Creating new pathways of thinking

Transferring weak messages into stronger ones
The love of working with children has ­afforded Jana Durand the opportunity to assess and improve the well-being of the youth.
Wetumwene Shikage
Wetumwene Shikage

Psychological counsellor and psychometrist Jana Durand aims to provide a safe space for children and the youth by starting an intervention centre aimed at having children grow up without having issues that could easily be prevented during their early ages of development.

The intensive intervention will target children from the ages of five to 13. Workshops and socialising in a healthy way will target high school learners.

Additionally, Durand would like to equip parents to connect and build bonds with their children at the intervention centre as she believes that in order for someone to learn something from you, you need to experience a connection with them.

Basic early intervention in the lives of children is essential in blocking out the noise of outside influences that affect their thoughts and actions at their fragile ages, but also prevent long-term effects.

Targeting spots

Problems addressed at the centre include speech problems, signs of dyslexia and concentration problems. A parent of three young children, Maria Shakelela, said it is essential for children to get the right influence and understanding of these issues from an early age.

“Just picture it, when clay is still soft and being crafted, moulding is easy. When it gets dry, it cannot easily be changed. Sometimes it may be permanent,” she said.

Colleague and friend of Durand, Liza Vermaak said apart from the fact that the intervention centre addresses learning difficulties, it also caters to other issues. “This project is so much more than that. It is also the starting point of a healthier country as a whole, and an opportunity for experts that want to address problems and not just diagnose. It is for individuals who observe all these problems, but are unsure what to do. This will address difficulties at a core and foundational level.

This will serve as a wonderful opportunity to those who do not have direct access to services of professionals. This would mean sustainable development,” she said.

Programmes will be run with the children and parents consecutively for six weeks to address learning difficulties that seem like cognitive issues, but are, in fact, not.

It can be attributed to blockages in the processing process that ultimately causes emotional problems. Processing problems can be addressed and can be improved upon, but we do not have an environment to make this happen.