Get out There and Play:
How movement impacts brain development
North Texas Kids
Remember the days of swings, see-saws, merry-go-rounds and king of the mountain? That wasn’t just child’s play – that was brain development! Who knew?! Now, in the days where recess is minimal and most kids see a PE teacher just once a week, there are things that you can do to keep those brains in great shape!
It’s interesting to watch young kids left alone – they spin and jump and run and tumble over and over and over again. Grown ups think it’s silly, but these kids are giving their brains a true work out! When kids move they are working out a part of their brain called the cerebellum. This important part of the brain works to control all motor movement and process all sensory information. Research has shown that the cerebellum is responsible for integrating sensory information to allow efficient learning to take place. If the cerebellum is not fully developed, you will typically start to see problems with coordination, memory, restlessness or high activity levels, distractibility, and difficulty with learning. You may even see enough of these symptoms for a diagnosis of ADD/ADHD, or dyslexia.
There are things you can do! When children are under the age of seven, brain development is at its best! The best thing you can do is keep your children as active as possible. Remember, children learn best by moving and repetition! There are things that you want to focus in on eye movements, balance, and body awareness.
Balance – You want your child to be able to balance and keep control of their body – it is key to coordination. What can you do? Spinning, bouncing, somersaults and cartwheels are great ways to develop balance. Encourage your kids to walk on curbs, on lines, balance beams and walk toe to heel and keep their balance. Standing on one leg, then hopping on one leg is also great! When they are ready for a new challenge – have them close their eyes!
Body Awareness – It is important for children to be aware of their bodies! Kids who aren’t will bump into everything, and have poor posture. Some will pull on their clothing and even bounce on their toes when walking. How to help? When these kids are moving challenge them to move in certain ways. Simon says is a great way for kids to mimic lots of movement and be aware of where their body is in space. Have kids bounce and jump while staying in one place. Hopscotch is a great way for kids to work on accurately moving their body and placing their feet.
Eye movements – You want your children’s eyes to see well, but you also want their eyes to be accurate and be able to track things smoothly to get them ready for reading. Kids these days have no problems moving their eyes quicker and quicker with the help of video games, but what about slowing down to decode the words they are reading? Things you can do – watch bubbles float away, roll balls back and forth and keep their attention on the ball. Play ‘Star Wars’ in a dark room and a laser pointer – watch the ‘space ships’ make patterns all along the ceiling!
Jungle gyms, mini trampolines, jump ropes and outside play are all great for overall development!
It might seem like simple kid stuff and it is, but its kid stuff that will make a big difference in your child’s brain and your child’s future! Now get out there and play!
Written by: Sara Martwig M.S. who earned her Master’s Degree in Physical Education with a specialization in Motor Learning.
DORE is a permanent and drug-free solution for the symptoms of ADHD and dyslexia. The Dore Program is scientifically proven, individualized home based exercise program that fully develops the cerebellum.
ADHD, Medication & Drugs – The Links and Solutions
ADHD is a kid problem. They grow out of it. It’s from bad parents. WRONG!
ADHD is a big issue that cannot be ignored. It’s in classrooms and it’s on the news and it’s in adults. Unfortunately, it’s also in recovery centers and these kids and adults are different. They seem more addicted than others and they have a harder time getting through recovery. In fact, these kids are more than 50% more likely to use, become addicted and have greater trouble with recovery and remaining drug-free. There is more you need to know and there is a solution!
Kids and adults with ADHD are truly bright individuals who can have some interesting challenges. In fact, these kids are so bright that they often learn how to cope or self medicate. The coping often consist of never ending lists, “interesting” organizational styles and keeping themselves extremely busy so that their brains can stay busy. When you see an individual self medicating – notice the multiple coffees or Red Bulls throughout the day, the cigarettes, the chocolate/candy or junk food cravings, or notice the ones who need a joint to fall asleep, take meth or coke to feel ‘normal’ and feel like they can get things done. This ‘medication’ isn’t for imaginary issues – there is a real and biological deficit and the good news is there is help! First, let’s look at what’s really going on.
Let's Look at What's Really Going On
There is an important part of the brain called the cerebellum. The cerebellum is crucial to processing all sensory information in order for efficient learning to take place. Usually the cerebellum develops fully by the age of seven but in about 20% of the population, there are problems with its development that cause some interesting symptoms. These symptoms can vary greatly in the individual and effect body awareness, vision and balance.
When an individual is unable to properly process information about body awareness, the body has a hard time knowing where it is unless it is moving. These individuals tend to move around a lot more, walk on their toes and tense their bodies. They also have very poor posture, tend to keep their hands in their pockets and at times scratch or pick at their skin until it bleeds. These people are often very sensitive to touch and textures and socks or rough fabrics may bother them.
When an individual is unable to process visual information properly their world can be very difficult to navigate. These individuals have a very hard time reading. Sometimes it can be very difficult for them to decipher words and reading can be a strain. For some words on a page tend to move around or blur and they may skip over words, add in words that aren’t there and read sentences over and over again.
If Balance information is not being processed properly they get car sick, feel dizzy often, bump into things a lot, can be very clumsy and always running into things and not remembering. A perfect example is the kid in school who can be sitting at his desk one minute and fall out of his chair the next. It’s the adult who is very awkward and drops things a lot.
Other symptoms are problems with getting to sleep and staying asleep. Having problems getting homework done in a reasonable amount of time. Not being able to perform up to their actual intelligence level. High frustration levels, often with some violent outbursts and surprising tantrums. Symptoms also include an inability to get along with others very well, poor social skills and poor eye contact.
Traditionally these kids often struggle through school, and now they often have teachers pushing parents to put them on medication. This medication is a stimulant and has serious side effects including decreased appetite, problems with sleep, cardiovascular risks and stunted growth. This medication stimulates the cerebellum and does help these symptoms – it also can numb feelings and take away the true personality of the individual.
What is the Solution?
The solution is to stimulate the cerebellum in other ways. It has long been known that exercise stimulates the cerebellum. It’s why we feel clear headed when we work out or take a brisk walk. Stimulating the cerebellum in a precise way through specific exercises has proven to eliminate these symptoms permanently. When these symptoms are eliminated, you will see kids and adults have an easier time with many things. Reading will become a pleasure, words will stay still and they will be able to figure out what the words say. Tasks will be completed and not left of the ‘to-do’ list. Behavior improves, people feel more successful, stress levels often reduce, sleep improves and confidence rises.
Dore Achievement Center has developed a scientifically proven method of fully developing the cerebellum. We have treated over 50,000 children and adults all over the world with centers in the UK, Taiwan, China, New Zealand, South Africa and the US.
Dore uses equipment developed by NASA along with proprietary software to determine the processing ability of the cerebellum and individually assign appropriate exercises for each individual on the program. These exercises are then performed at home every day and we see each client every 6 weeks for a follow up evaluation and changes to their exercise program. Exercises are taken from Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and Vision Therapy and are combined in a way that consistently develops the cerebellum, therefore reducing symptoms. These exercises can be standing on one leg while tossing a bean bag back and forth and though they may seem simple, are systematically training the brain to function differently and developing new neuro-pathways and creating permanent change. At the completion of the program, the effects are permanent and truly life changing!
Our clients consistently see incredible results! Taylor is no longer taking medication and is on the Honor Roll. Sandra is a recovering meth addict and is able to get tasks accomplished, is more in control of her life and feels more hopeful than she has in years. Nate can finally relax at night and fall asleep and reads beautifully. Jack is no longer in special education. And is Katy was the “troublemaker” and in the principal’s office everyday. She also, is no longer taking medication and is able to focus and control her emotions and no longer gets sent to the principal’s office. Ben can finally remember his spelling words and is actually helping other kids in class.
There is more and more information suggesting that kids with learning difficulties are at higher risk for almost everything. They tend to get in more trouble, suffer with depression as they grow older, participate in higher risk activities and choose drugs as a way out. Wouldn’t it be great to help more of these kids before it becomes a problem? Isn’t it great to finally have some hope that with a little more help, these kids and adults can get through recovery and see their life transform?!
When the cerebellum is fully developed and processing efficiently, people feel better about the work they do, who they are and what they are capable of! – And when that happens – as one of our kids who is in recovery said; “Mom, when I feel good about myself, why would I need to use?!”
Sara Martwig holds Bachelor’s Degrees in both Psychology and Exercise Sport Science and earned her Master’s Degree in Physical Education with a specialization in Motor Learning from Texas Tech University. She served as an instructor and professor at Texas Tech before coming to work with DORE.