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Bakersfield's Finest


As heard on KFI AM-640 TALK-RADIO

FRESH PERSPECTIVE                      

When a child cannot face life or learning,

he or she often escapes into unconsciousness

by Tracy Sherwood, Tutor/Author -

Therapeutic Tutoring gets to the emotional and spiritual roots of non attentiveness accompanied by glazed eyes, fidgeting, wrestlessness, distractibility, short attention span, yawning and daydreaming - mostly at learning time... Click to join AutismConnectionTherapy

Click to join AutismConnectionTherapy

And what of autism? And I have discovered through actual experience, not study, that most learning and many social and developmental disability cases, including autism, are spiritual in nature rather than biological. Now you may already know this but feel alone in your viewpoint. This fact is evident to me because were each supposed learning disabilitiy biological in nature, due to a chemical imbalance or such, it could not be resolved or so miraculously dissipated by spiritual techniques that reach in and contact the individual on a human level.

Now I'm not speaking of music, massages, candles, or anything ritualistic or faith-based - not to invalidate any of these as my experiences with them are nil - but simple persistent focus techniques with the right type of communication, gentlest pressure, and of course endless patience, sees success at end with all such cases without fail - under certain conditions.

Please read my article below and then call to schedule a free consultation. My clients come to me from around the world, because no distance is too far to where your child will finally come to connect with the real world. 


Tracy Sherwood


Only two minutes into Christian's therapeutic tutoring session for attention and focus, the seven-year-old boy's eyes glaze over as he withdraws from facing me – his tutor. Within 15 minutes he is eighty percent unconscious – his head bobbing in all directions in useless effort to keep erect and attentive.   Throughout the next hour, he becomes partially alert several times but promptly falls back into an unconscious state. I tap him on the knee from time to time to keep him from falling from the state of reduced consciousness into the state of sleep where he will fully escape responsibility for his own awareness.


In the minutes prior to this session Christian had successfully undergone simple educational exercises to demonstrate what attention is and to find out that only he has control of his own attention and focus. The boy had ample sleep the night before and has not been put into this state through hypnotism, drugs, or mental suggestion of any kind. After understanding what attention is and finding that he does in actuality have control over his own attention, he is asked to simply sit and be there and focus his attention on me. But as he finds himself focusing in, making knowing and deliberate contact with me for the first time, his eyes glaze over as he begins to withdraw - rendering him into a state of light unconsciousness. This is subconscious escape.


In my thirty years of tutoring children with learning disabilities, I have found that they nearly all have one thing in common: they are withdrawing because they cannot face what is in front of them or what life expectations have for them to experience. This withdrawal is usually manifested in other ways such as putting attention on other things, fidgeting, changing the subject, becoming emotional, critical, joking, and destructive, daydreaming, or entering a rigid non-feeling state where education, anger, force and pleading cannot penetrate. But when denied the use of these mechanisms, the only escape left is to shut down by way of unconsciousness.


While in this state of reduced consciousness, Christian is behind the scenes with unseen determination to stay attentive. This is what keeps his head coming back up in attempt to re-establish its focus position throughout the session. Sometimes the head bobs down and doesn't come back up – indicating that awareness has further diminished and though progress is slowed during this period, it is still inching its way through the layers of unconsciousness. But this particular layer of unconsciousness will ‘burn off' with some time, bringing him into a lighter state of unconsciousness where he can take back some control of his efforts to be attentive once again - or he will awaken. Session by session, he begins to rise above the unconsciousness and gradually overcomes it with his rehabilitated ability to control his attention, focus, and remain alert while listening, reading, and facing life.


Each session increases his ability to perceive without avoidance. Between sessions his parents report change in attitude and alertness. The most common reports tell of less fidgeting, defiance, emotional reaction and less shyness or aggression. The positive gains include enhanced presence and improved ability to focus, to better make sense of things, to face more situations that could not be faced before. He becomes generally more cheerful, more helpful and more affectionate where he just recently seemed to thrill at hurting, shocking or showing his power through defiance, or just plain tuning out.


But as with most children with similar symptoms, Christian has always been able to focus in areas of personal interest like video gaming and television. How can this be? The answer lays in the very reason he withdraws from learning or external control.   He feels in control with video gaming and television. With video gaming he can learn at his own pace, error safely, target his own goals, and try again when he fails. He will win and strive on, or quit at will to come back later to conquer again. He is in control. Because of these factors, video gaming is one of the very few activities in which he can win and feel some sense of accomplishment. This should be understandable to us, as we are all drawn to areas and activities in which we have some real hope of winning and realizing some form of accomplishment.


With television, there is nothing expected of him. He is a spectator with no pressure to perform. If the subject matter goes over his head, he can settle for tuning into the visuals, changing the channel, or leaving the television. There is no one telling him what to do or how to do it, other than perhaps what, when and how much television he is permitted to watch. And because the television is an escape from external demands of life and learning and because he has proven to self and others that he cannot live up life and learning, he strongly protests when that same control enters into the comfort zones of video gaming or television. And when it's time to perform in life or learning, his only escape is to find any distraction possible including thoughts of past, future, or the tiny wad of paper between his fingers. He drops his pencil a dozen times, slides down into his seat, and his eyes glaze over as though no one is present. And to a most certain degree, they are not.


Both parents sat in on Christian's initial tutoring session which also served as an assessment to customize Christian's tutoring program. Christian was in the second grade and in April it was determined that he would be held back next year. He was unable to learn the alphabet sounds and learn to read. He also could not do simple arithmetic. His teacher said he was highly distractible, disruptive, fidgety, and would not pay attention in class enough to learn a thing.


Christian's tutoring program would include my Superphonics techniques and Arithmetic, but to make progress in these, he needed specialized concentration and focus training and there again, only made possible by a Validation Therapy Program. It would take a few months, at two hours per week and his mother would sit in on sessions to learn the simpler techniques to practice at home for swifter progress.


In the first session, Christian was extremely defiant with his mother calling her stupid and telling her to shut-up. He resisted his mother's presence and urges but responded favorably to my communication and techniques. I attempted to reprimand him for his abuses to his mother and he came around with much effort, but it was clear this was a momentary improvement and far from remedial.


Although Christian learned the alphabet sounds and then to read and spell beginning level words within a few sessions, his mother continued to come in upset about his behavior at home, in school and especially his verbal abuse to her in and out of the tutoring sessions. Some of this improved within a few more sessions, but I constantly had to work to keep him focused in the sessions although his progress was good. He was able to make good progress because the techniques were powerful yet conceptually simple for him. But he was not penetrable when it came to explaining instructions to him. He would look at me with glazed eyes and when asked what was said he would be mentally blank.


I could see it was time to break through the ‘wall of daze' and bring him out where he would make much swifter and more lasting progress. This would require some hours and untiring patience on my part, but it had to be done. So explaining the concentration techniques to his mother and then to Christian in words he could understand, we began the venture into this little boy's inability to be attentive and positively responsive. It was time to come out and rise above his unknowing tendency to withdraw.


So the focus sessions go on with Christian staying alert and focusing for longer periods each session before falling into unconsciousness. And each session he gains more ability to keep trying even throughout his dark periods of blackout. At each session's end he comes groggily out of it on his own and awakens less cranky and more willing to continue. I then take him through a simple but remarkable technique that fully awakens him, and brings him to a level of light cheerfulness. He goes home and comes to his next session quite willing to face the diminishing darkness once again.


His mother is in need of more patience to help him practice between sessions, so she too undergoes this technique and more training as well.   It's important that she knows how to interact with and preserve these new abilities in her son. A child, like any adult, can be extremely powerful and it's important not to thwart that power but to preserve and guide it effectively. It's equally important, that the child is willing to undergo these sessions and that he or she sees the need and has the desire to improve attention control. Otherwise, we will reinforce the negative rather than make progress.   I must stress the delicacy of this undertaking; it requires much skill, steadfastness and understanding of everything involved.


At first Christian said he did not want to be able to pay attention or improve his behavior. But I knew that all children want to do well; they sometimes just can't admit it because they are giving in, which means losing. They also have little hope of doing better.  Therefore, forcing admittance is not constructive.   So I take another approach which quickly brings about his desire and hope of some little wins, and hope of improved relations outside the protective wall that has been protecting him.


Once a child is willing to try, I know it's just a matter of 5 to 20 hours before all is resolved and life becomes very, very different for this child and all who influence him and are influenced by him. When the dark clouds are out of the way, the world is not so difficult to face. Expectations, if delivered with effective guidance and faith, are not so difficult to meet. The world isn't such a dangerous place; one only needs an ability to perceive it.


Christian is now able to be attentive without avoidance and giving into distraction. He has reclaimed his spirit of play and his true personality has come out in full bloom.   Although he has much to catch up on academically, he is now reading and spelling and can think with mental math. He is doing well in school and will not be retained in the second-grade.


As heard on KFI AM-640 TALK-RADIO, Tracy Sherwood, award-winning Tutor, is author of ‘Superphonics'. She has tutored all ages and subjects for 32 years and is tutor to celebrities. She specializes in children who really try but are struggling because they cannot focus, concentrate, retain or conceptualize to learn.   Tracy moved from Los Angeles to Bakersfield last year and may be contacted by calling 661-663-8886. Her web site address is   Copyright Tracy Sherwood, 2005.

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