Bal-A-Vis-X helps auditory processing
Success using Bal-A-Vis-X in the UK. (3rd instalment from therapist Usha Patel )
Bal-A-Vis-X is a programme that originates from The United States. It stands for Balance Auditory Vision exercises and its founder Bill Hubert, a classroom teacher, developed the exercises to use with the children in his classroom. The exercises were found to help concentration, hyperactivity, reading difficulties and co-ordination problems. Over time struggling student’s in Bill’s classroom started improving their grades. Such was the success of the programme that other schools in the region wanted to learn Bill’s programme. Over the duration of a decade the demand for BAVX workshops has grown stating in Wichita Kansas (where Bill lives), and spreading to other States in the US and as far as South East Asia.This blog is about the story of how Bal-A-Vis-X, a programme used for special educational needs came to the UK and its use.
Following my intensive workshop in November 2010 in USA, I returned to London with renewed confidence of how to work with my clients using the sand filled bags and racquet balls I had bought back with me.
However, working with one-to-one clients using Bal-A-Vis-X was slightly frustrating having seen the potential in the classroom/group setting for which it was intended. Generally, a person outside an educational setting would not be allowed to hold classes for groups of children unless consent from the programme’s founder has been given.
So, I spoke to Bill Hubert, the founder of the programme, and requested he sanctioned special permission to run sessions for children in my area. In that way I too could experience the full potential of the BAVX exercises, understand how group dynamics work and learn how it helped social cohesion as I had read about in Bill’s book (Resonance: Elise And Other Bal-A-Vis-X Stories, published September 2007). To my delight Bill authorised my group and my motivation grew tenfold.
In January 2011 I had my break. With local premises secured I set about informing local parents of the weekly sessions I was going to hold teaching Bal-A-Vis-X to children with learning difficulties. Understandably, the take-up was slow owing to the fact no one had heard of the strangely named programme, but parents did know me and wanted to give my new programme a go.
Stevie then twelve, was one of the first students in the group. Stevie was an excellent candidate; his diagnosed problems were numerous, including auditory processing, working memory and eye tracking. According to his mum, Stevie’s school did not meet his educational requirements and she was undergoing a tribunal to place Stevie in a more suited school for his needs. She was looking for anything to keep her son motivated in his education and in the process of learning.
Whilst not having any formal teaching experience my class of ten children went smoothly. All the parents were very cooperative and participated alongside their children. To my aide I had Bill’s instructional DVDs showing the exercises in detail. Often I would lend parents the relevant disc to learn the exercise we were practising in the comfort of their own home. It was a relief to know the parents wanted to work hard and they all gave it their best shot.
Stevie was one of the older students and his maturity lent itself to making him my ‘helper.’ Stevie enjoyed the sessions and practised daily with his mum. His advancement meant struggling children could have more of my time. This mutual benefit helped Stevie in increasing his confidence and me in a practical way.
The most significant improvement I saw with Stevie in the space of three months was with his ocular lock. This was so severe he always moved his head, as opposed to his eyes, when looking at things outside of eye level and at things not directly in-front of him. This difficulty slowly dissolved and he could move his eyes with smoothness in a way never known to his mum before. Another improvement was spotted as initially Stevie was not able to hear the synchronised bounces, but as time progressed he was not only able to hear his own misalignment of the bounces but that of others when helping me.
The first observation of tracking improvements came when Maureen, his mum, reported that Stevie no longer needed to stand beside his teacher when playing the steel-pans or dancing. He could position himself further away and observe from a distance and still keep up to speed with instructions the teacher provided. Following this Stevie himself acknowledged that ‘the ball and the bouncing’ helped him to centre his thoughts and focus.
By July seven months from starting my work with Stevie I reached as far as I could go in terms of teaching him the exercises. We reached an exercise called ‘The two ball simultaneous bounce.’ This was the most advanced exercise I knew at the time and only he was able to do this from the group of ten. Stevie was reported to have taken his BAVX balls with him everywhere as this was his favourite exercise!
Prior to a solo performance for the Harrow Gospel Choir Stevie took is his BAVX balls and bounced quietly in the corner. He went on stage and delivered with confidence.
A performance like this would have been inconceivable for Stevie in the past, both from a confidence aspect, but also because his short term memory (working memory) would have prevented him from remembering the words.
It was a proud moment for Stevie and his mum. It was a vindication that this strangely named Bal-A-Vis-X made a difference to one young person’s life.
Stevie’s mum is still pursuing the previously mentioned tribunal and Stevie will hopefully be the first child in this country to have Bal-A-Vis-X on his educational statement.
Usha Patel is a Learning Difficulties Therapist . She works through using simple movements and exercises specified according to every child’s unique capability. Her focus lays on using non-invasive motor sensory techniques to help academic performance. You can contact Usha via her websites www.integratedbrain.co.uk or www.ravivpracticelondon.co.uk
Thanks to Maureen* and Stevie* for letting me share their story! All *names have been changed.
© Usha Patel .Raviv Practice London/Integrated Brain.