July 26th 2000 - 9:30 p.m. BST
Event Report: - Jerry Mills, Tunbridge Wells - 18th July 2000
Don't Doubt The Dream
On Tuesday 18th July 2000, Caroline, Simon and Richard from adders.org went to hear Jerry Mills speak and sing in Tunbridge Wells.
Lady Astor of Hever introduced Jerry Mills and spoke of her own personal struggle to get help for her daughter, and her commitment to promoting awareness to ADHD through her recent involvement with ADDISS (ADD Information Services)
The title of the Workshop is from a song written and performed by Jerry in which he encourages us all 'Don't Doubt The Dream'. Jerry explains that Dreams take many strange turns coming through and that 'Our thoughts create reality'. He says that 'Whether you think you are right, or whether you think you are wrong. You are right'. We must ask 'What is my Dream'.
Jerry spoke passionately and emotionally about how is ADHD has had dramatic effect on his life. He spoke about all the pitfalls and problems he had encountered in his early years and how he eventually came to the decision to become a teacher specialising in working with 'problem children'.
Jerry used his music to illustrate some of the most personal feelings those with ADHD have, written from his own experiences and feelings.
Jerry firmly believes that every child can learn and no mater what problems surround the child it is the duty of all those who teach the child to find ways to help that particular child learn. A key phrase Jerry used and I was greatly impressed by was:
'If the child can not learn in the way we teach, then we must Teach in the way in which they can learn'
I felt that if we all take this and put it into practice then all of our children will be able to achieve their full potential and start to believe in themselves. Jerry asked for an indication from those in the audience as to who was a teacher, he did this to illustrate that all of us are teachers in our own way. The job of teaching is not entirely down to those who have qualified as teachers and work in the field of Education, we are all teachers to those around us.
Using Jerry's approach of using motivation and an openness to trying various teaching techniques life for our 'difficult' children would improve along with their self esteem.
Jerry used the stories of two children to give insight into how to put this into practice and why he believes it is so important.
The first story spoke of the very difficult and in parts sad story of a child's struggle to become accepted by those around him. How the way the child perceived the way to do this was to become part of a gang in which he became led into some dangerous activities, some of which were outside the law. One of these activities ended in a serious accident in which the child fell almost 60ft from a bridge and sustained some very serious injury. As the child began to recover he started to learn to play the guitar as part of the physiotherapy; this eventually led to song writing. He left school having passed his exams and went off to travel to decide what to do with his life. Through his music and his empathy with some of those more 'difficult' children he decided to become a teacher.
The second story Jerry told was about his first teaching job in which he came across a young boy who had some severe behaviour problems and who no teacher had been able to get through to. After a while of not fully getting through to this child Jerry saw him riding his sister's bike. Jerry asked him if he had a bike of his own to which the child said that his bike was broken. Jerry offered to help fix the bike if the child brought it into school. The child began to respond in class and was also later diagnosed with ADHD and put on medication. Through the extra effort Jerry put in to motivating the child and the extra support and the medication the child took the yearly exams and got incredible results. It was through the interventions and motivational skills Jerry used that the child began to believe in himself.
I felt that Jerry gave an emotional account of how these children who just learn differently, - Jerry calls this, LBD, Learn and Behave Differently, - just need to be taught in ways which differ from the main stream to enable them to achieve their full potential.
I found the phrase LBD to be so much more accurate and much more pleasant to describe these children, and adults. I also felt that if we all take Jerry's' challenge to 'Teach in the way they Learn' to be inspiring and wish that all those who have the responsibility for educating children would take the concept on board. Using this approach our children and ourselves would not feel so isolated and would be able to feel accepted members of society.
I strongly recommend the videotape of Jerry's Workshop, this is available in the UK from ADDISS, phone 020 8906 9068 or in the US direct from Jerry's Website at www.jerrymills.com. I would also recommend listening to Jerry's songs, which are available as an album on C.D or cassette, one album is called 'Urgent Reply' and is available from the same outlets.
A time for change is drawing ever closer, are we prepared to take up the challenge?
Thank you Jerry for your most inspiring commitment to raising awareness to our Special Children.
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