NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) is an absolutely invaluable set of skills in parenting…teaching… well for developing highly resourceful strategies for great results…whatever you do.
Great NLP is the ability to utilize a seemingly endless supply of techniques combined with a heightened acuity or awareness of what is “going on” in the world around you, in yourself and others.
“Special Needs” No thank you we’re not interested
Just before I returned from the Middle East, I met up on facebook with one of the dearest friends I’ve ever had. It was wonderful, we were always kindred spirits.
During the “catch” up phases we shared stories about our children. We discussed their personalities who they looked like, favourite moments and how they did at school. She mentioned that her had been put in a “special needs” class because of his inability to read…or something like that.
Later, because of what she said about “special needs” I had a good listen when he spoke to me, and paid lots of attention on Facebook to what he was writing and so on. I didn’t notice anything that would raise a red flag.
A few weeks ago she called and was quite upset. It seems that now that her son is ready to enter the high school system the school board is taking away some of his choices based on his limitations, his “special needs” .
She was upset because they were limiting his options, he wouldn’t be able to make a choice about what type of high school education he would like to have, therefore limiting his choices for college/university etc.
Let me take a moment here move away from the story and share some of my thinking…
My friend is an amazing mother, and like every mother I know she wants to do what is best and is willing to do anything and everything it takes to give her child the tools he needs to have the life he wants.
From the time her son entered into grade one he was told he will never read properly. He just didn’t have the ability and was even told something about his “files being mixed up” (“files” is an NLP term…however you would never catch any credible Neuro Linguistics Practitioner say that or any of the aforementioned statements – that would be absolutely STUPID and completely detrimental to the mental wellbeing of any human being never mind a child)
“Your son’s files are mixed up” sounds more likely to be coming from someone that thought they read it in a book or attended a one day workshop on NLP 15 years earlier and then decided they’re an expert on the topic.
It never ceases to amaze me how some of the most well intentioned people can do and say the absolutely stupidest things – especially to children.
Now I realize I may be stepping on some toes, it’s really not my intention. I know quite a few teachers and educators, the ones I know mean very well, and they are doing the best with the information they have, but telling a child at 6 (or any age) that they’re never going to be able to do something is just plain cruel. Even without a basic understanding of human psychology, self esteem development, or Neuro Linguistics programming, if it was the child’s best interests you were considering you would never say that.
The “programming” that continued with that child and the mother continued from there until the time of our phone call, some 8 years.
Having no knowledge in this area and not knowing what else to do put, the mother put her trust completely in the “experts” and in the school system. She believed that knew what they were doing and that they were acting in the child’s best interests. So she followed their lead all the way. She put her son in “special” classes, arranged for weekly tutoring sessions and tortured both herself and her son with the task of reading out loud every day.
I say tortured, because just imagine for yourself what it must be like to be that boy; being singled out in “special” class, spending time every week with a private tutor and reading out loud every day all the while knowing – you’ll never be successful at it – You simply can’t do it.
It’s like they’ve given up on you long before you had the chance. Somebody one time decided that they didn’t like what they “heard” and wrote a life sentence for this boy.
Naturally the boy hated the learning aspects of school. School was stupid and reading was tiresome.
Today this boy is no longer 6 he is now a young man and he is 14 and lucky for him he’s got a mamma that just wouldn’t or perhaps couldn’t believe that her otherwise completely “well functioning” son should be denied opportunities, especially after 8 years of rigorous studies and doing everything they have told her to do.
When she decided not to accept the new “sentence” from the counsellor that called that day to “inform” her of what they’d be doing with her son next takes a tremendous show of courage. She didn’t say anything to the counsellor that would be a complete waste of energy as the counsellor didn’t call to discuss option she called to tell her what was decided on their side.
It is pretty courageous to stand up especially after so many years of her being convinced he couldn’t, and saying “My boy is not that, there has got to be something we’ve missed”
Back to the story….
During the phone call, I couldn’t resist but tell her that from what she has told me and from what I know of her son (as I had spent many hours with them and had check to see what “files were mixed up” – I couldn’t find anything) I didn’t believe that there was any reason he couldn’t read. They told him he was at a grade 4 reading level- he’s going into grade 9!
Later when we met she asked if I’d be willing to work with her son, I told her I’d be pleased to do some work with him. I wouldn’t know exactly many sessions we would require until after I met with him, but I suspected in would be very few.
So that’s what we did.The boy was eager to sit down with me!
I checked what was really going on. As it turns out – no surprise of course that over the years there was a lot of unresourceful stuff programmed into his beautiful mind.
I discovered many things here’s the synopsis…
It was the most amazing experience. It turns out at least for this young man that he actually loves reading and is so grateful any time he is given the opportunity to do so. As long as he isn’t being interrupted by somebody “helping” him with a word, or cutting him short when he takes a moment or two to apply the absolutely ridiculous inadequate and often useless auditory spelling strategy they’ve been banging into his head via his ears for the past years!
School he thought was “stupid” because it turns out they keep telling him what he can’t do and what he’ll never become and he thought he was going to school so he could become and do whatever he wanted to.
There’s a lot of brilliance in that thought process. There was no problem with any “files” that I could find and I told him so.
I told him a lot of other things.
This young man was confused by the authority figures in his life, and confusion at that age will often turn into rebellion, and possibly into drug abuse and so on.
I’m so happy his mama hadn’t given up on her son!
By the second session and after a few in between chats with both his mother and him I decided we could jump right into teaching them the NLP (Neuro Linguistics Programming) spelling strategy.
The three of us sat down together, I explained it to both of them.
She was very nervous. Dear God can you blame her? She had watched and listened for years as he faltered over spelling and reading. Her heart would break each time he “failed” at reading a paragraph or spelling a word.
Again I tell you this woman has courage because despite all of that here she was trying again.
The boy was eager and curious and frankly we’d had such a great first session and he had been experiencing such good results since the first time that we “worked” together that he had already decided that he had enough of “them” telling him what he couldn’t do. He was ready to leave that behind and move forward.
As I said, I explained the strategy and then we started doing it…spelling that is. In the few minutes that following he spelled “bar mitzvah, linguistics and a couple other words I don’t remember. I purposefully choose words that I knew he wouldn’t know.
Heck I couldn’t spell bar mitzvah.
It was relatively effortless; he just kept doing it, spelling that is, word after word. It was amazing!
His mamma was beaming with joy and her eyes were spilling with tears and he couldn’t stop himself from smiling.
Literally within minutes after learning the NLP spelling strategy he was spelling words that he hadn’t even heard before. He was doing it easily and was feeling good about himself!
Success alas, and it literally took less than ten minutes…
Today he is a spelling and reading machine. His teacher is amazed at how well he is doing and I’m certain prides herself on her good work. (At least I told him to just let her think she’s the cause it will keep her feeling good about herself – the last thing we need are teachers feeling bad about their abilities, they’ve got enough to deal with)
Besides I’d like to believe despite everything that his teacher really does mean well by him. Although I must say I’m very curious about one thing. Apparently according to the boy, she has never had anyone in her class advance out of the class into a “normal” class. That is a big huge curiousity for me. I mean if I were giving a class year after year, and mostly to the same students and nobody was advancing I’m relatively certain we wouldn’t be saying it’s because everybody else has special needs.
If I’m come across a bit harsh, I sincerely apologize.
Believe me true I have complete compassion for those of you who are truly committed to being teachers of our children and are literally bound by the limitations of the system. I believe with all my heart that people are doing the best they can with what they’ve got…but I would really like to emphasize there’s a whole bunch more out there and available…when you’re ready.
If you’re willing to put the stuff you already know into the place where you keep all the stuff you already know is kept, therefore allowing your proverbial cup to be empty you’ll find there’s a whole bunch of really mind blowing information that will make your job, and therefore your life a whole lot easier.
NLP is not a new technology, it’s been around at least 30 years…the information and strategies to make your lives with 30 + children a day more joyfilled and truly fulfilling is available and it’s available now.
You however will need to do something a little bit differently, and that is have the courage to step outside what is being done in your world.
When you return to work your amazing new skill set you might choose to be a little selective in whom you are going to share it with.
There’s bound to be at least one guy that already thinks he knows everything, and the bottom line is usually that person is just afraid that if they open up they themselves may have to make some changes – not everyone is ready for “even better” or “easy”. It seems some people have a lot invested in what they do being really complicated…I suppose for some it gives them a sense of self worth or self value.
It’s that guy that is always so willing to continue to do what isn’t working and spend countless hours analyzing and finding out what’s wrong instead of focussing and doing something that actually works that holds people back. You don’t need that guy in your life anymore.
It reminds me of a joke I just heard “this guy goes to a psychiatrist and says “I’m crazy with fear, I terrified that there is somebody under my bed and they’re going to get me” The psychiatrist says “come and see me 3 times a week, 100.00 a session and within the year we’ll have your fears taken care of. The fellow leaves to ponder this. A few weeks later he runs into the psychiatrist “actually I don’t need to see you anymore, a bartender gave me the cure and it only cost 10.00” “Hmm, and how exactly did he do that?” snorted the psychiatrist. Well I sat down had a couple of beers, told him my problem and he suggested I cut the legs off of my bed…which I did, and voila no more people hiding under my bed problem solved and the beer cost me 10.00 bucks!
There is always another way and sometimes it’s even better.
Be well, be happy
P.s. Here’s some more information about our Certified NLP Practitioner Training.
P.s.s. I am currently accepting NLP coaching clients for a wide range of topics contact us for details and pricing.