This article appeared in La Femme in South Africa in the early 90’s. By Germaine Glueck.
Many children — despite having adequate intelligence and opportunity — show great disparity between their verbal skills and learning ability.
When a teacher identified a reading inability in one of Jo Cohn’s children, Jo had his psychometric skills tested, bought an Audiblox kit and kindly agreed to share what she has learnt with La Femme readers in the hope that those with similar problems will benefit.
This Johannesburg mother, obviously caring and highly intelligent, says any mother prepared to devote half an hour a day to improving her child’s learning skills can cope easily using the kit.
“After identifying the problem and having discussions with my child’s teacher, it was suggested that I invest in the concept.
“It was devised by a highly qualified Pretoria educationist, Dr. Jan Strydom.
“It is primarily a course for dyslexics but it can be used to improve anyone’s learning skills. I am using it for my other child too. Both children are having fun facing the challenges the course presents.”
According to Dr. Strydom, no two dyslexics are alike, though they often share some common features:
- Difficulty in learning to read despite obviously adequate intelligence and opportunity
- Difficulty in learning to spell
- Poor and very slow handwriting
- Difficulty in distinguishing left from right
- Difficulty in arranging things in correct sequence
How does one recognise a reading or spelling problem? Says Dr. Strydom: “One of the most common telltale sign is ‘reversals.’ For example, confusing the letters b and d.”
Then there are “elisions.” These occur when a child writes or reads a word like “cat” when the actual word is “cart.”
Another indication of a reading problem is when the child’s reading lacks fluency so he or she hesitates, loses the place, leaves out chunks or reads the same passage twice.
Reading with poor comprehension and jumbling the order of letters so that “left” is read as “felt” are also part of the inability pattern.
According to Dr. Strydom, the learning process involves two important considerations: Humans cannot do what they have not been taught and the learning process is a stratified one.
It follows therefore, that certain skills must be mastered before the child can become a better reader.
To become a skilled reader, four sub-skills must be developed:
- Decoding skills
Dr. Strydom’s course caters for all four of these aspects and can be used from pre-primary stage to adulthood.
Jo says: “The system must be supervised by a responsible person. It starts at a basic level and becomes increasingly difficult. The child should progress at his or her own rate but must always be challenged.
“I chose to invest in this method when I read that research indicated that, when a child has learning inabilities, he would normally either be removed from mainstream education or have parallel mainstream and remedial treatment.
“Research has proved that once removed from mainstream, the child has only 2% chance of ever returning to mainstream education. Also, remedial teaching can be expensive and does not necessarily improve the situation.
“Dr. Strydom’s system works provided the rules are scrupulously followed. If, for any reason, there is a relapse, the course can be repeated.
“An added bonus I have found is that the quality time I’m spending with my children while using the concept has resulted in even closer bonding.”