This was the scene when Simon mastered two-handed clocks last week – the screen lights up with well done, congratulations etc in many different colours! Our thanks to Col who was clever enough to whip out his mobile and capture the moment! In the other photo he took Simon is looking rather stunned but this one shows the screen more clearly! Now Simon is training on the three handed clock exercise before he starts it in earnest.
Another mastery in Word today, told to me once again, oh so casually! Word is the exercise that helps with what Barbara Arrowsmith Young calls Motor Symbol Sequencing – that is being able to consistently and sequentially produce a set of symbols (eg the alphabet or numbers). When there is a weakness in this capacity, processes involving input through the eye (reading) and output through the hand (writing) and mouth (speaking) are impaired to varying degrees. This shows itself as misreading because the eyes don’t track properly, handwriting can be messy, irregular and not automatic. Spelling is erratic and speech can be rambling. Simon says this sounds just like him! The masteries of Word must be working as Simon’s handwriting is much improved and it is not such a strain for him to write.
On a similar note, several friends have told me about a tv programme called “Redesign my brain” with Todd Sampson as the presenter. It has just been shown on tv in Canada and is now available on tvo for a short time so I though I should watch it. He undergoes brain training with the well-known pioneer in the neuroplasticity revolution, Michael Merzenich, who mentors him, showing him how to improve his cognition radcially by turbo charging his thinking speed, attention and memory.
It was amazing that in a month he could improve his brain function, in these particular ways, so significantly and I started wondering how it compares to the brain changes that the Arrowsmith programme makes. Perhaps we should have done an MRI on Simon’s brain before he started!
It turns out that juggling is one of the best things you can do for your brain – so I might have to take up juggling and so will Simon! One of the most amazing things Todd Sampson did was to have to go into a room with seven people sitting around a table, each with a name tag, a coloured scarf and a particular dish in front of them – he had 42 seconds in which to remember their names, the colour of the scarf and the dish they were eating. I won’t even tell you what my score was but Todd Sampson scored 18 out of 21! Since I sometimes even get the names of my children wrong or call them by the dog’s name I don’t think there is much hope for me! I think I would benefit from some of this brain training! And the other amazing he learnt to do was to memorise the order of an entire pack of cards – pretty impressive!
Michael Merzenich is coming to a conference on the link between neuroplasticity and education in Vancouver In October at the Eaton Arrowsmith school, I think it would be fascinating to hear him talking about that connection.