As the school year quickly approaches, evening routines start to change. For many parents, it is a nightly struggle to complete homework on time and keep up with the assigned reading. For parents of children with Dyslexia, this struggle is tenfold. At Kinuu, we understand reading and school work are important, but industry experts now agree that specific exercise programs can be an instrumental factor to the success of dyslexic children.
In a study titled, Movement and Cognition, researchers found a distinct correlation between children who had poor motor skills and learning disabilities. Those with learning disabilities consistently scored lower on gross motor testing. Motor skills are important building blocks to academic learning.
Further studies have shown that spending more time mastering gross and fine motor skills provides marked improvement in cognitive and executive function. The pre-frontal cortex which controls these functions such as complex thinking and problem solving also powers such abilities that affect daily tasks as:
While all children need these capabilities for learning, Dyslexic or ADHD children can improve these functions by following a routine. All these capabilities are required for learning. Dyslexic and learning disabled children lack in many or all of these areas.
The good news is that exercise can help the pre-frontal cortex in a number of ways and improve success for dyslexic children. Exercise brings new blood to the brain which provides more oxygen and nutrients. It produces endorphins that elevate mood and act as a pain analgesic.
However the most exciting benefit of exercise for dyslexic children’s brains is the increase in neuroplasticity. The brain can actually build new connections through the performance of various movements.
This is a game changer for children with dyslexia and other learning disabilities. Because their brain anatomy is fundamentally different, they don’t utilize the left hemisphere – responsible for reading – the same as other children.
By creating new pathways, your child has better tools to tackle learning.
In addition, dyslexic children don’t have correct innate brain timing. This timing affects everything from determining where a sound comes from, to controlling sleep cycles. It also influences attention span, memory, reading comprehension, motor skills and speech.
Through repetitive exercises your child can strengthen and integrate all motor brain movements -- balance, gravity, gross motor, rhythm and timing, visual, fine motor, perceptual and memory -- the same ones used in a classroom.
What kind of movements are the best? Exercises that target visual, tracking, coordination and balance. When your child stimulates these areas, he rebuilds and strengthens the channels needed to accomplish fine and gross motor skills – and he constructs new building blocks for academic learning.
Just like building muscles, these exercises need to be repeated with frequent consistency. As you train your child’s eyes to work in concert with his body, you’ll see improvement in both balance and coordination.
When you add the challenge of keeping a rhythm while performing movements you’ll help correct your child’s natural timing mechanism.
The use of exercise as a therapy for dyslexic children is one that is gaining new ground every year. By understanding your child’s weaknesses and applying movements to strengthen those areas, you can augment the traditional therapies for dyslexia and see greater success.
To learn about how these simple exercises can help your child, join our Member Community at www.kinuu.com. You’ll have access to videos, an exercise workbook and a 45-day calendar to keep your child on track.