was literally the feathers and bubbles!

She inspired us to inject fun into our families and classrooms… play music, play games and have a ball!

Charlotte’s top tips:

  1. Valuing your child’s thoughts and ideas gives them confidence to thrive
  2. Music is one of the few activities that uses both sides of the brain at once
  3. Give 5 positives to 1 negative comment