It is easy to ‘blame’ many of the difficulties experienced by people with learning, sensory, developmental or emotional difficulties on the official diagnosis, or label, given by educational or health professionals. Many people will take it for granted that individuals with dyslexia will have problems with reading or spelling and leave it at that – it’s the dyslexia that ‘makes’ them like that. Similarly, autism ‘makes’ people behave in unexpected, or even unwanted, ways and it’s the autistic spectrum disorder that does that to them.
We take a very different view on this and prefer to look at how the underlying systems operate and find ways, where required and possible, to make changes to the way the brain processes information.
In this section we provide background information on how the five direct senses (our hearing, vision, touch, smell and taste) and some indirect senses such as the balance (vestibular), proprioceptive and interoceptive systems influence our ability, behaviour and performance. We also show how the senses influence each other and how they work together to make us a whole person.
From experience we know that people can be retrained in the way they process information, that these new patterns can be long lasting and that even small changes can result in very significant improvements in ability, behaviour and performance.
We hope that we can give you a new understanding here of what may be going on for people with difficulties in their lives. A better understanding can lead to a totally new view on why a person behaves the way he or she does and this is an important step on the road to transformation.
Learn about the sensory systems and how they interact with each other. Once you learn to recognise typical ‘deficiencies’ you will start to observe these in others and in yourself. Be very gentle on yourself and others and remember that almost all of the greatest minds and highest achievers in this world show some of these ‘deficiencies’ themselves. There is no universal way our senses and other systems ‘should’ work – we’re all different and most of us manage very well indeed. However, knowing what goes on ‘behind the scenes’, gives us more options in choosing our path through life.