“Amanda” is a sweet, intelligent young girl, and she was about to be retained in third grade. She had come to this country speaking only Spanish, and had learned English over the last two years. By now she was fairly fluent in English, but somehow, she could not read easily in either Spanish or English, and the director of her school described her as being “language-confused.”
This was the story of the first child I was to work with at a visit to a local school I visit once each month for a “residency day,” to work one-on-one with students the director has identified as needing special help.
Amanda arrived for her Brain Gym session and we chatted a bit, and I went on to ask her what area she’d like to improve in. We talked about her learning of English, and she told me how difficult it had been to come to school that first day knowing only three words of English, and how hard it had been to learn. She showed me a book she had with her, and said she wished she could read more easily. She read one paragraph out loud – awkwardly, straining to recognize certain words, and stumbling over punctuation.
Somehow, the goals, “I know where to go in my brain for the Spanish,” and “I know where to go in my brain for the English” popped into my head. I asked her if this was what she wanted, and her whole face lit up. “YES!” she said. I told her that her two languages might be stored in her brain in ways that made them hard to get to, and that a Brain Gym balance might help her go more directly to the language she wanted. She was thrilled with that idea.
Amanda’s "learning menu" called for Dennison Laterality Repatterning (a specific balance protocol that's learned in the Brain Gym® 101 course). Following this, her Cross Crawl was transformed (very awkward before, and now very smooth) indicating that the two sides of her brain may now be cooperating more efficiently. When she read out loud again it actually didn’t seem much different to me, but Amanda said that reading was indeed a “whole lot easier.” She returned to her classroom, delighted – and I wondered just what change had occurred, and how it would unfold.
One of the challenges of working one day per month in a school is that I have to wait quite a while to find out what changes may have occurred. But this time, I found out about Amanda’s outcomes sooner, and in a surprising way:
Two weeks later one of the teachers at the school called me on the phone to ask, “Did you work with a girl named Amanda on your last residency day?” It turned out that Amanda’s mother was a close friend of this teacher’s, and had quite a story to tell.
The mother reported that Amanda had come home from school and said, “You’re not going to have to follow me around and make me do my homework anymore.”
“What?” asked the mother.
“I have a brand new brain!” Amanda said.
“What? What do you mean? How did that happen?” asked the mother.
Very confused, and wanting to know what Amanda could possibly be talking about, the mother finally called her friend the teacher, who suggested that Amanda might have experienced a Brain Gym session that day, and that it might have made a big difference for her.
And indeed, overnight, homework had gone from a battle to something that Amanda did on her own, easily, every day. Not only that, both her ease in expressing herself in English, and her ability to write in either language blossomed overnight; and a check of her reading skill showed that in two weeks she had gone from reading at grade level 2.3 to 3.0. Amazing, what a “brand new brain” will do!
Six month update
The balance described above took place late in the third quarter of the academic year. At that time the school expected to have Amanda repeat third grade, as she was having such a challenge in showing competency in core areas of the curriculum. Up to that point she had earned almost all D's and F's, mostly due to incomplete work.
Her report card of the fourth quarter, following her Brain Gym balance, was almost all A's and B's! Needless to say, everyone was delighted, and this year Amanda is working beautifully in fourth grade.
Copyright © Kathy Brown 2014 • www.centeredge.com
Photograph copyright © Laird Brown Photography
Clipart images copyright © 123rf.com
Clipart images copyright © 123rf.com
A slightly different version of this article was published in 2005
in Notes from Center Edge, Kathy Brown’s newsletter that
predates her creation of this Whole-Brain Living and Learning blog.
Brain Gym® is a registered trademark of Brain Gym International • www.braingym.org