Learning Disability Specialists Reach Out to Hout Bay Children

LD SpecialistsThis article appeared in The New Age newspaper on 24 November 2011:

The ability to learn is a crucial life skill that many people take for granted as it is such a natural part of daily life.

Unfortunately more than 20% of South Africans are faced with learning disabilities. Susan du Plessis, director of educational programmes at Edublox, said, “Children with learning disabilities are often let down by the automatic learning processes that take place in the brain. The ease of understanding new information, which should be effortless, becomes difficult and learning becomes frustrating.

“Research has shown that with brain training exercises, children are able to learn and read faster, more easily and with greater comprehension,” Du Plessis added.

Edublox, a South African company that helps children and adults with learning disabilities through specially developed programmes, have introduced a bursary programme for pupils with learning disabilities in less fortunate communities. “Not being able to learn is debilitating and learners from these areas have a lot to contend with as it is,” said Zainu Allie, Edublox franchise owner and facilitator in Cape Town. “We have been working closely with 16 learners from schools in the Hout Bay area since April. With the safe, fun and challenging environment provided, at our Centre in Claremont, we have seen delightful results despite pupils only being able to attend lessons once a week.

“When we first met the group they were noisy, disruptive, argumentative, lazy, disorganised and disrespectful, and had given up on themselves,” Allie said. “Eight months later, the pupils arrive with smiles, are eager to be challenged cognitively, keen to read and chat to us about their dreams. They are telling us of their improvements at school and how they now understand their work. We have seen a definite improvement in reading, concentration, visual and auditory memory. I am extremely proud of their progress especially as many of the learners do not speak English as their first language.

“I was touched, when one of the learners, who had been struggling with poor academic results and low self-esteem, proudly asked his mother, ‘Guess who got full marks in their spelling test today?’ and beaming from ear to ear pointed to himself,” she said.

Forming partnerships are important for Edublox. “We are very grateful for the partnerships that we have fostered,” Allie said, “Sheila Hofmeyr, from the Hout Bay Educational Trust, has been instrumental in getting the pupils from Hout Bay to Claremont and providing them with weekly lunches.”

The Edublox methodology is based on 30 years’ practical experience combined with 50 years of intensive research about reading and learning. Even learners who are seriously dyslexic can be helped to overcome their problems completely by following the Edublox programme. For more information on Edublox contact: Zainu Allie on (021) 671-2409/[email protected] or visit www.edublox.co.za

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