Recently, I had the incredible privilege of witnessing my 22yo son speak in a panel of young entrepreneurs—an event that underscored the personal growth he has made since his school days, marked by learning challenges. As he freely communicated his ideas, my watering eyes saw that beautiful boy, connecting with the audience, making them laugh and talking about the future.

I think of him aged 8, sitting in a classroom as bewildered as many others in classrooms and playgrounds today. Not understanding, not confident, not reading much and writing less. Seeing him confidently express himself on that stage was a moment of bliss, a stark contrast to the days when I agonized over his daily difficulties at school, especially the bullying. His journey has climbed the confines of a hostile classroom, evolving into a narrative of excitement and self-discovery.

Reflecting on this poignant moment, I am reminded of the pivotal role APD played in his challenges. That dastardly fiend who disrupts the language, learning and reading pathways in the brains of those with autism, dyslexia and ADHD. Or, in neurodiverse universe, or the neuroverse, as we like to call it.

APD is not merely a hearing problem; it’s an intricate challenge that hinders the brain’s ability to process sounds rapidly. This complexity often leads to difficulties in language comprehension, spelling, and overall learning. It’s often linked to neurodiversity, but can also occur from adverse childhood experiences, learning in English as a second language or even brain injury.

The lack of a definitive diagnosis can leave children like my son caught in a void, struggling without the understanding and support they are more likely to receive with official recognition. The journey to bridging this gap is essential if we are to address the increasing rate of school refusal, as heard by the recent Senate enquiry into School Refusal which has already handed down recommendations.

My mission is to reach these children before school refusal and mental health issues set in. From experience, I have learned that as children progress through school, and the curriculum becomes more demanding, children with APD fall further behind, increasing the likelihood of avoidance and refusal to learn. With this can come the denial of the opportunity to thrive, express their unique brilliance and solve the problems they can see in the world.

The power of neuroscience research and technology, being used in programs like Learnerobics®, has brought hope to thousands of families around the world for more than 20 years. In the day to day, seeing yet another student work to improve their learning skills, and become a more confident learner reinforces the profound impact of my mission.

It’s also good to see how widely accepted the neuroscience research is becoming. When I first discovered it some twelve years ago, there was scepticism within education that this research was helpful. Fast forward to 2023 and the science of reading, a body of research from neuroscientists, cognitive psychologists, educators and linguists has shifted the way we teach reading in NSW schools back to a phonics-based approach. They have found that is how the brain needs to learn reading for it to be effective. While that scepticism will take time to recede, the evidence as our K-2 students with phonics instruction will increase literacy rates will demonstrate in the coming decade.

As I sit in the audience clapping for all the young entrepreneurs on the stage including my smiling son, my eyes swell with water again. I am a learning coach now, and I’ve helped more than a hundred students improve their ability to learn. There is no way that the mother I was just 10-12 years ago would ever believe this was possible.

But since doing all the research, taking in the learnings and through all my efforts, I’ve built a bridge from then to now. It wasn’t an easy bridge to build, but I’m so proud of it. The neuroscience foundation is solid and girds my confidence to continue. An increasing number of students can walk across, and now my son is building his own bridge, and finding his own mission.

– Monique Peters
Learning Coach
Brain Wise Learning

For more information about Brain Wise Learning, click here.

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