What is Neurodevelopment?
Neuro-development is a natural process that involves training the brain to develop neurological pathways to improve performance or functioning (e.g., intellectual functioning, reading ability, social skills, memory, attention or focus skills). It is a normal process. When you learn to do just about anything, you are usually doing neuro-development. When you learn to ride a bike, play a musical instrument, improve your game of basketball, etc., you are doing neuro-development. As you improve, the structure of your brain changes and you usually get to keep the gains that you have made, especially if you stay at it long enough.
This normal process can be applied to overcoming most deficits an individual may have. Just as you would use the process of daily practices on a keyboard or piano to overcome a piano playing deficit, you can use a similar process to overcome a reading deficit, math deficit, or attention deficit.
Some children may not need to spend much time with exercises to overcome a piano playing deficit. These children can be called "gifted" at playing the piano. Likewise, many children will not need to put in much extra time overcoming a reading deficit or an attention deficit. These children may be gifted in reading or paying attention. Some children will need to invest much time in overcoming their piano playing deficit, reading deficit or attention deficit. For most children struggling in school, they will need to do daily exercises to overcome their own specific learning deficits. Doing Neuro-deelopmental exercises 20 mintues a day is a reasonable goal. Improvements in skill should come over time. For some, the improvements will come quickly. For others, it may take 30 to 60 days before improvements can be seen.
Neuro-development is different that teaching or tutoring. Neuro-development involves identifying "neuro-developmental units" that are necessary for learning to occur. Neuro-development techinques are useful when tutoring and teaching have failed. The theory about Neuro-development is that learning will be impossible or very difficult without these "neuro-developmental units" in place or developed. Once all the necessary developmental units are in place and functioning normally, then a child will benefit from teaching or tutoring. Identifying "nuero-developmental units" will answer the question: Why did the child not learn the material presented in class when almost every other child in the classroom learned the material presented? By strengthening weak developmental units through Neuro-developmental exercises, that child will be able to learn from classroom instruction as well.
Neuro-developmental approaches attempts to permanently cure deficits by working on the neuro pathways (and/or neuro-developmental units) believed to be involved in that specific deficit. Once all the neuro-developmental units of the complex task (e.g., reading), the child will be able to learn. With tutoring the child will be able to perform at grade level. Additional tutoring or teaching may be necessary to get the child reading at age level. When age level is reached, the child can be said to be cured of that reading disorder, especially if the child continues to learn and keep up with same aged peers in the class. Again the goal of neuro-development is to cure deficits. If deficits can not be cured or healed, then the goal of neuro-development is to achieve the highest level of functioning that is possible for that individual.
For more information on neuro-development, please follow the links below. We also invite you to listen to an audio presentation on: What is Nuero-development?.
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The top photograph was by Solen Feyissa and the piano photograph was by Clark Young; both on Unsplash.com. We are grateful.
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