Case Study: How Emotions Affect Learning
Jared came in at the age of fifteen with his mother, a school nurse who understood how emotions affect health and learning. Jared’s father, an accountant, passed away when Jared was seven. His mom tried to get Jared to talk about his feelings and about his father, but Jared always refused to talk and refused counseling. He had never really grieved for his father.
One evening, after Jared’s session, his mother called to report that Jared “let loose” and was angry in the car the whole way home, yelling and screaming that his father left and how could he do that. Finally, he showed some emotions and grief! She had waited for years for that moment and asked what I had done to help him release all those feelings.
I had merely done my usual Books Neural Therapy™ protocol, and nothing linked to the loss of his father, nor had we discussed his dad. However, I had been working with him that day on math. Jared wasn’t the usual dyslexic, because he had no trouble reading and writing; his diagnosis would more accurately be dyscalculia, or trouble with numbers and math. That day, I was working on his eye tracking as he looked at numbers and performed various math calculations. His eyes worked fine for reading, but they didn’t track well when he was doing math.
Remember that his father was an accountant, someone who made his living by doing math every day? Up to the age of seven, Jared worked at grade level in math. After his father died, so did math, apparently, until that session.
“The eyes are the windows to the soul,” is the old saying, and the windows to Jared’s soul and his memory of his dad were apparently locked or frozen in time. When I released the tension from the fascia (where the muscle attaches to the bones) around his eyes, he was somehow freed, and the stored emotions could flow freely. And did they ever flow! Jared progressed rapidly in math after that. Years later, I spoke to his mother, and she said he is doing great in all areas of his life.
This is just one example how emotions can affect learning. Environment can help or hurt. Many times, the child and I have worked hard and made good progress only to have the child go home to an emotionally charged or hostile environment. Maybe a divorce is about to happen, maybe someone in the family has a serious disease, or maybe there is just no time to be seen or heard.
It’s hard to maintain all the progress when the emotions of others can unravel the progress the minute the child walks in the door at home or at school. I work with parents to ensure that the home environment is as stable as it can be, but a calm, nurturing environment isn’t always possible. Many times Mom and Dad don’t agree on various therapies for the child. Perhaps one parent has the same issues, and those issues were never addressed and handled when he or she was a kid and it is simply too painful to deal with.
If I can ask one thing of parents reading this, it would be to keep the home life as stable and supportive as possible. Your child’s well-being may depend on it.