You Can Heal the Brain with Heart-based Education, Food and Exercise
As a dyslexic mother of a dyslexic child, and a teacher of many students who have had dyslexic traits over the past 30 years, I am passionate about this topic. I do not accept that dyslexic children are less than capable. In fact, I believe them MORE capable in many, many areas, including creativity! In order to learn, I had to create some methods to translate the world of words to my own inner world of pictures, thoughts and ideas.
When I began teaching young children this way, they lit up and began to become hungrily curious to learn more. I looked up to Heaven and knew that this was why I was placed upon this planet with so many cognitive strikes against me from the beginning: to help others.
Children thrive with right-brain teaching techniques. Those with special learning profiles—including dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, ADD, ADHD, autism, etc.—absolutely SHINE! They see beyond what so-called "normal" children perceive. They love pictures, story-telling, color-coded, animated learning materials and fun-filled classes with lots of humor and praise. They are quintessential right-brain students.
What is dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a learning disability that effects many children and adults. But it has nothing to do with intelligence.
Many dyslexic people are also highly gifted. Take Albert Einstein, Walt Disney, Winston Churchill, and more recently Ted Turner, Richard Branson, Whoopie Goldberg, Jay Leno and Cher. Those with dyslexia experience:
- confusion with opposing concepts, such as before/after, right/left, etc.
- trouble learning sequential data, such as the alphabet (a,b,c,...)
- difficulty remembering words, labels or names
- a disconnect with common word patterns such as rhyming, syllables, or phonics
- misinterpretation of word combinations and meanings
- extreme shyness due to not wanting to make a mistake in public speech In short, dyslexia can be crippling......or not. In our ongoing right-brain educational research program, we have noticed that children with dyslexia excel in photographic memory, speed reading, and many forms of eidetic imagery. For example, when we flash 10 pictures, they will remember 10 pictures. If you tell them 200 items as a part of a silly story or song, they will recall them--and sometimes faster than others in class. How is this possible? We have a theory. The left hemisphere of the brain links to the left side of the body and the right hemisphere of the brain links to the left side of the body. There is a school of thought that says that when a person has dyslexia, the wiring is off. In other words, the right hemisphere might be connecting to the right side of the body and the left to the left side of the body. There is no crossing, which theoretically means decreased traffic across the corpus callosum. Dyslexic students are often "stuck" in one hemisphere or the other, and it is usually the right brain. Why is the right side of the brain important?
The brain is laterally divided into two hemispheres: the right side and the left side. The left side of the brain is also known as the "logical mind." The right side is known as the "emotional mind." In a nutshell... LEFT BRAIN (logical mind) = thinking skills, languageTeaching information using logic increases your child's intellectual understanding and practical problem-solving skills. RIGHT BRAIN (emotional mind) = creativity, imagination, imageryTeaching information using imagery builds photographic memory, an instinctual, creative gut understanding of the material. Children with so-called "learning disabilities" need to learn another way. They need to play, to move and to have healthy, loving family systems around them for support.
9 Steps To Heal the Brain with Heart-based Education, Food and Exercise
Here are some techniques that help dyslexic students learn more easily... STEP 1. Place colored cellophane sheets in soothing colors over pages of text.
For some children, the words dance around on the page. The colored hues placed over the text reduce eye strain and help the eyes focus on the words more comfortably. Colored cellophane can be purchased at arts and crafts stores (look at the scrapbooking area), and sometimes florists shops have rolls on hand. Colors favored by dyslexics are: blue, green and lavender. STEP 2. Teach using image-oriented, not word oriented, tools for effective overall retention of the material.
If you rely only on the written text, understanding will be low. If you involve as many other senses as possible your child will get MUCH more out of it. You can do this by: - talking about the material - playing games with bits of information relating to the material - singing songs that teach the material through its lyrics - showing flashcards that summarize the lesson in a pictorial manner - following up with an arts and crafts project that brings the information to life STEP 3. Make written work into play. If your child struggles with written work–whether it be math, language or any other academic subject—make the page of instruction into a playful process. You can make a large page of problems that are organized into rows or columns into a race track and have a child move their car along the track as they progress from question to question. Boys like the racetracks—especially if you pretend to race with them. Girls like to use tiny fairies or angels that put fairy dust on the problem once it is completed. I know of one homeschooling mother who put carob chips (natural alternative to chocolate chips) at the end of each row of math problems.
Food can also contribute to foggy thinking or clear thought and even moods. So, please take a look at your child's diet. It will help create a healthy foundation for everything else that you do! STEP 4. Eat whole foods. We removed all gluten, dairy, eggs, nuts and other common food allergens from our dyslexic/ADHD son's diet, and once we saw a change, we reintroduced them, one by one, to see which ones were truly affecting his behavior, thinking and moods. This is not easy to do, but might be necessary if an otherwise ordinary healthy diet still is not effectively helping your child think more clearly. Please consult a good nutritionist familiar with diet and learning function.
AVOID: fast food, caffeinated drinks, high-fructose corn syrup drinks, MSG, or deep-fried foods.
FOCUS MEALS AROUND: whole grains, nuts, fresh fruit, vegetables, antibiotic-free eggs and meat, hormone-free dairy.
STEP 5. Use high-quality "basics"—sugar, salt and oil. Here's what I mean... 1. Healthy sugars: Healthy & Natural Sugar Substitutes (Change Your Diet, Change Your Life - Pt 1) 2. Healthy salts: Healthy Salt Substitutes (Change Your Diet, Change Your Life - Pt 2) 3. Healthy fats: Healthy Fats (Change Your Diet, Change Your Life - Part 3) STEP 6. Add seaweed to family meals. Add natural seaweed to your child's diet. Look for "nori" in your store's Asian food section, or health food store. This is so important because seaweed PULLS heavy metals out of the body. Heavy metals are rumored to cause all types of learning issues. You can serve it plain, cut into small squares, or make sushi rolls. You can also purchase dried kombu buds, kelp, dulse, arame or wakame and add them to soup. (You can also buy Chlorella or Spirulina tablets or capsules if your child won't eat the seaweed. You'll have to work with your child to see what might be the best way to introduce seaweed into his body on a regular basis. (By the way, this would be good for you, too!!! As moms, we have to stay strong!) Nori - Toasted Seaweed - Cooking Tip EXERCISES
Here are some really key techniques that help can dyslexic students rewire the brain--i.e. link back up to a criss-cross left-to-right/right-to-left neurological flow. The earlier you start, the more quickly the brain has the potential to heal itself. STEP 7. Drink water... with a straw!
Water hydrates the cells for better overall communication of information. If you add to this, drinking water with a straw it is even more powerful. Studies show that the sucking action can reconnect the criss-cross flow of information. For more "sucking" exercises, check out the Handel Institute's 3 sample activities: (1) Crazy Straw, (2) Face Tapping, (3) Hug & Tug.
STEP 8. Exercise.
Exercises that link the right side of the body to the left and vice-versa, actually reconnect the hemispheres and encourage them to flow in the natural criss-cross pattern with the body. Activities such as Brain Gym (google "Paul Dennison"), patty-cake, crawling, swimming, walking, running, swinging on monkey bars, and even playing the piano (with both hands) stimulate that back and forth flow. STEP 9. Get a chiropractic adjustment.
Sometimes dyslexia stems from structural misalignment from birth trauma, a fall or an accident during formative years of life. Gentle chiropractic adjustments can put your whole body system back into proper alignment, which promotes the body's ability to adjust back to its natural criss-cross flow of information. In addition to chiropractic adjustments, Health Kinesiology, Reiki, massage and other types of energy work can realign the body's structure and nervous system. Healing Quest: Treat ADD and Dyslexia Naturally :Chiropractic ... Dyslexia may be viewed as a learning obstacle, but when the corresponding heightened right-brain abilities are harnessed, it can be a blessing in disguise. Children with dyslexia can see the world in a multi-dimensional way. They see what others do not. And this means that they have the potential to create what others cannot. Your dyslexic child could be the next Disney or Einstein. Know that he or she can make a great difference in our world--artistically, creatively, musically, scientifically, you name it. The key is within your child's heart. I hope that the above guidance helps you create the support your child needs to discover his/her own genius and SHINE! Much love,