A Teacher’s Dream Comes True
by Robyn Kernot
During my career
as a teacher, I always felt strong empathy for the students who couldn’t learn as easily as other children even though they worked much harder. Each year, there seemed to be more students with learning problems and because learning challenges are so damaging to a
child’s self-esteem, I was determined to provide extra individual support for them even if it meant giving up my preparation time, recess, and lunch breaks. At home, I was preoccupied with trying to think of new approaches to help those students focus, understand, and remember. When I crawled into bed at night, my prayer was always, “God, please show me how to help them.”
Like all the teachers, I did the best I could to help those high-needs students make it through the year with self-esteem intact but as they moved up through the grades, I watched them fall further and further behind their peers both academically and socially. When I announced plans to retire after 21 years in the classroom, people would ask, “What will you do after you retire?” and I would say, “I don’t know yet, but it will be great!” Then, the year before I retired my prayer was answered. I was searching the net for a totally unrelated topic when I discovered the website of a school in Quebec that was using a unique technology to help students with learning and attention challenges. As I sat there reading, I knew I was going to bring the same brain training program they were using to Saskatoon.
I took the training and purchased the technology, and then started a home-based business called Think Potential Brain Training. The system I use, called Integrated Listening Systems (iLs for short), is truly multi-sensory and does not involve a computer. My clients do fun movement and visual tracking activities while listening to special music programs on patented “intrasound” headphones. In addition to listening via the ears, these headphones have a tiny “bone conductor” that rests lightly on the top of the head and converts the music to imperceptible vibrations. These vibrations travel through the bones of the skull and stimulate the body’s vestibular system and the vagus nerve which controls many body functions including the parasympathetic nervous system responsible for calming a person as well as allowing a person
to pay close attention, communicate, and get ready to learn. The music is modified to gradually emphasize different frequencies depending on each program’s targeted brain functions. Repeated multi-sensory stimulation results in the development of new neuronal pathways and the strengthening of existing ones. The iLs website explains, “In the same way we can train our bodies to become stronger and healthier, iLs trains the brain to process sensory, cognitive, and emotional information more effectively. With better synaptic connectivity, we perform better.”
In his new best-selling book, The Brain’s Way of Healing, Dr. Norman Doidge describes a handful of neuroplastic interventions which are supported by clinical evidence and are changing people’s lives. iLs is one of these therapies, and Dr. Doidge delves into the iLs method by investigating three iLs cases—ADHD, Autism, and Sensory Processing Disorder.
Who can benefit from iLs?
Anyone. Children and adults of any age with anxiety and stress issues, learning disabilities, speech and language delays, premature birth, attention deficit disorders (ADHD), Down Syndrome, Autism Spectrum disorders, stroke or traumatic brain injury, Parkinson’s Disease, artists, sports athletes, and business people. When I did the training, I was shocked to discover that I had serious balance issues, the underlying cause of a lifetime of motion sickness on cars, buses, boats, and trains, as well as a dread of flying.
I offer programs to help people achieve goals related to:
- balance, coordination, and general muscle tone
- memory and retention of new learning
- emotional regulation and self-control
- anxiety, stress, and sleep issues
- slow thought processing
- concentration and attention
- speech and language
- reading and comprehension
- learning disabilities
- creativity and mental sharpness
If a child was struggling in school because she had astigmatism and couldn’t see properly, no parent would say, “Don’t be so lazy” or “Just buckle down and try harder,” but many people still think a child or an adult with brain processing or attention challenges should be able to overcome it using willpower. A person doesn’t “outgrow” such disabilities, they just learn to avoid situations that cause them discomfort and embarrassment. iLs clinical director Dr. Ron Minson describes the system as a “bottom up” intervention that establishes the underlying skills like attending, listening, and self-regulation required for higher level functions such as language, reading, and social connection. By building these foundational skills, brain training dramatically improves the outcome of other “top down” interventions such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, remedial reading programs, and tutoring.
I knew I was on the right path when the parents of my first client wrote, “We have seen such an incredible change over the past year. You have changed our lives. Thank you.”
Robyn Kernot is a personal brain trainer and the owner of Think Potential Brain Training. From her home in the Holliston area of Saskatoon, she works with toddlers, children, teens, and adults at all stages of life. She can also arrange to supervise Home Programs for people who live outside the Saskatoon area. Robyn is excited about the new turnkey iLs School Program and is looking forward to helping teachers and schools add brain training to their current student support offerings. For more information visit www.thinkpotentialbraintraining.com. Contact Robyn Kernot at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 306-374-7318. Also, see the display ad on page 29 of the 21.5 January/February issue of the WHOLifE Journal.