Every child can learn, if our focus is on the child’s potential, i.e. on what the child CAN do rather than on what they cannot do, whatever his challenges, diagnosis or learning difficulties. With well enough informed help, a child who has missed out due to learning difficulties or other challenges can catch up with what he has missed out and continue to learn, whatever his diagnosis or developmental delay. If we can identify where the child seems to have got stuck in his development, then we can help him to catch up where they may have missed out.

 The ‘Functional Learning’ Waldon Approach, described and illustrated Katrin Stroh’s book ‘Every child can learn’, Sage 2008, ISBN-10: 1412947952 is another practical intervention approach aiming to ‘unlock a child’s potential through interactive learning, directed exploration and basic problem solving’. It is a theory about the most basic elements of human learning and development. Children with developmental delay, learning difficulties or various disabilities often do not spontaneously explore and learn from their environment. By helping the child through the developmental sequence of simple movement activities with everyday objects we can help them to build the foundation on which language and all further learning can build:

  • Placing: picking things up and putting them down
  • Piling: by piling things up children discover the properties of objects, e.g. weight, size, texture, how things move and fall if put on top of another
  • Banging: banging is the basis of a child’s ability to grasp, hold and make use of tools, e.g. spoon, drawing
  • Pairing: bringing together objects that are the same
  • Matching: learning about similarities and differences, e.g. objects that are similar but not the same
  • Sorting: recognising that objects can be the same/similar and can be grouped into sets/categories, which requires a firm foundation of placing, pairing and matching
  • Sequencing: a complex form of thinking that has a linear movement, e.g. events that take place one after another and can be repeated, involving rhythm, e.g. actions songs, dressing, speech
  • Brick-building: understanding of 3-dimensional complex relationships between different objects and forces, i.e. understanding spatial relationships, – requires firm foundation of placing, piling, matching and sorting
  • Scribbling and drawing: understanding 2-dimensional space, necessary for understanding symbols

See also: http://www.waldonapproach.org

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