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How to Build a Better Brain
By Faith Berens
HSLDA Special Needs Consultant
Join HSLDA’s Special Needs Department in celebrating Brain Awareness Week,
March 13-19. These seven days are designated as a time for focusing on the benefits
and progress of brain research.
Our special needs consultants often look to brain research for tools and
techniques to help struggling learners.
One of our consultants, Carol
Brown, drew from neuroscience in developing curriculum to improve students’
cognitive skills. Carol also recently added to her academic credentials—earning a doctorate in education—because she wanted to be a more effective
advocate for people who struggle to learn.
Carol will be speaking at the Teaching
Parents Conference, March 9-10 in Wichita, Kansas. She will deliver the keynote
address and will present four workshops on equipping minds.
Additionally, Carol’s research is scheduled to be published next year in
The Journal of Alternative Medicine.
her story here >>
Do you know why you yawn when you see someone else
yawn? It is because we have cells in our brains called mirror
neurons. If this part of the brain is damaged, a person will find it hard to
communicate and socialize. With stimulation, mediation, and therapies, such as
social skills training and speech/language therapy, the brain can be changed and can
learn new pathways.
The brain consists of at least 60% fat, making it the fattest organ in
your body! To help maintain the brain, make sure your diet is rich
in good, healthy fats, like avocados, walnuts, salmon, coconut oil and milk, etc.
-- Dianne Craft, The Biology of Behavior
One Mom’s Journey Toward Healthy Living
Your brain uses 20% of the total oxygen in your
body! Without enough oxygen our brains “go to
sleep”. Movement and frequent stretch breaks can help to wake up the
brain by providing a flow of oxygen, which will enhance attention, focus and
learning. Movement helps to integrate the brain and body systems, such as the
vestibular, auditory, and visual systems, as well as the limbic system
(emotions). Additionally, movement helps with bi-lateral integration, which is
the ability of the left and right hemispheres of the brain to work together and
communicate efficiently and quickly. So let’s turn off electronics
and get our kids moving!
Some great resources for this are:
Success through Physical Development
The Symphony of Reflexes: Interventions for Autism, ADHD, Cerebral Palsy, and
Human Development by Bonnie Brandes, M.Ed. Bonnie’s program
“QRI Brain Boost,” is designed to help children with learning
disabilities and neurological conditions. As the founder of Quantum Reflex
Integration, QRI®, the author uses acu-reflex points and cold laser to integrate
primitive reflexes. Her programs are used in over thirty countries.
Walks on the Wild Side: A Guide for Creatively Promoting Motor Skills in
Children by Jean A. Wetherilt, OTR/L
Maintaining Brains Every Day DVD (Primitive Reflex Exercises) by Kathy
Movements that Heal by Harald Blomberg, MD
Smart Moves by Carla Hanniford, Ph.D
Brain Breaks by Heather Haupt
Brain Integration Therapy Manual by Dianne Craft
For research on this topic, click here.
Our brains are not fixed! They are modifiable.
They do not stop growing and developing at 18, but continue to develop well into our
20s. And that’s not all, they continue to change over our lifetime.
In fact, our own Carol Brown found in her research with 32 students that received
cognitive development training using her Equipping Minds Cognitive Development
program increased in IQ and in the areas of verbal and non-verbal
abilities. And not only that, growth in cognitive skills generalized to
academic testing scores! The results of her research will be published in 2018 in a
major medical journal. Please visit www.equippingminds.com to read more
about her research and the Equipping Minds program.
Learning a foreign language actually alters the very structure of the
brain. Children who learn 2 languages between the ages of 2-5
have a much denser gray matter in the brain.
Resources to Consider:
The right kinds of music can have a profound impact on the brain and
IQ! Of course, piano teachers will tell you that playing the
piano makes you smarter, but did you know there is research to support this? Frances
Rauscher, who taught at the University of California Irvine’s Center for
Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, found in her research with preschool children
and music instruction that those given piano lessons on a daily basis scored 43%
higher on spatial-temporal IQ measures than other children who simply had free play,
singing, and/or computer games. Why not consider harp, piano, violin, or guitar
Home School Piano
Gibson Learn and
Memoria Press carries the Curriculum
Discovering Music and offers either hard copy of on-line version, for Grades
Integrated Listening Systems
Puzzles and games for kids
Sources of Brain Facts:
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