The Learning Breakthrough Program is an exciting program designed as an alternative method of treatment for those with ADHD, dyslexia. It is an amazing training program that integrates auditory, visual, motor planning, tactile, balance, body positioning and neurofeedback systems in order to strengthen neurotransmission and actually calibrate the brain’s functions. That’s a mouthful eh?
I have a soon to be nine year old son who tends to be quite a challenge. My son struggles with focus and attention; a lot. As you can imagine this makes learning just about anything quite a struggle. So having the chance to read and review A Life in Balance, the story of Frank Belgau’s development of the Learning Breakthrough Program, I really looked forward to the opportunity to learn about this program and perhaps gain some new skills.:-)
This book was written for those who are seeking to help and gain hope for their children who struggle with various learning challenges. It’s an excellent book to read if you’re also seeking a better understand of how the brain works and how learning happens there. You can purchase a copy of the book for $16.94. The book is an amazing read; very informative and engaging, I could barely put it down, and read it in a couple days (with plans to read it again!).
This book is the both a story and a way of teaching a very simple method of treatment to assist in greater learning for those struggling to do so. In part it is an autobiography of Frank Belgau and his journey in the creation and development of the Learning Breakthrough program itself. As you read you gain an understanding of his childhood and his struggles which drove him to seek out something more, something different.
Notes from the back cover…
“In the mid-1960s, Frank Belgau was an elementary school teacher with a revolutionary idea: “What if the children our education system had given up on—the ones the experts called “brain injured”—could actually learn to read?”
“Forty years later, Belgau’s remarkable insights into the nature and treatment of learning disabilities have fundamentally changed our understanding of the mind—and given thousands of young people the gift of literacy.”
“Written by his son, Eric, A Life in Balance documents Frank Belgau’s heroic attempts to uncover unconventional practices that would unlock their real potential. At its heart was one clear goal: Discovering what would create an immediate, observable improvement in reading. It’s a journey that culminates in the development of the Learning Breakthrough Program, Belgau’s cutting-edge (yet remarkably simple) therapeutic approach that strengthens the body and mind using movement and balance. ”
This is so very inspirational! As you read, you can experience and share in his journey and struggles to find an answer for those in need of another way. This is a very real and transparent book; he teaches about the balance board, bat, bean bags – why these are a neccessary part of the exercises involved in this program and how they assist in greater clarity. While I only had the book to review (no materials) this did give me a number of ideas to attempt with my son here at home (we used an old WiiFit board and some bean bags we have lying around too). It’s the application of these exercises that makes the difference. He explains further too; brain theories surrounding this program; some were more scientific and others were theories of his own from his experiences. He even gives ideas as to how you can test this stuff out at home. Talk bout a science experiment! (We are going to give it a try).
Throughout this book we can see how involved he has been; how consuming and real this is! I say that because I have read myself many different programs and materials designed to give an answer to the struggles some learners face. But throughout his book you read and experience all that he encountered himself as a learner, and as a teacher, implementing this program with others. He speaks so clearly, so truthfully within these pages, you can feel his passion for this program. And for helping those who are stuck in a system or program, that cannot help them.
There are exercises included within this book too. Some of them are lots of fun to do (we did a couple): the Space Walk; Toe to Heel, my boys both loved the March (forward and backward) as well as Pick Target – Close Eyes – Walk to Target. I admit I stumbled over a couple things. This was not one of my more successful exercises. ha-ha What I really like about this part (I was a developmental, early intervention, home service provider for many years) is that each exercise includes things to watch for such as: are the two sides of the body in parallel, arm and body thrusts assist or oppose hops, is posture relaxed and upright, is movement sooth, does child stay on the line given? Helpful things to look for as you do these exercises. We are trying to consistently do a couple of these each day ourselves.
This is a wonderful book for any parent to read that has one of those “different” children; an out of sync child, if you will. There is such a wealth of information in here. I learned so much that I did not know about how we learn; about ways to encourage and stimulate learning; using motion and coordination to enable the abilities to learn more! I have gained a greater understanding of how to engage the body so as to stimulate the brain for learning and believe me with a son who cannot sit still (he hops, he bounces, he taps his feet, drums with pencils, and fingers…always on the move!) It is so good to know and see a correlation between movement and learning; learning how to manage and engage it is the key. And that is where this book/program comes in.