I have had many students throughout the years with various learning disabilities. That is why when I was asked to do a book review of A Life in Balance by Frank Belagau, about The Learning Breakthrough Program, I jumped at the chance. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was excited to learn about a new alternative program without drugs and side effects.
This book was such a fun read. It is a biography of the founder of the program; Frank Belagau. It is written by his son Eric Belagu. I found myself immersed in his life story. At times I cried as I read about his own personal difficulties learning to read in the 1940's and at other times I laughed with the funny things he tried in the classroom. The book continues going through his personal experiences and breakthroughs with the children he worked with. It also talks about the difficulties he had in the schools he worked in while trying alternative methods of teaching with his learning disabled students. Although he had difficulties, he somehow found people along the way that supported him. The book ends with a description of his "Space Walk" exercise he developed for his students, as well as how it is still helping him now in his old age.
The book itself is not the Learning Breakthrough Program. It is the story of the founder's life and how he came to the point he is at today. More information about the program and the equipment needed can be found at their website; The Learning Breakthrough.
The program seems to focus on reading improvement, focus, concentration, and coordination through brain training or brain fitness. Brain training is basically helping the brain change (it's neuropathways) to grow in productive ways. Some of the the ways they do this in the program is through use of balance boards, fine/gross motor exercises, bean bags, balls, etc. Apparently scientific research shows that the more neurons (brain cells) you have working together the better the precision to the activity. Physical activity and motor coordination increase brain cell use. I can definitely relate to that...if I have just exercised I seem to be able to get a lot more accomplished then if I have been sitting on the computer working for a few hours:)
The nurse in me loved the scientific aspect of the book. I found the correlations that Mr. Belagu made between fine/gross motor exercises and learning growth very interesting. The program he describes sounds really challenging. I can see why they call it brain exercises. Even if you do not deal with anyone with a learning disability, this book is still a wonderful biography. If you are interested in reading this book yourself or finding out more, you can find The Leaning Breakthrough Program at the following sites:
Book Price: $16.95
Age Range: Adults
This program has helped many children with various different learning disabilities. It has help children with ADHD, dyslexia, Aspergers, brain injuries, and more. Do you think a program like this could help you or your students? I would love to hear what you think:)