Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The woman who changed her brain - a review

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Have you heard about this book? Written by Barbara Arrowsmith-Young, it is a must read for any parent in my humble opinion.  I wish I had been able to read it years ago (although it was only just published) and help more of my students. It is about neuroplasticity (ability of the brain to change).

 During my years teaching adolescents, I was privy to so many parents and students telling me their personal histories about their learning histories. Their frustrations with how some things were easy and other tasks were like operating in a fog. Repeated failure to successfully complete simple tasks despite numerous support from teachers, parents and peers meant increasingly low self-esteem and poor results. Often there was an instinct on behalf of the students from the parents and the teachers that this was an intelligent person but somehow there was a wall. Parents spoke of noticing inconsistencies from an early age, even at 18 months old. Students spoke of a fog or knowing how to do a task and then that information fading shortly after learning it.

 Reading this book made me wring my hands a few times. It reminded me so much of some of the students I have had over the years. There are some very specific strategies using brain exercises that can help people address their learning disabilities.  Early intervention can literally be a life saver for children. The good news is that recent clinical research clearly indicates that weaknesses in the brain (which result in learning disabilities such as speech, handwriting, spatial awareness etc) can be strengthened and even repaired at any stage of life. I highly recommend this book.

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