Educational Kinesiology and Brain Gym

>> Sunday, November 15, 2009

Kinesiology is the study of movement and the mechanics of how muscles and bones interact to enable us to move. Educational kinesiology relates to the brain integration, plus the application of movement to the learning process as well as to intellectual and athletic skills, communication, interpersonal relations and creativity. Educational kinesiology can also help with handwriting. Something I wish I had to the boys doing. My oldest really needs it due to his poor handwriting. My youngest son is not so bad off.

Paul Dennison and his wife founded the Educational Kinesiology Foundation which is now know as Brain Gym International. It operates in over 80 countries. Brain Gym and Vision Gym provides techniques for enhancing learning and performance.

“We know the experience of feeling less efficient when we are stressed. Those with ADD, ADHD, LD, PDD, and autism know all to well what stress is like. They experience their worlds everyday in what we know only in extreme stress. When unconscious survival centers of the brain take over and our ability to act intentionally and skillfully disappears.

Paul Dennison found that those in a survival mode were underachievers, using the term” low gear” when the higher brain turns off. This leads to excessive involvement in two-dimensional activities such as a flat surface like T.V., video games and reading. Because of human visual systems we were designed for 3-dimensional, not two-dimensional vision, stress can result.

In the absence of stress, the muscle locks and the arm stays in one place easily because the nervous system is efficiently communicating its intention to the muscle fibers. This is called the “high gear” state with the presence of stress the muscle is weak, the arms give way under pressure; a “low gear” state. For example, a third grade student that is “high gear” for addition and subtraction and “low gear” for multiplication until they have mastered. The “high gear” state is for all the physical, postural, and gross/fine motor skills when asked.

Educational kinesiology acknowledges three primary dimensions of brain function:

1. Focus Dimensions (front and back) relates to participation and comprehension with the ability to act on details of a situation; while at the same time understanding new information in the context of previously experience. For example reading comprehension. On the low end of the spectrum children who lack integration in the focus dimension could be responding to a form of internal stimulation that makes the child feel unsafe. They are hypersensitive children. When a child has difficulties with transitions, makes the same mistakes over and over again, and unbalanced in the direction of being over-focused instead of under-focused are often labeled as ADD, ADHD, OCD.

2. Centering Dimension refers to integration of the top and bottom parts of the body, and the rational top (cortex) and emotional bottom (limbic system) of the brain. In handwriting words and letters float chaotically out of alignment on the page creating an uncentered internal state.

3. Laterality dimensions are the right and left sided of the body and the right and left hemispheres of the cortex and is the most concerned with coordination. We all know that the right side of the brain controls the left and vice versa. Integration of both hemispheres is essential for the development of all bilateral skills, including binocular vision and binaural hearing. This becomes the foundation for reading, writing, and communication. Lateral integration is also essential for fluid gross motor activities and for moving and thinking at the same time. Children who write with heads tilted and once side almost on the table and their paper turned so that the line of script goes straight out from their noses. They are using only one eye and one hemisphere.

1 special comments:

MaryJo Wagner November 15, 2009 at 9:32 PM  

Brain Gym works well with children--and adults too. If you're interested check out if you'd like to know more. Learn the Brain Gym exericise for handwriting, for example. It's fun.