Recently, listening to "The Brain that Changes Itself" (Norman Doidge) I was encouraged to hear that we seniors can keep our brains from deteriorating and even prevent Alzheimer’s! When we reach middle age, we tend to rest on our laurels, using the skills we’ve developed over the years (the established neurological ‘brain maps’), but Doidge writes that we need to develop new brain maps as we age. The key is challenging our brains with new learning, new skills, new input. Learning must be a life-long activity. The most vibrant older people we meet renew their brains and bodies and reinvigorate themselves with new friends, new challenges and serving other people.
Just a few suggestions for more vigor and joy in your life:
- Study a foreign (to you) language
- Take up a musical instrument, get lessons
- Meet weekly with friends to play a game of cards
- Volunteer in the community; meet new friends
- Get on your treadmill (or go out for a long walk) or stationary bike with a good audiobook
- Take a dance class and show off your moves
- Take up a new craft (woodworking, crochet, etc) or pick back up one you already know
- Enroll in a community college class
Another great idea: Many seniors have problems with receiving auditory input, which puts a real damper on relationships and social activity. Sound therapy is an excellent tool for improving auditory reception as well as mood, balance, concentration and energy. The Listening Program’s music production techniques are designed to stimulate, or “exercise,” the different functions of the auditory processing system. This enables the brain to better receive, process and use incoming information.
A sound therapy program of beautiful classical music can improve our brains and our social lives as we get older, by improving the way we hear conversations and engage with our loved ones. Call me if you’d like to reinvigorate your brain with The Listening Program.
Let's go! I’m doing my TLP 'listening' today and starting piano lessons soon!
Red Flag Warning: Any Child Who Doesn't Like to Read!
If your child avoids reading, here are good tips from Ann:
- Have your child read aloud to you 15 minutes a day, 5-7 days a week, consistently.
- Don't say the word he struggles with, but help him sound out words. It is critically important for every reader to know how to sound out words.
- Don't let him skip words or misread (example: reads that for than, of instead of for ).
- For the 'good reader' who doesn't remember what she has read, do this exercise: She reads aloud, pausing slightly to tap once at each comma or semi-colon, and tapping twice at the end of each sentence. She cannot be voicing while tapping. This allows the brain time to catch up, and with time and practice, builds in a good habit of recognizing punctuation.
If your child doesn't make significant progress after a month or so, call us. We do some of our BEST work at the reading table! Here's a comment from one 6th grader: "Miss Ann, I like to read now!" This young lady now enjoys her studies as an art student at a well-recognized college in Georgia. Her parents told me recently that, through high school, Tanya's "nose was always in a book"!
Most of the children I test for processing and reading skills show deep deficiencies in auditory processing, which is critically important for good reading ability, comprehension and social interaction. So many struggle with reading (and therefore, with all their academic subjects) and may never know the joy of getting into a really good book! The Listening Program has proven itself with my clients over and over in developing those very necessary auditory skills.
This morning as I read research studies posted to the Advanced Brain Technologies site, I found more about the positive effects of sound therapy for students with Downs Syndrome and with Autism. I was not surprised to read the impressive results shown for twelve children with Autism. These children had completed only half of the program when they were retested. Significant improvements were found in eleven areas, such as: using more words, following instructions, mixing with children, swimming, better sleep patterns, coordination, reduced fidgeting and more food tolerances.
In another study, nine Downs children (also retested halfway through the twenty-week program) also showed very good progress. Their parents recorded: able to listen better, using more words and stringing more words together, clearer speech, more compliant, better coordination, among other improvements.
Hope this is helpful and encouraging!