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Meet Dr. Beulah from The Assessment Center™

From pre-primary school teacher to globally recognised neuro-development trailblazer, Dr. Beulah van der Westhuizen’s story is nothing short of inspirational. Her educational philosophy is that all children are unique, and a teaching approach should match their individual profiles. Dr. Beulah trains individuals, through her Neuro-Dynamics Academy, to become childhood learning barrier assessors at The Assessment Center™. Using the outcomes of these assessments, teachers can successfully tailor their teaching approach to optimally connect with children.


Tell us a little about yourself.

I started my training in Pre-primary school, but never really stepped into the role. I was headhunted by one of my lecturers and offered a lecturing post at a college teaching ECD. Within this position, I quickly became part of the management team, and was then promoted to Head of Campus for a new teacher training ECD Centre.


This position included being a Principal at the primary school section, as well as in-service training for students for a technical college and the Psychology students at the University of Pretoria. During this time I also completed my Masters degree and launched various community-based outreach programs.


After the completion of my Masters degree, I opened my first private practice. It was at this point that I realised that basic Educational Psychological training does not really equip one to understand the underlying causes of many of the symptoms we were working with. I decided to do a second-year internship and specialised in neuro-development.

I opened up my second practice and worked exclusively with children with ADD, ADHD, and learning difficulties. At this point, I started to dream about opening my own school. I enrolled for my Doctoral where I designed a neuro-developmental programme that can be utilised in schools.

TheraED (therapeutic education) was tested and showed significant results! This was the fuel I needed to open my school (EduExcellence). In 2006 I started with the planning, and we opened our doors in 2007 in Lynnwood Pretoria. The rest is history!  


On a personal level, my daughter Zoë is 21 years old; a talented and soft-natured individual who inspires me every day to be a better person. I love swimming every day (winter & summer), preferably in the sea, and try to look at the sunset and sunrise every day. I enjoy the simple things in life, like working in our home vegetable garden.


Why did you choose to work with children?

I struggled at school. I simply could not understand the "logic" of letters and the act of reading seemed like a magical act only possible for those more clever than I. Now, looking back, I know that I would have been diagnosed with dyslexia if it was a thing back then.


Luckily, I discovered that I loved learning, and that I was not as stupid as I thought, and found ways of overcoming my struggles. I have a deep understanding of what the children we work with experience. I can relate to their struggles, and create programs and environments to support them. It is true that there are gifts in adversity.


What is your favourite part of doing what you do?

As much as I love working with children individually, in terms of in-depth assessments to unravel the mystery, I have found that I also really enjoy programme design: creating education environments where they can thrive and managing teams. I think this illustrates the "mind" of the children that we work with. Once we have unlocked their potential, we can be gifted in many areas at the same time. 


Why is The Assessment Center™ different from other assessment providers?

I have taken the research I conducted as part of my Doctoral and created an assessment that delves into every possible aspect that can shed light on the root causes of the symptoms we observe. The goal is not simply to diagnose (everyone can do that).


The goal is really to determine the different aspects leading up to the symptoms we observe, and really understand the interplay of all these aspects. The ultimate goal is to be able to use the information obtained in the assessment to create a developmental program to assist the child. It is a very child-centered approach, based on science with practical implementation. 


What is your educational philosophy?

All children are unique, and the approach should match their individual needs and profiles. Education should be deeply personal, as personal as the individual being educated. 

Please share an inspiring quote you love?

It is actually an old song by Talk Talk: "Life is what you make it." 

So very true and we all need to play the hand we have been dealt. Our attitude is everything!


What is the greatest challenge facing parents today?

The influence of technology. As much as technology can assist us with education and the availability of information and automation, it can have devastating effects on the mental, emotional, physical, social, and spiritual developmental aspects. 


What three words would you use to describe yourself?

DRIVEN – PASSIONATE – GLOBAL THINKER 


Book an assessment by reaching out to Nastasha Jacobs at The Assessment Center™ on social media or through acmanager@eduexcellence.co.za.


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