As I looked out through the kitchen window one afternoon I saw Eden, my youngest son, returning from school walking down the garden path towards the front door, looking like he was under a cloud, not in a good mood … I could tell! This was the way he often returned from school. I heard the front door open, his school bag get thrown (or kicked!) down the hallway and he walked into the kitchen, threw himself onto a chair and started what had become the usual rant about school and himself. I hate that school. I can’t do anything right. I can’t learn. I’m so stupid …. And other things that I had become accustomed to hearing. I was at a loss to know what to do to really help him.
Eden was about thirteen he had managed to get into mainstream school after attending a special needs primary school. He was labelled with Asperger’s syndrome, adhd, semantic and pragmatic language disorder, dyslexia and social and behavioural problems. He did extremely well at his special needs primary school so when he was ten years old and getting ready to consider which school he would move onto, he made a decision that he wanted to go to mainstream school and having me as a mother (a single mother) was encouraged to follow his heart and go with what felt right for him! I told him I believed in him and would support him. It wasn’t easy, we had challenges, it was time consuming and we put a lot of effort in to persuade and convince others it was possible. We did and he went to a local mainstream secondary school . When he started in September 2004 we knew it would be challenging and lots of support and help was put in place. Eden’s biggest struggle was reading and spelling. He could barely read or write three letter words when he started at age eleven. He would get into absolute rages, scribble over his work, tear it up or screw it up, throw it away and cry. It was often heartbreaking to watch and listen to. He wanted to die, kill himself, and often said he wished he’d never been born.
I heard about nlp and it might have well have stood for nuevo linguine pasta for all it meant to me at first. It didn’t! it stood for neuro linguistic programming. I knew Neuro meant to do with the brain and nervous system, linguistics the very wide area of communicating through words body and behaviours and programming is something we all are because of our past experiences and beliefs systems and the values we have and what I learnt was that we can change the way our brain or mind is wired to achieve better results than we are currently experiencing.
In April 2006 I became a Hypnotherapist and an nlp master practitioner. I learned so many tools and techniques that I knew would help Eden, including the ‘spelling stategy’ that I’d seen demonstrated and I knew this would be a great help to Eden. I was excited, I couldn’t wait to get home from my training and share it with Eden, especially the magic of the ‘spelling strategy’. I picked an appropriate time and asked him to come and sit at the kitchen table. I asked him to spell something, any word he chose. I can’t remember what he chose, I was interested in watching where his eyes were going to retrieve the information. I knew to spell, the eyes needed to be looking up to the where we access visual patterns and noticed Eden looked down where feelings were accessed in the kinesthetic area. I then asked him to give me a word he couldn’t spell. He said ‘Photosynthesis’ good choice I said I can’t spell that either! We had index cards in front of us and coloured marker pens. What’s your favourite colour pen Eden, Red he said, so I used the red marker pen and wrote in big letters on the cards ‘Phot’ on one ‘osy’ on the second ‘nthe’ on the third and ‘sis’ on the last one putting them in a line and spelling photosynthesis. I then took each card in order and held it up in Eden’s line of vision to his left and got him to say the letters out loud. I then put the cards down and asked him with his eyes closed to remember what he’d seen and spell photosynthesis. He did! Immediately and with no hesitation, then he wrote it down. A fourteen letter word! Wow, it was brilliant. He was amazed. We did it a second time … cards held up, he spelt the word out loud, he closed his eyes and this time I asked him to spell it backwards. He did. Wow, he was thrilled. He could spell and a long word! This was the start of Eden being able to spell and believe in himself. I explained that there was nothing wrong with his ability to spell. He just hadn’t been taught in a way that made it easy for him to learn. He became an avid reader. He became more confident and comfortable at school. NLP gave me tools and techniques to help Eden, help me communicate with him much more effectively. I had learned so much about the power and magic of language and in my changing what I would say and the way I would ask questions I got much better results. I had no idea before I’d gone away that the unconscious mind cannot directly process a negative and has to think of thing you don’t want it to think of before it can not think of it and as a mother of three boys, suddenly understood the reason I didn’t see the results I wanted. I had a long list of Don’ts. Don’t forget to do your homework, Don’t leave your room a mess, Don’t be late or get dunk (to the older ones!) Don’t lose your money, phone or keys ….. I was giving the instructions to actually do all that. I stared to flip it and ask for what I did want. Focusing on what I wanted and what was good rather than what I didn’t want and what was wrong! The change I wanted was happening. I had changed, I realized that to get different results I had to do things differently and finally I understood the fridge magnet I had …. I’d had it for years, loved it yet didn’t really get it, now I did. The Gandhi quote “We must be the change we wish to see in the world” I started to see it. It was magic.
When Eden started secondary school we were told he would probably not take GCSE’s …. He did and managed to get 10 …… He then went on to college and studied a National Diploma in Applied Sciences and an extra A level in History. This September my wonderful and amazing son will be starting University, studying Archaeology and Ancient History. He is one of the most loving, caring, compassionate, fair and generous souls I know. Well balanced and accepting, a true delight and as I have said to him from a very young age and still do today “Eden you make my heart glow” and he does. I am so grateful I found a way to help him, to connect and communicate effectively, break down the barriers that were boxing him in and let him discover his unique potential and soar. He is continuously reaching new heights and I know he will continue to do so.