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Waldon Teaches

Bishopswood School June 2013

Schools in Oxfordshire

Young Adult


Teaching aids


About Geoffrey Waldon


Sorting and matching

Waldon's Book (early draft)

Walter Solomon

Chris Holland

Mary Jo Middleton

With a foreward by
Prof. Colwyn Trevarthen

Chapter abstracts

Author's preface

1st two pages

Child development



Autism and Understanding on Facebook twitter page Walter on LINKED IN

© Walter Solomon 2020

Here are some comments on The Waldon Approach/Functional Learning
October 24th
Natasha's blocks
SH 04/05

This is what Natasha wrote and bought today:
Thanks Natasha - glad it is helping
I met you a while ago at one of Sibylle's workshops and have been working with Carol doing Waldon with my son for a year. It has changed his life. Some words you mentioned really stuck in my head. That Waldon wasn't a cure but a useful tool in the armoury we need as parents to help our children. Since starting the work Dylan is much more regulated and able to access other therapies/activities. I attended the workshop on Saturday in Leeds which has given me lots of new ideas to play with and I have your book which I will be studying next week whilst on half term. After lots of flakey equipment I decided it was time to invest in some good quality sturdy boards etc. we use them everyday so it feels nice to have some good looking equipment. Thank you for getting the word out there and thank you for making the materials. They are fabulous both me and Dylan think so!
Best Natasha
June 24th
I would like to know if there is any workshop for Waldon Approach. I read the book and highly taken by the approach and would like to see it in practice. I'm working with Autistic children since 2003. Mohammad
June 22nd
I am the mother of James, the 8 year old boy (now 9) who you worked with at his school this year 2012. The school felt that James seemed to benefit from this input. I bought your book and had a chance to read a good amount of it this week. The approach sounds very interesting and I would like to meet with you if at all possible to talk about the approach, James’s needs and what running a programme like this with James may involve. Please let me know your thoughts, Sally
June 22nd
Walter has written a wonderfully interesting book which is very well researched from a variety of sources. However what makes this book excel is that at its heart is an account of Walter's experience of discovering the Waldon method as the key to developing his son Robert, diagnosed as autistic, into a fully functioning and mature adult. Neil
June 21st
I came to talk to you a couple of times but you were deep in conversation with your fans! Thank you for writing about Geoffrey. So many of us have been saying for twenty years or more that we should write a book, we will write a book, we can write a book, but you DID write a book! It was lovely to hear your son's voice, so witty, so calm, so modest - and it was lovely to see so much support in the room, Thank you, I have just ordered a copy for a friend, who knows nothing about Autism or Waldon because I described it and they just felt it sounded fascinating, Pete
June 21st
I started reading the book last evening and am finding it engrossing. Chris
I bought your book and have been reading it. It is wonderful. I am so enjoying it. Such a lovely private look into lives. Carol
June 10th
I'm half way through the book and it's an interesting read alright. Mike
From: Anamarija Filipiè Dolnièar
Sent: 19 February 2012 19:27

Subject: RE: Website
As a speech therapist I work with many children with different levels of developmental delay. I first met developmental therapist Katrin Stroh at the ISEC conference in Glasgow in 1995 and she introduced my colleague and me to Functional Learning - The Waldon Approach. Since that time I have used Functional Learning ideas which we call Learning for Life in my speech therapy practice with almost all my children - adapted to their level of understanding and developmental delay. The first group of the children I started with, had a very low level of understanding, so they could not benefit from any of the previous approaches which we had tried with them. After we started working with Functional learning the improvement was significant.
Best wishes Ana
The following excerpts are from Chapters seven and eight of Autism and Understanding. These two chapters contain over thirty case studies - some from parents covering several pages and some short vignettes from teachers. They are representative of the positive light in which all of the teachers, parents and students I interviewed, remembered and gave thanks for their Waldon experience. The most common comment I heard on meeting people was: 'thank God someone is writing this book'!

Page 126 Edward's father in interview with the author 19th October 2009

'Also a part of the genius of the Waldon Approach is taking the sting out of the need for speech. The need for speech is gone. One of the cornerstones of the difficulty had been removed. The anxiety which I transmitted when trying to communicate with Edward was completely gone. It was very liberating and heartening and immensely moving'.

132 Peter's father in interview with the author 22nd May 2010

Dr Waldon referred to Peter as a generally under-responsive or primary autistic child. Peter showed confusion about the location of sound sources and, except when clearly distressed, ignored his mother completely, coming passively to anyone holding out an invitational hand and was willingly led out of the room without evidence of concern or even a glance towards his mother. Returning to Dr Waldon and his theory and practice with regard to problems in child development we have no doubt that he made the crucial contribution to the remarkable progress that Peter made in those early years which has given him a quality of life which would otherwise have been denied him. In this sense we would say that Geoffrey Waldon saved Peter's life, as indeed he saved ours.

144 Dan's father by email from Australia with the author 20th October 2009

I think it is fair to say that Dan's encounter with Waldon and the Waldon method applied by Richard Brooks was transforming. Learning how to learn made great sense in Dan's case. Because of the epilepsy and its treatment Dan had clearly missed out on crucial initial stages of development when the world was blocked out from him. Dan was a very cooperative Waldon student. He seemed to calmly enjoy doing all the exercises with the toys. The environment of assisted asocial learning with the facilitator behind him and the absence of any encouragement, praise or criticism, seemed to work incredibly well.

161 Larry's parents in interview with the author 15th September 2010

We would both like to say how enormously grateful we are to Katrin and Alan [Waldon Approach teachers] for their work with Larry and with ourselves. The work was neither easy nor comfortable and was sometimes emotionally tough. But their belief in Larry (and in us), the idea of his going to university which we never forgot and which now has become a reality, was such an inspiration to us all.

163 Freddie's father in interview with the author 26th June 2009

The Waldon lessons helped in all sorts of ways. They facilitate the student's acquisition of General Understanding through the Learning-How-to-Learn-Tools. I do believe that Freddie's General Understanding was both broader and deeper than could be expected of a child with his syndrome. I am totally convinced that his understanding of himself and of the world around him increased enormously through the Waldon lessons.

169 Roy's father in interview with the author 23rd March 2010

Without Waldon he would have gone early into residential care and I believe people would have given up on him ever being able to learn anything. It is very unlikely that he would have developed even the basic skills I have described above.

171 Elinor's father in interview with the author 13th October 2009

We did all the banging, reaching, extending, using space, and rings on sticks. She reached down here and over there; and a stick with a ring on it; and transferring from the stick which you held in your hand onto a stick which was on the table. It is my sense that those activities helped Elinor come out of herself and use a wider space. Gradually Elinor's world got bigger by inches and feet and yards. The world got bigger for her. That is real, that happened.

175 Abigail's parents in interview with the author 23rd May 2010

Geoffrey took us away from this concept of chronological age and chronological expectation and taught us to see development as a progression; where you progress next is dependent on where you are now and not due to any artificial benchmark of chronological age. So we see Abigail in terms of where she is, rather than how old she is and this has given us some very interesting run ins with more conventional establishments.

176 Bhodi's mother in interview with the author 23rd March 2010

The exposure that Geoffrey has had to his work has generated two diametrically opposed responses. One has been from the people who have experienced it, and is just joy at his insight and gratitude for the results he has produced; and the other has been derision basically from people who do not understand.

182 Carol Parry, nursery teacher at Bishopswood Day School in interview 24th May 2010

We still use the Waldon Approach which we call learning-to-learn; we train staff. The people from the Oxfordshire Autism Support Service are familiar with Waldon and also train staff. Over the years I have seen children move on. Many of the children we had coming through with autism twenty years ago have made a lot of progress; some have gone on to do A levels, and to university.

185 Judi Stacpoole in interview with the author 25th May 2010

I am Senior Teacher in the Primary department at Bishopswood School and have been involved with Waldon since about 1988 through Richard Brooks and Sheila Coates from Oxfordshire when they started doing the training with us. We just thought: 'Hey - what a good way of enabling children actually to learn' Ever since then at this school we have been real advocates of Waldon and it is interesting how most of our children, and they all have severe and complex needs, have taken to it.

190 Anamarija Dolnicar special needs teacher in Slovenia in interview April 5th 2011

There were many children who had severe developmental delays and who other therapists were not able to do anything with. They failed to improve using other methods. Their level of cognition was so low that they could not get any benefit from learning speech. They had to have some level of understanding before they could do anything.

Robert (the author's son), on the FORUM for this website January 27th 2012

Hi, Robert here. I am really excited about this new book my father has written on autism, Dr. Waldon's theory, and my experiences with him. Believe me, I would not be here without my mother and father's tireless help in getting me where I am today. It was definitely not easy growing up for me in a 'normal' world. However G-d has blessed me with a beautiful wife, one lovely daughter, and another child on the way.

I hope this site will inspire and gently show parents that autism is not the end of the world, and that there is hope and a light at the end of the tunnel. Yes, it will take work, however even for normal people, dating, losing weight, and career success also take work.