Unblocking the Roadblocks…
Preparing the Brain to Learn
This period in history may well be recorded in history books as the technology revolution.
- The Internet is racing across the nation and the world, connecting us in ways we never thought possible
- Cell phones allow us to communicate at any moment from anywhere
- Biotechnology is creating astounding developments in the medical field
- Brain research is literally providing windows into the brain.
Learning is exploding!
When I was in school, no one ever spoke of learning disabilities; not because they didn’t exist, but because most people didn’t know anything about them. Gradually, an awareness has developed that has helped us to recognize that there are individuals with average to above average intellectual ability, who have difficulty learning.
As early as 1860, there have been references to a dyslexia-type condition. Very little was known, but a few pioneers in the field made observations about it and conjectured about the cause and nature of it. It has generally been concluded over the years that individuals with learning disabilities or dyslexia would just have to find a way to live with it – to cope and get around it.
Continuing brain research has brought us to the understanding that the brain has plasticity; it can change. We do not have to be forever stuck with roadblocks to learning. The brain is much too sophisticated for that. It is simply a matter of having the right tools to unblock the roadblocks.
There are currently various models of learning and thinking. At the Learning Center , we think about learning in three phases:
- The processing phase includes memory, attention, language, and motor coordination. These are the processing skills that allow an individual to take-in, hold onto, and think about information. Through the motor skills (doing, talking, or writing) we are able to demonstrate what we have learned.
- The second phase of learning is executive function. This involves the ability to use strategies to plan, manipulate, and use information. Executive function skills provide organization and structure for the information coming in. These are the skills that allow us to pull the information together so that we can do something with it.
- Academic skills development is the third phase of learning. It is at this highest level of learning that teaching and tutoring typically focus. It is critical to understand, however, that if there are inefficiencies or weaknesses in the processing or executive function levels of learning, academics will be affected.
At the Learning center, we have been fortunate to have accumulated a number of strategies and programs that help learning disabled students to become successful learners by first developing the underlying thinking processes and executive function skills.
Two of the programming options that we are particularly excited about are the PACE program , developed by Growth Strategies, Inc. and Auditory Stimulation and Training.
Auditory stimulation and training –
is a music and sound stimulation method that focuses on re-educating the ear and auditory pathways for increased learning, attention, communication, listening, and sensory integration.
This is accomplished through the use of specially modified classical music and nature sounds that stimulate the hearing mechanism to take in a full spectrum of sound. The auditory system is the lead sensory system and affects physical, social/emotional, and cognitive/learning development. Auditory stimulation and training helps bring this system to higher levels of efficiency. Auditory stimulation and training utilizes Samonas Sound Therapy, The Listening Program, or a combination of the two.
Samonas Sound Therapy was developed by German sound engineer, Ingo Steinbach. With his background in physics and music, Steinbach combined the principles of Dr. Alfred Tomatis with advances in technology and physics to develop the Samonas recordings. The Samonas recordings use spectral activation, which enhances the upper frequency range of music. This stimulates the brain for active listening resulting in improved communication, learning, and physical coordination.
Also built on the principles of Dr. Tomatis, The Listening Program ,developed by Advanced Brain Technologies, is based on the effects of psychoacoustically modified classical music and nature sounds on the nervous system;specifically the auditory system.
Learning Ears™ is an advanced auditory stimulation and training program that incorporates Samonas Sound Therapy with specialized lessons in audio-vocal training .
Based on years of clinical experience with music and sound stimulation methods, Learning Ears™ was created to integrate improved auditory function with the development of learning, reading, and spelling skills. Created and refined by Gayle Moyers, owner and director of Moyer’s Learning Systems in San Diego, California, Learning Ears™ utilizes the Samonas method as well as specific instructional materials for correcting learning, spelling, and reading disorders.
The music/sound stimulation and audio-vocal training of the Learning Ears ™ program move the learner from hearing to listening.
This re-training of the auditory system in the brain can have a dramatic affect on:
- sensory integration
Through the audio-vocal exercises, the learner’s voice becomes the on-going stimulus for the auditory system. The learner develops the ability to monitor his/her own speech, communication, and decoding (for reading). This increases accuracy and self-correction.
PACE (Processing and Cognitive Enhancement) –
is an intensive 12-week program that focuses on developing the cognitive processing skills critical to comfortable learning in an academic setting.
Skills are developed in the areas of auditory and visual processing, short and long term memory, processing speed, attention, logic and reasoning, and phonemic awareness. Skills are highly integrated throughout this program, as successful academic learning requires integration of skills.
The “technology revolution” is leading us on an exciting journey as more and more is being understood about the brain and learning! The following training seminars were helpful in writing this article and may be helpful to you on your journey. Check the websites listed for more information.
Dyslexia Remediation Certification Training –
Samonas Entry Level Seminars –
The Listening Program –
PACE Provider Seminars –