According to a NBC News video segment on children's health, ADHD has seen a rise to a new record level of 11 percent of kids currently diagnosed with ADHD. Including nearly one in five high school age boys in the United States being diagnosed with ADHD.
Read the full article text here, where Dr. Hallowell, a friend of The Learning Breakthrough Program is cited as a leading expert in the report.
- We hear a lot these days about playing certain computer games as a way to better "brain fitness" as well as puzzles and brain teaser tests.
- Studies have shown that aerobic exercise is good for brain health.
- Proper nutrition through quality eating and/or supplements can have a positive impact.
- Connection to people, love and social engagement all add to a more healthy brain.
Well, that is a good question, one that the medical and scientific world is yet to fully answer. But as a parent, should we really wait until the "jury is out"? Are adhd and video games connected? Can playing too much video games also cause ADD, dyslexia, or other learning disabilities? Certainly an important question...
The American Academy of Pediatricians urge NO time in front of a screen for kids under 2 and no more than 2 hours for older children.
Common sense tells us, as does a lot of the information floating around, that too much screen time makes for poor sleep, reduced creativity, more bullying, increased obesity and problems paying attention. Iowa State University researchers found middle school kids spending more than 2 hours a day in front of a screen are twice as likely to have attention issues as compared to those children who spent less than 2 hours. This was reported by their teachers! There is disturbing research out of Singapore and the UK as well.
Whether or not you believe there is a such thing as "gaming or internet addiction", it appears that more harm than good to child development results from excessive screen time.
So, remove tv sets from bedrooms, help your kid find other activities (there are "games" other than on the computer, remember?), turn off the tv during meals, set limits for screen use and set a good example yourself.
I have had parents tell me that they have their child do a 15 minute Learning Breakthrough Program segment after playing video games just before doing homework. The brain organizing activities of the Learning Breakthrough Program along with the visual eye tracking exercises that are involved help stay on task and make reading and learning better. Children may benefit from this 15 minutes of targeted physical exercises that work on their brain's as a pre-cursor to doing their homework. Imagine trying to do your "homework" after coming out of an intense visual movie for instance...
It seems possible that ADHD and video games are linked, but what do you think?
Also see this excellent video supporting there is a connection between the two:
A Breakthrough Success Story
I want to introduce you this week to Susan. Susan has taken the Learning Breakthrough Program to areas that people have been asking about for years.
Look at this recent news article found in the largest newspaper in N. Ireland that Susan recieved by helping parents and families in the UK.
A little background
Let me tell you about a few things I have learned from Susan after working with her for the past 2 years:
Susan worked in insurance for 26 years (the last 15 as a financial advisor) before deciding to provide the Learning Breakthrough Program.
She started providing the program to her friends on a trial basis, in her part time.
Now Susan makes a full-time living helping and supporting people who are looking for solutions that the Learning Breakthrough Program can provide.
Last week I interviewed Susan over Skype, to talk about the successes she has experienced in the past couple years.
Here are a few takeaways from the interview
She had 2 young boys struggling with low concentration, bad behavior and learning difficulties.
School did not help, the principal (headmaster) made her feel like she was doing a bad job parenting.
Her oldest son, diagnosed with ADHD, had a complete turnaround and is now in a prestigious culinary school training to be a chef.
Her youngest son, diagnosed with Dyslexia, dramatically improved his reading level, among other things, and now plays Scrabble with the Oxford Dictionary with his mother.
Susan invested in a program that was based on the Learning Breakthrough Program, that included clinic visits and monitoring that cost her over £2,000 per child ($4000 US Dollars).
(Watch the video at the bottom of this post)
A January article in the online Journal, Behavioral Medicine Report and a study published in the Journal “Nueron” describe new understandings about the synaptic connections that underlie what we commonly call "neuroplasticity.”
In an informative article, Study Shows Map of Brain Connectivity Changes During Development, Christophey Fisher, PhD, points to two important issues:
“Connected highways of nerve cells carry information to and from different areas of the brain and the rest of the nervous system. Scientists are trying to draw a complete atlas of these connections – sometimes referred to as the “connectome” – to gain a better understanding of how the brain functions in health and disease.”
“Another surprise was that when growing dendrites go searching for potential partners, they reach out to axon boutons that had previously connected with other dendrites – “as if they were attracted to a restaurant that already has a line at the door, rather than trying a brand new one,” says Cline.”
These observations reinforce the work that Frank Belgau describes in Chapter 26 of his book A LIFE IN BALANCE. The Learning Breakthrough Program is based on Belgau’s model about the entrainment potential of synaptic responses (trainability). His design of a variable difficulty balance challenge combined with repetitive perceptual motor skills activities gives us a real world training tool to effect neuroplasticity changes.
For detailed technical information refer to Dynamic Formation of Functional Networks by Synchronization.
PARIS: Neuroscientists have discovered that learning to juggle causes changes in white matter, the nerve strands which help different parts of the brain communicate with each other.
University of Oxford researchers recruited 48 healthy young adults who were unable to juggle and put them in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner to get a cross-section map of their brain.
Half the volunteers then underwent a six-week training period to learn how to juggle, during which they were also encouraged to practice for 30 minutes a day.
At the end, they were all able to perform at least two cycles of the classic three-ball "cascade." They were then scanned again, as were their 24 non-juggling counterparts.
Among the juggling group, imaging showed important changes in white matter, the bundle of long nerve fibres that carry electrical signals between nerve cells and connect different areas of the brain. So-called grey matter consists of areas of nerve cells where the brain processes information.
The findings, published online on Sunday by Nature Neuroscience, are important, for they suggest the brain remains "plastic" - or mobile and adaptable - beyond childhood.
via How juggling rewires your brain | COSMOS magazine.
Brain reorganization takes place by mechanisms such as “axonal sprouting” in which undamaged axons grow new nerve endings to reconnect neurons whose links were injured or severed. Undamaged axons can also sprout nerve endings and connect with other undamaged nerve cells, forming new neural pathways to accomplish a needed function.
For example, if one hemisphere of the brain is damaged, the intact hemisphere may take over some of its functions. The brain compensates for damage in effect by reorganizing and forming new connections between intact neurons. In order to reconnect, the neurons need to be stimulated through activity.
Neuroplasticity sometimes may also contribute to impairment. For example, people who are deaf may suffer from a continual ringing in their ears (tinnitus), the result of the rewiring of brain cells starved for sound. For neurons to form beneficial connections, they must be correctly stimulated.
via Neuroplasticity In The Brain – Dr. Norman Doidge.
Treat Attention Deficit Disorder Symptoms Through Writing | Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Help and Info -- ADDitude
I used to come home from work, in my dress clothes and high heels, and head straight to my rock garden to weed. After an hour, my dress was soiled, my stockings ripped, and my shoes trashed. Writing about this impulsive habit allowed me to see my behavior objectively. It made me realize I should change my clothes before working in the yard. Of course, making that discovery didn’t make clothes-changing a habit. I had to train my brain to get into my gardening garb.
The more I write about my ADD/ADHD challenges, the more I learn about why things -- at work, in relationships -- don’t go well. Writing makes me examine something I used to accept as another bad day, instead of just replaying the day in my mind and chastising myself for poor performance. Over time, writing has reduced the burdens of falling short of my own, or other people’s, expectations by giving me the perspective to make changes.
via Treat Attention Deficit Disorder Symptoms Through Writing | Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder Help and Info -- ADDitude.
Dyslexia symptoms and biological dysfunction According to some internationally recognized diagnostic manuals, dyslexia is a condition in which the normal ways of skills’ acquisition are blocked in the early stages of development. This is not a consequence of absent opportunities for learning or some form of brain injury or disease. It is considered that the causes of dyslexia are rooted in cognitive functioning abnormalities resulting from some type of biological dysfunction. That is why, dyslexia is defined as problematic learning which limits the ability of students to have a full command over information processing, motor skills, and the working memory. In individuals with the disorder, difficulties in recognizing, identifying, and discovering stimuli have been reported. In turn, these lead to difficulties in mastering some or all skills associated with speech, reading, spelling, writing, and arithmetic.
The link above references an interesting piece on NPR about how neurofeedback can be used to treat ADD/ADHD:
Even though there are studies now showing that neurofeedback works for ADHD, all of these studies have serious limitations, researchers say. So the approach remains promising but unproved, says David Rabiner, a researcher at Duke University who writes a newsletter about treatments for ADHD...
A team at The Ohio State University has nearly completed a pilot study of neurofeedback for ADHD that was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health.
The team had hoped to announce results last week at a scientific meeting in New York, but Gene Arnold, one of the scientists in charge of the study, says they had to delay that announcement because "we weren't able to get the results analyzed in time," he says.
Learning Breakthrough and the vestibular-cerebellar training approach to ADHD remediation more generally have been considered by the research team at Ohio State University as well. Our interest in the topic stems from the substantial neurofeedback aspect to the Learning Breakthrough Program...as the repetitive nature of LBP's balance exercises themselves generate what the user in this article calls "constant feedback during a session" through constant motor control monitoring, planning, executive function modulation, and hemispheric integration all in one system. There is much hope that as this research progresses and the pilot study information is collated that LBP will be tested along side on neurofeedback techniques and a control group.
The Temple University researchers, Kristie Koenig, PhD, OTR/L, and Moya Kinnealey, PhD, OTR/L, wanted to determine whether ADHD problem behaviors would decrease if underlying sensory and neurological issues were addressed with occupational therapy. Their study, "Comparative Outcomes of Children with ADHD: Treatment Versus Delayed Treatment Control Condition," was presented Friday, May 13, at the American Occupational Therapy Association meeting in Long Beach, Calif.
Children with ADHD have difficulty paying attention and controlling their behavior. Experts are uncertain about the exact cause of ADHD, but believe there are both genetic and biological components. Treatment typically consists of medication, behavior therapy or a combination of the two.
via TherapyTimes.com: Occupational therapy improves ADHD.
LBP's focused sensory processing program for ADHD is a perfect fit for those looking to introduce a complete and complementary set of sensory exercises to their daily routine.
Auditory processing disorder in relation to developmental disorders of language, communication and attention: a review and critique - International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders
This article describes the vagaries of diagnosis of auditory processing issues and shows how important work is being done to help make proper evaluations and treatment research widely available. It is not definitive but is a useful article for those orienting themselves to CAPD issues.
Background: Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) does not feature in mainstream diagnostic classifications such as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition (DSM-IV), but is frequently diagnosed in the United States, Australia and New Zealand, and is becoming more frequently diagnosed in the United Kingdom.
Aims: To familiarize readers with current controversies surrounding APD, with an emphasis on how APD might be conceptualized in relation to language and reading problems, attentional problems and autistic spectrum disorders.
Methods & Procedures: Different conceptual and diagnostic approaches adopted by audiologists and psychologists can lead to a confusing picture whereby the child who is regarded as having a specific learning disability by one group of experts may be given an APD diagnosis by another. While this could be indicative of co-morbidity, there are concerns that different professional groups are using different labels for the same symptoms.
Conclusions & Implications: APD, as currently diagnosed, is not a coherent category, but that rather than abandoning the construct, we need to develop improved methods for assessment and diagnosis, with a focus on interdisciplinary evaluation.
All of those programs involve regular practice of certain behaviors, and there are three behaviors we humans can hope to manage or control, our thinking, our feelings, and our behaviors, or how our body moves.
If you have read Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi’s book FLOW, which is treatise on the psychology of optimal performance, then you know that we process sound, visual, touch, smell, and taste information at the rate of seven bits of data every 1/18th second, so self help programs need to be learned and implemented in a very short period of time. (1/18th second is twice as fast as I can blink my eyes).
Self help then must be a process of awareness and management of sensory processing done very quickly and very frequently.
I liken the process for my anger management clients to steering a car, you make thousands of small adjustments to the position of the vehicle on the road, and are paying attention to hundreds of variables at a given moment, traffic in front, behind, traffic lights, children, the policeman six blocks ahead, ect. As you do this, you keep the vehicle going in the direction you want, at the speed you want, in a safe way for yourself and other drivers. You avoid potholes.
Page 74-75 The Still-Missing Core
"One of the basic principles of a two-engine airplane is the synchronicity between the two engine systems that are fixed on either side of the plane. If one engine puts out more thrust than the other, it causes problems in flight. If the disparity is sufficiently severe, it can cause the plane to go out of control and crash. Remembering this principle caused an idea to begin to percolate: was the issue these children were experiencing related to the balance between the two sides of their bodies?
In the mid-1960s, It was not a popular idea to look for learning ability in the body, but the more I observed the children in my classroom, the more the two problems seemed corollary. And why shouldn’t they be? The movement of the body through space is defined by brain functions, just as the ability to read and do arithmetic are defined by brain functions. If the knee bone’s connected to the thigh bone, wouldn’t it make sense that the various departments in the brain are connected, too? I began to wonder: what if an individual’s body provides a graphic representation of the inner workings of the brain?"
Dr. Frank Belgau-author of A Life in Balance, Discovery of a Learning Breakthrough
Motor Learning and Neuroplasticity in Rehabiliation.
Here’s a brief summary of an excellent paper by Boudreau et al from Manual Therapy. Patrick Ward and I had a brief discussion about this paper and since we found great benefit in its contents, I thought I would share some of it with you.
The purpose of this paper was to summarize several important aspects of motor-skill training for enhancing musculoskeletal rehabilitation.
Cortical Neuroplasticity: a dynamic feature of life that encompasses functional or morphological change in properties of neurons (connection strength, represenational patterns, neuron reorganization.
- Positive changes: improvements in motor performance
- Negative changes: decreases in performance, such as in the presence of chronic pain (low back pain resulting in decreased cortical spinal drive in lumbar musculature and subsequent shift in somatosensory representation)