“My Child struggles at school and is a discouraged learner”

Performing below potential?

Despite great effort, many of our child and adult clients are unable to reach their potential because their attention, communication, learning and organisation is undermined by poor sensory processing and integration. These deficits require them to work longer and harder than their peers to complete their allotted tasks at school or work. Their efforts tend to go under-recognized and under-rewarded.

Some may appear lazy, but if you try to walk in their shoes you will understand how chronic anxiety, disappointment and frustration can undermine motivation. There is no correlation between sensory processing performance and intelligence. We see sensory failures across the spectrum of intelligence. Such failures tend to manifest as a learning difficulty in those with average or lower intelligence.


We see many intelligent children who, despite performing at or above the class average, are performing well below their potential. These children are unable to fully access their intelligent and usually lag behind their siblings and parents academically.

Many bright clients can compensate for their sensory deficits with their intelligence and can effectively ‘hide’ their learning difficulty. However, their sensory weaknesses are quickly revealed in a listening assessment. While some clients try their best, others have become discouraged learners and do the minimum, Under-performing children typically have two or three of the weaknesses listed below:

  • Weak auditory processing caused by early ear infections or chronic congestion
  • Slow processing
  • Low attention, easily distracted
  • Overloads easily
  • Anxious
  • Low self-esteem
  • Class clown, disruptive
  • Looks around the class for cues, looks away when talked to
  • Tired in the afternoons or after school/work

Efficient learning

Ultimately learning should be a productive and positive experience for people finding out about new things. However for many children learning is difficult and stressful rather than enjoyable. For efficient and effective learning to occur in children and adults, we believe that you have to satisfy all these three conditions:

  • Be exposed to new information
  • Incorporate an emotional content to facilitate retention in memory (ie humour) which requires pitch discrimination
  • Ensure that the student is relaxed (with no anxiety)

no more-struggling-at-school-discouraged-learner

Performance and ‘intelligence’

Life performance is not only influenced by the ability to access one’s endowment of intelligence but is also influenced by adaptability to change, emotional maturity and social performance. IQ test are designed to measure cognitive intelligence and for many, they are a good predictor of employment, income and health status. However, our experience suggests that the correlation between IQ and performance can be distorted for those with sensory deficits. Cognitive intelligence is only one aspect of being human.1

Social competency and self-awareness are also important human attributes which emotional intelligence (EQ) attempts to measure. IQ can be a weak predictor of performance for those with sensory processing, attention, emotional or language deficits or for those with disadvantaged or non-English speaking backgrounds, low motivation or anxiety. IQ tests are not designed to measure important performance attributes like adaptability to change, communication, leadership, interpersonal skills, creativity, musical or artistic ability.2

For example, we see some students with high IQs deliver “average” school performance because of their auditory processing deficits. We also see some highly intelligent children who have experienced an emotional trauma (adoption, domestic violence, and abuse) can score a depressed IQ. These children cannot score a realistic IQ until we can resolve some of their sensory processing deficit as well as their anxiety.

How does listening therapy help?

Weak auditory processing can unlock or undermine the capacity to learn and undermine life performance. So if we can improve auditory processing in bright children, we can rebuild the auditory foundations of learning. While listening therapy is one of the most an effective tools for removing the roadblocks to learning in any client with suboptimal auditory performance, we can deliver the most dramatic gains in bright children with an auditory processing disorder.

We have designed our programs to gently restore a balance of emotional and cognitive intelligence so that our clients can happily reach their potential. Improved auditory processing delivers increased capacity to process multiple streams of sensory information (sight, sound and touch/movement) and therefore improve the capacity to multitask.

As our programs improve academic performance, they tend to facilitate a rapid recovery in self-esteem, behaviour and social performance. This is particularly true for those who are bright, and those who are aware of, and dislike failure.

What else may help?

  • Identify appropriate dietary supplements
  • For maximum performance and quality of life, ensure you eat a balanced, fresh, unprocessed diet.
  1. Professor Con Stough, neuropsycholigist, Brain Science Institute at Swinburn University, comment on Insight 3-11-09.
  2. Greene. L, Roadblocks to learning, pp45-51, Warner Books, New York, 200

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