Yoram was referred to Paula Garbourg for treatment at the age of 11, when he was in the fourth or fifth grade. He had trouble reading fluently, didn’t understand numbers, had difficulty in comprehending the essential concept of a number, and was therefore, of course, unable to participate fully in the arithmetic lessons at school.
At the same time he was prone to be restless, both at school and at home, which manifested itself in the inability to sit in one place, and a need to leave the classroom from time to time and to run. He was also prone to falling down, chiefly on his head. It seemed as though everywhere Yoram went, his head would go before him and fall on something, or something would fall on it. As a result he had several concussions, and had to have stitches in his head 5 times.
From the time he was a small child it was clear that he had an excellent intelligence and was extremely alert and restless. He was then diagnosed as hyperactive. He was popular in kindergarten, excelling in social sport and anything that entailed a lot of movement, such as running, etc. In contrast, he adamantly refused to take part in all the activities-such as drawing, constructing shapes, etc.-that demanded hand-eye coordination. In psychological tests administered at the age of five and a half to determine whether he was ready for school, a gap was found between general intellectual capacity and performance where perception of forms or grasp of abstractions was involved. It was not clear then whether it was a matter of general developmental lag or a specific deficiency.
In the second grade, with the aid of a special reading and arithmetic teacher, he got to the point where he knew the technique of reading, but read slowly and with great difficulty. His handwriting was terrible, notably for its lack of clarity and for switched letters. His teachers characterized him as a typical dyslectic child. In the third grade he barely coped with concepts of ten and twenty, and was unable to perform any abstract operation verbally.
At the same time he was ambitious and made an effort to progress. After half an hour or an hour of exertion, he could burst out crying at his inability to go on. Five or six years have passed since he met Paula. Yoram worked intensively with Paula at the start, and later with one of her pupils for an hour a week. After a short time, about a month or two, a great change was already evident in the boy, especially in his studies. He began to understand more. His tremendous difficulty with abstract thinking and concentration was gradually disappearing. We saw the child starting to come to grips with theoretical material and even mastering it. The process of overcoming intellectual difficulties is, in my opinion, going on until this day, and each time there is a further advance in this respect. Today he is in the ninth grade in high school, and is an average student in most subjects.
During his school years he had major difficulties twice (besides reading and arithmetic at the beginning), and they were in the study of foreign languages. Every time he had to learn a new set of letters-once Arabic and once English-his difficulties in reading comprehension came back. But now he overcomes these difficulties with minimal help and much more easily than before. He has stopped falling on his head, though he engages in several kinds of sport, including sports that especially require a sense of balance, such as riding horseback and surfing.
We have viewed Paula’s work, and later the work of her assistant, as an on-going process that accompanies Yoram’s growing up. There is no doubt that it has been a crucial factor in the boy’s ability to re