Stop staring at the ceiling!

So last week saw our little (and not so little) ones head back to school, for the first time since lockdown back in March – and it’s been a rather emotional, bumpy ride for some of them (and us) hasn’t it?

Still, children and chadults (the in-betweeners) are far more resilient than we often give them credit for and I feel sure all will be well in next to no time, if my lovely next door neighbour’s children are anything to go by, who only took a day to start skipping again to the school gate!

Anyone young enough to remember back to their school days?

Mine were a few years ago now, although I do remember being very good at English and very bad at maths. Indeed, it wasn’t until I became an Empowered Learning Practitioner with the wonderful Olive Hickmott* that I realised I do in fact have dyscalculia – which when I researched, said it was a ‘lifelong condition’ from which there is ‘no cure.’ WOW! Good job I don’t believe everything I read hey?

Dyscalculia is often referred to as the mathematical version of dyslexia – one is a learning difficulty that causes problems with reading, writing and spelling and one is a learning difficulty that causes problems in maths, such as making sense of numbers and mathematical concepts.

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I laughed out loud when Olive asked the group whether anyone ever looked at the ceiling whenever they were asked a question in their maths class, only to be shouted at by the teacher for drifting off into space “I don’t know what you’re looking up there for Marie Sellwood, you won’t find the answer on the ceiling!”

How wrong Mr Ebeneezer was, because actually looking up to access your visual channel, in order to picture the word (or number in my case) is a really smart strategy when you struggle with words or numbers. So in fact, I was super clever to spend my entire maths class staring at the ceiling because unconsciously, I knew that’s where I’d find the answer!

Another funny ‘habit’ I discovered I had, due to my dyscalculia, was constantly counting on my fingers (I still do) as well as difficulty counting backwards. Interesting, because one of my morning rituals is counting UP to 5 before jumping out of bed, rather than counting DOWN to 1 as the Mindfulness gurus suggest – I wonder if that’s why I do that!?

I also struggle to analyse time – and for those who know me well, you all know how shocking my time-keeping can be, especially when I’m in full-swing – so now you also know why I have that bad little habit too!

So, writing this week’s FIT Matters got me thinking about those (not so good) old days of maths classes and how I wished Olive Hickmott had been around the education system back then to help ‘sufferers’ like me deal with my ‘disability’ as it was referred to back then. And just so you know (in case you’re taking pity on me) I can laugh about the experience now – I mean, it was over half a century ago after all

If you want to find out more about Olive’s awesome work, I’d highly recommend you head over to her website at https://olivehickmott.wordpres…

If you or a member of your team (or family) are dyslexic or dyscalculiac or indeed, have any other learning difference (note the use of language here) then you really should take the tour and find out how you can easily and quickly provide help and support to those who experience learning & the assimilation of data in a different way to what others may consider ‘normal.’

As we’ve been school-focused this last week, with our little people heading back to their educational establishments after such a long period of lockdown (of the brain, as well as literally) I thought we might put our own grey matter to the test and see whether we’ve got what it takes to go back in time and tackle a few exam questions from 1859….

Ok, so none of us were around in those really old days, although this little test will at least stretch you outside your comfort zone and hopefully, enable you to give any little people in your lives the emotional help and support they may well need this coming term, with trying to get back to whatever their normal way of learning was before this pandemic hit us like a thunderbolt – and that includes staring at the ceiling by the way!

Click the link and let me know how you get on – I’m a little embarrassed to tell you I only scored a pitiful 1 point AND there weren’t even any maths questions in the exam!…

Have a great week and until next time – keep FIT!

Best regs


Hello... I'm Marie Cross

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