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A new way of thinking

Vanessa Papas 26 June 2003
Adri van Deventer of Malanshof is a qualified Brain Gym facilitator and explains how 26 simple physical movements can improve children with learning disabilities.

"EVERY child has inside them an aching void for excitement and if we don't fill it with something which is exciting and interesting and good for them, they will fill it with something exciting and interesting and isn't good for them." - Theodore Roosevelt

Gyms are available to keep ones body in shape but what about one's brain?

Adri van Deventer of Malanshof is a qualified Brain Gym facilitator who believes it is possible to strengthen learning abilities, enhance and improve one's brain with 26 simple physical movements.

Van Deventer was working as an operational manager but was so bored she could not drag herself out of bed in the morning. Then she found a new passion - Brain Gym. Today she is a qualified Brain Gym facilitator, is registered with ASKSA (Association of Specialised Kinesiologists) as well as Edu-K (Educational Kinesiology).

She said she worked mainly with children who are believed to suffer from symptoms of ADD (attention disorder deficit) or hyperactivity. More often than not these children have been incorrectly diagnosed as Van Deventer explained.

"If a child sits in a classroom in the morning and still spends a couple of hours in front of the television there is a good possibility the child is not moving enough and therefore their brain is not being stimulated," she said. "A re-education programme like brain gym can assist to create new pathways or remove blockages. Active play can give more positive results than extra lessons."

This is made clear with an example of one of van Deventer's clients.

"A parent was told her son had ADD and should go on Ritilin by his teacher. His mother refused and took him to an educational psychologist. The boy was identified as gifted and is now at Radford House. "I did brain gym with the boy and helped him shift his focus. His handwriting improved and he made huge progress with cello lessons," van Deventer said.

Brain gym also showed positive results in a girl (8) who battled to sleep at night after the family experienced an armed robbery. "The girl and her parents came to see me and I did brain gym with her and showed them how to do it themselves. That night she slept through and has ever since," she said.

Originally developed by Dr Paul E Dennison, Brain Gym focuses on physical movements. One such movement is the cross crawl. If you put your right hand to your lifted left knee. Release and do the same with your left hand and right knee. Repeat the exercise six times. What this movement does is integrate your hemispheres of your brain which creates more interactivity and connection in the brain. The movement helps with concentration, integration and whole brain thinking.

For more information about Brain Gym and the techniques that are used e-mail adrivd@unique-integration.net or visit www.unique-integration.net

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Copyright © 2003, Rodney Jones, rtjones@amethyst.co.za, Randburg, South Africa (Last updated on 7 August 2003)