In the last couple of decades, mostly from the work of Michael Merzenich, neuroresearchers have begun to understand that the brain is not rigid, rather is plastic and capable of change until the day we die. In fact, back in 1949, Donald Hebb was the first to propose that learning linked neurons. He suggested that “when two neurons fire at the same time repeatedly, chemical changes occur in both, so that the two tend to connect more strongly,” (Doidge, 2007, p. 63). Michael Merzenich, one of this country’s most renoun neuroscientist today, expanded on this by saying that strong connections are made when they are activated at the same time.
He explains that when “we perform an activity that requires specific neurons to fire together, they release BDNF” (p. 80), (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) a growth factor which helps neurons to wire together so they fire together in the future. BDNF also helps with the mylenization of the neurons to speed up the impulses (Doidge, 2007).
The brain does not like change. Therefore, in order for changes to take place in the structure of the brain, we need to have access through all the senses, including the proprioceptive receptors of the muscles. In addition, the brain needs to be engaged, there needs to be repetition, or rehearsal of activity, and feedback to the brain is necessary. It is said that it takes exactly 3 weeks, 21 days, for connections to be made in the brain (Gold, 2008), so consistent repetition is necessary until the appropriate connections are made.
Cognitive and motor exercises are both extremely useful in changing the brain’s structure and thus improving learning, however younger children will make much faster progress than adolescents or adults because “the number of connections among neurons, or synapses, is 50 percent greater than in the adult brain” (Doidge, 2007, p. 42). The younger the child, the quicker the response and the better chance for a more complete recovery.
--From my book: Movement Makes math Meaningful: Away from the Desk Math Lessons Aligned with the Common Core.
Shown below is Dr. Doidge's book, The Brain that Changes Itself, which is considered a fundamental book explaining and demonstrating neuroplasticity of the brain.
The functions of the body and brain cannot be separated (Kokot, 2010). “When we are born, all parts of the brain have been established, however are not yet working well together. In order for all parts to function, they must be linked together” (Blomberg & Dempsey, 2011 p. 17). Our entire brain structure is connected to and grown by the movement mechanisms within our bodies (Dennison, 2006).
Paul MacLean describes the brain as being in layers like an onion. The most inner part of the brain is the brain stem, commonly known as the “fish brain.” The function of this part of the brain is to receive signals from our senses and to relay them to the motor organs. All of our automatic functions are controlled by the brain stem.
The basal Ganglia, part of the brainstem, is “responsible for the organization of involuntary and semi-voluntary activity, upon which consciously willed movements are superimposed” (Goddard, 2005, p. 44). It “connects and orchestrates impulses between the cerebellum and frontal lobe, thus helping to control body movement” (Hannaford, 1995, p. 60).
The brain stem also has a net of nerve cells called the Reticular Activating System (RAS). The job of the RAS is to receive impulses from all our senses, except for the sense of smell, and then to transmit them to the cortex, which improves attention and alertness. If the cortex is insufficiently stimulated by the RAS, then the child will be passive and will be unable to pay attention.
Another job of the brain stem is to regulate muscle tone after receiving sufficient stimulation from the vestibular, proprioceptive and tactile senses (Blomberg & Dempsey, 2011).
The cerebellum, which contains ½ of the brain’s neurons, receives signals from receptors for the kinesthetic and tactile senses that transmit information regarding touch and pressure (Blomberg & Dempsey, 2011). It is involved in various aspects of planning and monitoring movements and regulates muscle tone, including saccadic eye movements. Its job is to make our movements coordinated and smooth. Apart from motor control, it also is involved in attention, long-term memory, spatial perception, impulse control, abstract thinking and other cognitive functions (Lengel & Kuczala, 2010), therefore, movement has a direct affect on the latter, including eye movements, reading comprehension, speed of information processing, working memory, learning and speech development.
Impulses to the brain via the different senses and the cerebellum activate the RAS and are then finally sent to and processed by the higher areas of the brain in the cortex. In order for the cortex to process, absorb, and comprehend material, the brain stem must be able to perform its own tasks, such as move the eyes from left to right across a page, adjust visual focus between the desk and board, sound out letters to form words.
The The pre-frontal cortex is located on the frontal lobes of the brain. Elkhonen Goldberg refers to it as the “executive brain” which “gives us our interpersonal abilities and plain old common sense; for example, the ability to ‘read’ situations, discern the meanings of facial expressions, and anticipate the consequences of various actions,” (Dennison, 2006, p. 57).
The Pre-frontal cortex is the decision making part of our brain and is involved in making plans, judgments, motivation, and impulse control. It “enables our conceptual and abstract thinking and our ability to reason and change our conscious concepts and ideas” (Blomberg & Dempsey p. 107), and is the part of the brain that is last to develop. It is also the part that is the most susceptible to damage in adolescents who engage in smoking marijuana. Like other parts of our brain, the pre-frontal cortex develops via our movement and sensory skills. It is also closely connected to the cerebellum and to the limbic system, which controls our emotions.
From my book: Movement Makes Math Meaningfuil: Away from the Desk Math Lessons Aligned with the Common core.
The brain of a child with autism is highly aroused and not comfortable in its own resting state (Othmer, 2012). One theory is that there is an overproduction of BDNF, the growth factor that helps neurons to wire together. Areas of the cerebellum, on the on the right hemisphere, which are linked to the speech areas of the left hemisphere, tend to be smaller than normal in children with autism (Blomberg & Dempsey, 2011). There is also an area on the brainstem, which visual control, vestibular input, and proprioceptive information come together, when not functioning properly causes paralysis of gaze, common in children with autism (Gold, 2008).
World-known researchers and practitioners, such as Sally Goddard-Blythe, Dr. Harald Blomberg, and Svetlana Masgutova, just to name a few, have spent many years investigating the role movement has in neurological development and learning. According to Goddard-Blythe (2005), “attention, balance and coordination are the primary A, B, and C upon which all later academic learning depends” (p. xvi). Reading, for example, depends upon smooth eye movements across the page, which is developed by the balance system. These, and others, have found that children labeled as “learning disabled” were able to more effectively learn when they spent a few minutes before a lesson with simple, whole body integrative movements. This is why Brain Gym™ is so successful. It is a way to help the body prepare for learning.
Shirley Kokot (2010) explains that body movements are responsible for the development of the brain structure and they contribute to the proper functioning of the brain. Roger Spery, a Nobel Laureate neurobiologist said that, “90% of stimulation and nutrition to the brain is generated by movement of the spine.”
Movement is involved in each of the senses. For example, sound moves in sound waves, touch is perceived by movement air or pressure over the skin. Movement helps by enhancing functioning of the nervous system and causes chemicals in the brain to be created that allow the neurons to communicate with one another and to make general processing faster (Kokot, 2010).
When you observe a baby, you will notice that when awake, it is never still. The movements of the infant are rapidly growing the brain. It is estimated that in the first year of life, every minute there are more than 4 million new nerve cell branches created in the brain (Blomberg & Dempsey, 2011). Babies who are, for whatever reason, unable to move much are certain to have developmental delays. These children need to be moved passively, such as by rocking and touch, to stimulate their brains (Blomberg & Dempsey, 2011).
These examples demonstrate how critically interconnected movement and learning are. It is no wonder that in this modern day of computer and video games that there is such a surge of students with learning and attention difficulties. If young children are no longer spending hours on end outdoors exploring and working on developing and integrating their sensory systems, then I argue that it is incumbent upon us, as educators, to provide supplemental experiences that allow them to do so.
Children, and many adults, have short attention spans and need to have frequent learning breaks. The average attention span for a child is said to be their age +2 minutes. That means after that many minutes, teachers need to stop for a break to allow children to process the information. Elementary schools in Japan teach for 50 minutes and provide a 15 minute recess after each 50 minute learning session. Schools in Finland now recognize the value of periodic movement for both students and teachers. As adults, we typically will push through the day working, thinking and preparing during all of our breaks. Rest is just as important for us as for the young ones.
--From my book: Movement Makes Math Meaningful: Away from the Desk math Lessons Aligned with the Common Core, pages 14-15.
The lessons in this book are designed to benefit all students, not just those that struggle. Movement helps everyone access their whole brain while learning, and besides, it is fun and motivating. Students need to move before they are able to sit still, so if it feels like the classroom is getting out of control and everyone is tuning you out, get them up and (with well-defined parameters) move!
Sally Goddard Blythe, in her book The Well Balanced Child explains that many of the symptoms that are expressed in disorders, such as dyslexia, attention deficit, or anxiety disorders are actually caused by a “treatable signal-scrambling dysfunction” within the inner ear and cerebellum (Goddard, 2007). These are the same symptoms that can be ”triggered in normal individuals following excessive spinning and dizziness.” Studies have found that participating in martial arts, due to its demand on focus in combination with aerobic activity, twice a week improves behavior and performance of children suffering from this disorder.
Someone with dyspraxia has a disorganization of movement, particularly unfamiliar movement and those involving multiple steps. Deficit in motor planning and sequencing is often a leading factor in a variety of developmental and motor deficits, including speech. Motor development progresses from head to toes and from the core outward. Therefore, there may be little connection to the feet, although the upper body may appear well-coordinated. Dr. Blomberg (2011) explains that movement ability and speech are linked and that stimulating the cerebellum to improve motor abilities need to happen before speech can be improved.
Dyscalculia, a disorder in calculation, is defined by the National Center for Learning Disabilitites (2006) as “a wide range of life long disabilities involving math.” Specific areas in the left hemisphere used in counting, calculating, and using basic arithmetic number symbols are located mostly in regions of the left parietal lobe and motor cortex. Areas in the prefrontal cortex are used in analyzing a problem and retrieval of facts. Regions in the right parietal lobe are used in spatial reasoning and visual-spatial tasks, like being able to generate a mental number line, and estimating. Students with dyscalculia have significant weaknesses in areas on the left hemisphere that effect their ability to compute or recall basic facts (Sousa 2008). They may equally have difficulty in reading, or dyslexia, since decoding and phonemic awareness are also located on the left side.
Source: How the Brain Learns Mathematics, by David Sousa (2008)
Although not as commonly known as dyslexia, there is actually a significant number of students, between 20% - 60%, who have both (Butterworth & Yeo, 2004; Hannell, 2005). This means that many students with language related issues struggle with math as well, and that these students also experience motor skill deficits. Their right side areas are generally functioning properly or may even be well above average. If these children are not in an environment that embraces understanding and conceptual thinking, they will have limited access to understanding mathematics, even though they may very well be destined to be great mathematical thinkers. Movement helps encourage the use of both sides of the brain during math, increasing assess of the weaker side and communication between both hemispheres.
---From my book: Movement Makes math Meaningful: Away from the Desk Math Lessons Aligned with the Common Core, pages 13-14
Addressing learning issues on the academic level is like repairing a roof when the walls and foundations are cracked and crumbling. The following diagram, The Learning Ladder, illustrates what systems need to be in place, and in what order, so that they are able to appropriately support academic learning, located at the top of the ladder, as seen in a previous post.
The Learning Ladder – how we developmentally learn (de Garcia 2014).
When we look at babies, we see that they do not yet have the neural connections into the frontal lobes of their brain to control their impulses. It is normal, at this age, for babies to be hyperactive because certain parts of the brain, the basal ganglia in particular, have not yet been developed and are not connected to other levels of the brain (Blomberg & Dempsey, 2011). Children who hop, spin and crash into walls while walking are still learning to control their balance. They are demonstrating that they too have underdeveloped brains and are developmentally similar in some ways to the active infant.
What these children are silently telling us is that somewhere along the line, they have missed some critical developmental stages, because the brain does not develop normally if a stage of development is missed (Gold, 2008). When analyzing the behaviors of poor readers, the problems that had been identified all boiled down to an unorganized nervous system (Gold, 2008). Eye dominance is one result of this organization. Studies have showed that as much as 81% of students who have learning difficulties are left-eyed and right handed. “Since the eye naturally wants to track from the right to left, it will also guide the hand from the right to left, which may cause writing difficulties or letter reversals” (Hannaford, 1995, p. 211).
--From my book: Movement Makes Math Meaningful: Away from the Desk Math Lessons Aligned with the Common Core, pages 12-13
I hold as a fundamental belief that all Children want to learn and succeed in school, although they may eventually compensate for their learning struggles by appearing not to care. To a child to whom learning does not come naturally, he has to use so much mental effort to concentrate and learn during the school day that he cannot fathom the idea of having to continue at home in the form of homework. If you have ever taken an academic class in a foreign language, you might recollect the effort it takes to concentrate. One can spend only so much time in such a focused state before all attention is lost. I can remember such a time when I took a linguistics course at a university in Mexico where I was an exchange student learning Spanish. The class was so cognitively demanding that I could only concentrate for about 15-20 minutes, after which I was really not capturing the information. My brain was simply too tired.
Children who struggle are not able to keep up with their classmates in one or more areas, which can be as frustrating to the teacher as the student. Why do so many students struggle? Many experts who have carefully observed children with learning difficulties have noticed that most, if not all, of these children also have issues with motor and balance. They have come to realize that motor development and learning go hand in hand. I have found this to be true in my own practice. A couple of years ago, when I didn’t know what else to do, I simply put jump ropes in the hands of my 4th -6th grade students and not a one of them initially could jump rope. Now, I not only test my students for their developmental level in mathematics (see Appendix D for my developmental math assessment), but I check for a variety of markers of their motor development as well. I have been noticing that students with more severe learning problems also have more severe motor issues than others.
Learning difficulties are often neurologically based, and can also lead to behavior and emotional problems. Studies have indicated that more than 80% of prisoners had a serious learning problem as a child (Ratey, 2008). Allan Bermann found that visual perception was the disability that occurred most often in a group of delinquent children, followed by auditory memory and language deficit (Phelong, 1997). If we rather than just an academic or behavioral one, especially at a young age, how many of them could we save from a lifetime of struggle?
---From my book: Movement Makes Math Meaningful: Away from the Desk Math Lessons Aligned with the Common Core, Page 11
Incorporating movement in the curriculum is beneficial because:
---This if from my book: Movement Makes Math Meaningful: Away from the Desk Math Lessons Aligned with the Common Core, pages 8-10.
It is the tradition of our education system to believe that individuals will learn best if they are presented with lots of information, in the form of a lecture or 2-dimensional written form, and seated still with eyes forward and taking notes. However, for real learning to occur, throughout our lives, hands-on learning in an environment with rich sensory experiences is optimal (Hannaford, 1995).
Even if instinctively teachers know that children need to do so, often times the classrooms are packed and teachers simply do not feel that they have the room. Others might fear chaos or a rise in discipline problems if they allow students more freedom in the classroom to move around, or simply feel that there is not enough time in the school day. However, there is plenty of evidence to support that having the children sit for long periods of time is actually doing more harm than good. In fact, it can be the very reason that discipline problems arise in the classroom in the first place.
Some movements are better than others in specifically supporting brain development. Slow, efficient, and specific movements that are designed to make sure the brain is built correctly is better than fast, disorganized movement, which is why children who are hyperactive, although always moving, still find learning difficult (Kokot, 2010). But even if teachers do know how to do this, incorporating any kind of movement in a lesson is beneficial, especially for these hyperactive learners, because they do not possess enough balance and control to sit still. Sitting still is truly uncomfortable, and their reticular activating system (RAS) of their brain needs extra stimulation of any kind to move the information on to the higher part of the cerebral cortex. Therefore, involving the senses through movement helps children pay attention and helps them recall the information by engaging the whole brain.
The research is flooding with reasons why teachers should get their students up and moving while learning new concepts.
--From my book: Movement Makes Math Meaningful: Away from the Desk Math Lessons Aligned with the Common Core, Page 8
While working in a 90% Spanish-speaking, inner-city school in a district that was a few years into its teaching reform movement, I noticed an interesting phenomenon. There were a growing number of students who were being sent to the counseling center on a daily basis, my class included. Although there was no research study to prove it, I instinctively believed that the more rigid, structured, and somewhat scripted our teaching became, the less compatible it was for the population of students we were serving. Although our knowledge of how to teach reading, writing, and mathematics drastically improved, I could not help but wonder if we were doing a huge disservice to our students by no longer having our learning structured in such a way that provided natural movement breaks through rotations and incorporating activities that were both more engaging and meaningful in building the students’ background knowledge.
One year, I felt the need to try to reach out to what I considered to be my “kinesthetic” learners. I started asking myself if there was a way to teach reading and math to my struggling 5th graders by using whole body activities. After all, I had heard the term “phycho-motor” activities from the kinder wing and knew it had something to do with moving to learn letters and sounds, but that was the extent of my understanding. Since I was stronger in my understanding of teaching mathematics, I chose to start there.
One day, on the spur of the moment, I came up with an activity using a 100-foot measuring tape. Described in more detail in part 3, it involved taking out my students and having them estimate how far 100 feet would be and to walk the entire 100 feet in increments of 10 feet, initially with their eyes open, then with their eyes closed. By the end of the 100 feet, they had internalized how far 10 feet was. Children and adults alike have such a hard time with estimating large measures, since they have such little experience measuring using those amounts. Years later, I consistently used this same activity with my university methods students and when estimating the distance of the 100 feet, I received the same results, some severely under or over-estimating. The only student who was ever spot on was a young woman who ran track.
Soon after, my teaching career took a turn and I left the classroom to become a support teacher and later a university instructor. For a few years I had forgotten about my quest of creating lessons that integrate movement to support math learning until one day, a few years ago, I had the privilege of participating in a professional development trip to a rural school in Guatemala. On the first day, Jim Barta, the lead professor from Utah State
University, working with the 6th grade class, used masking tape to create a 100 square grid on the cement floor. He engaged the students in problems that involved computation with decimals. It was at that moment when my original question resurfaced, and this time I did not want to let it go.
Starting a new teaching job that involved pulling small groups of struggling study its affects on learning. The first year I had a few different groups of students spend about a month going around the school to measure the outside perimeters of each of the 10 buildings. We started with the rectangular buildings and then progressed to those comprised of more complicated shapes. They had to measure and record on grid paper the footprint of each building. This not only challenged their measuring skills, but their visual-spatial skills as well. One day, I was walking back to class with a group of 4th grade students when one of them spontaneously blurted, “I feel really good!” Surprised, I asked him why, to which he replied, “I don’t know, but I feel really good!”
The particular student who made this comment was one that was awkward, and clumsy. I knew that something about moving and being outdoors for the 45 minutes was really good for him physically. At this point, I decided that I needed to find out what the affects of movements were on a deeper level. Was it just fun and enjoyable, or was there more to movement, which affected the body on a deeper level? This prompted me to dig into the literature and research, which has been forever life changing. What I discovered is that, not only is movement an essential modality of learning for all students, but it is absolutely critical for our struggling learners and those with special needs.
---From my book: Movement Makes Math Meaningful, Pages 5-6
It is glaringly obvious to teachers across the US that the children have been changing in the last several years. There is a huge increase in hyperactive, impulsive, aggressive, obsessive, compulsive behaviors, as well as individuals with specific learning disabilities such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, and processing. This is due to a combination of many factors, such as the current technology use, current SAD diet (standard American Diet) and other environmental toxins. Our children's brains are being rewired and systems are being bombarded resulting in their brains becoming imbalanced.
In the past 8 years, I have spent every spare moment studying and researching what to do to help struggling students. Partly because that was the population I worked with and partly because I have a son with autism at home. Not to help them cope or compensate, but to help them recover, become more whole and no longer need assistance.
I have learned from functional neurology, Brain Gym, Rhythmic Movement Training, and functional medicine how the brain grows and develops, and how physiology effects brain growth and vice versa. I have also learned how to go back to earlier stages in order to support development so that learning can eventually happen more naturally. The brain develops beginning in the brainstem and connections need to be made from there to the basal ganglia, thalamus and frontal cortex. Also, the brain grows from the motor cortex out, so if there is difficulty in either the brain stem or motor cortex, the next parts are severely compromised. Many of our children do not have appropriately connected frontal lobes causing them to be impulsive and unable to make decisions. Some struggling children have weak right hemispheres (those with more affective and social disorders) and others are weak left (those that struggle with academics and processing).
In my role as math specialist I was able to use bits and pieces of what I had been learning and witnessed nice results, but it was only bits and pieces. My whole goal in spending all this time and money in research, learning, and intervention programs and equipment was that I wanted to give my students a $6000 curriculum for free in the public school system. If you take a student to a good learning specialist for a reading disorder, they will tell the parent that they are going to work on reading, not by reading. The specialist is really going to target brain development through the integration of primitive reflexes, strengthening early movement patterns, providing lots of sensory input targeted to the weak hemisphere, and cognitive activities that target weak areas, such as working memory, or auditory processing (as examples). This work is done for 1-1.5 hours 3-5 days a week, with extensions done at home, such as home movement programs and by removing gluten and dairy from the diet, which is usually a must as well because brain disorders are also chronic brain inflammation, which essentially have roots in food sensitivities - and gluten and dairy are the biggest culprits.
I have been around reform curriculum for quite some time and yes, we do need to think about our tier 1 instruction - it makes a BIG difference in overall school performance. However we still have about average of 3 kids in each classroom who are struggling on a more fundamental level. As a school system, we need to start to acknowledge this and strategize what we want to do about it. Occupational therapists across the country are seeing a rise of 30% of children who are not on the ASD spectrum in need of support in recent years.
If we really want to make a difference, we need to re-think how we are supporting students. Granted, some only need minor homework support, but many others need something deeper, whether or not they are on an IEP. In fact, in my educational experience, so many children who need support are not low enough to qualify for an IEP, thus end up falling through the cracks.
What can we do?
Ideally? Based on the laws of neuroplasticity the key is intensity, duration, and frequency. That means that 20 minutes a week of a therapy for anything is not very effective. To effectively change the brain, children need to be provided a daily 45 minutes to 1 hour program giving them 1-1 support with sensory stimulation targeting the weaker hemisphere (as determined by a questionnaire filled out by parent or teacher). That stimulation includes vision, auditory, tactile, and proprioceptive. While their hemisphere is being targeted, student engages in sensory activities that target the growth of the corpus callosum, reflex integration, development of core muscles (necessary for proper output of brain waves), fine motor development, and cognitive skills. Those cognitive activities include tasks such as auditory memory, visual memory, working memory, auditory processing, etc. One day a week, the child should receive an in-depth balance to help shift the body’s readiness to learn.
In this scenario, one skilled teacher would be able to see 5 students daily. If the program were quarterly, then 20 students would be able to be serviced in the year. Ideally, learning centers run a minimum of 12 weeks. 12 weeks on a daily rotation would be 15 students and on an every-other day rotation would be 30 students, although time for assessment and program design need to be taken into account. One assistant trained by the skilled teacher would be able to double the case load, and so on. It is possible to see some students with similar issues in groups of 2, but a ratio more than that compromises the focus that the child is putting on his program.
Small groups can be run for students who need less intensive intervention and could be 20-30 minute program using the Listening Program in combination of specific exercises or sensory experiences.
Who is needed to make this successful?
Learning specialists (Reading, math, ESL, speech, occupational therapists, Special education teachers and their aides, etc.) are all perfect candidates. Imagine just taking 3 people and reallocating them to target struggling students, we could impact a lot of kids. The problem is that in the current structure of our educational system, each one of these professionals are pretty much handcuffed as to what services they can or cannot provide.
What will it take?
It takes the desire and guts to break away from the status quo and determination to significantly change the life of these children and not just to try to help them cope and put band-aids on their problems.
There should be an investment in equipment. If a school wants to do this right, they would need some equipment to set up a basic movement room, such as some gym mats, a mini-trampoline, and a balance beam. Some additional technology that I would highly recommend, based on research and efficacy, would be at least one license for the Interactive Metronome®, At least 6 sets of The Listening Program, a Visagraph®, and some sets of Forbrain®.
There also needs to be an investment in training. Obviously individuals need to be trained in how to use the above equipment, but they should also be trained in the fundamental principals of neurodevelopment. All teachers in a school should take at least the first course of Brain Gym®, so that they are all on the same page and using the same language. Children moving from class to class will be receiving the same message and support. Specialists should take at least 3 levels of Brain Gym® in order meet the needs of the individual student. Primary teachers and specialists should also receive training in Blomberg Rhythmic Movement Training®, where they learn deeper strategies for brain development and primitive reflex integration.
Classroom teachers should be able to conduct whole class and small group balances throughout the day, in order to increase learning readiness for the upcoming lesson. Specialists should be able to, and free to, conduct a deeper 1-1 balance at minimum of once per week.
A leap into the future
Our children are changing at an alarming rate through forces that are out of our control. The increase of wireless technology, social media, processed and artificial foods, GMO foods, pesticides and herbicides, and the near daily spraying of chemicals into our atmosphere are all some of the ways that are children are being bombarded from birth with toxins that they aren't developmentally ready to handle. The inability to inappropriately detoxify and deal with environmental and emotional stressors causes chronic inflammation in the gut and, consequently, in the brain, leading to learning, behavior, and motor challenges.
The schools might not be able to control all of the toxic exposures, though they could minimize much if children were to work on wired computers and only have access to real, unprocessed foods during the school day; however, they can shift their thinking into how we can take the child and support them by using fundamental brain developing principles.
Educationally, we are going in a direction as if the children were like those of the 80's, before the astronomical rise in the toxic burden. The educational shifts are great, but are not sufficient for those who have brains that are not making the connections as they should. We need to be bold and make that leap to address true individual needs, giving a whole new meaning to the phrase "No Child Left Behind."
Want to take the first step?
Lisa Ann de Garcia, MA, MEd.