Theoretical Components of the
as the Central
Between the Two Hemispheres of the Brain
the Difficulty Level of Activities
the Central Component
In order to understand why the Learning
Breakthrough Program focuses so much on balance stimulation
activities, we must understand the central role played by the
sense of balance, or the vestibular system. As a child grows
in the womb, the vestibular system is the first sense to
develop, and so it serves as an organizational tool for other
The vestibular system gets its raw
information from the vestibular organs, which consist of three
semicircular canals and the otolith organ. The three
semicircular canals are oriented along the x, y, and z axes,
and define motion on each of the three dimensions of space.
When the head moves, hair cells detect the motion of the
fluids inside each canal. The brain uses this information to
calculate changes in inertia, in much the same way that the
inertial navigation system on an airliner senses changes in
position and velocity. The otolith organ uses a pendulum-like
appendage, the utricle, to orient the sense to the vertical
force of gravity.
Because the vestibular system combines the
inertial information from the three semi-circular canals with
the gravitational orientation provided by the otolith organ,
it is the basis of our inertial gravitational model of the
world—that is, our model of the world as three-dimensional
space with a clear sense of up and down. As a child continues
to develop in the womb, the other major brain systems—motor,
tactile, auditory, and visual—also develop, but they develop
in relation to the vestibular system, or sense of balance.
Because the vestibular system plays such a
key role in the foundations of perception, balance problems
can cause many, seemingly unrelated problems in brain
function. Click here to learn how the Learning Breakthrough
Program can address a wide range of symptoms by working to
improve this basic building block of brain function.
Human beings have five senses, but live in
one world. In order to form a complete and accurate picture of
the world around us, we need to integrate the information from
all of our senses, so that we can match the sound of a jet
engine with the small silver streak overhead, or small round
object we feel with our hands with the white baseball we see
with our eyes.
The three-dimensional model of the world
provides the framework into which all other sensory data must
be integrated. Because the vestibular system is the basis of
this three-dimensional model of the world, the effectiveness
of the various senses in communicating information accurately
to the brain is limited by the precision of the vestibular
Because the sense of balance provides the
framework necessary for sensory integration, the Learning
Breakthrough Program can help people improve sensory
Spatial awareness is, very simply, an
organized awareness of the objects in the space around us, and
also an awareness of our body’s position in space. Without
this awareness, we would not be able to pick food up from our
plates and put it in our mouth. We would have trouble reading,
because we could not see the letters in their correct relation
to each other and to the page. Athletes would not have the
precise awareness of the position of other players on the
field and the movement of the ball, which is necessary to play
Spatial awareness requires that we have a
model of the three dimensional space around us, and it
requires that we can integrate information from all of our
Studies have suggested a link between a
well-developed sense of spatial awareness and artistic
creativity, as well as success in math. It can also be
important in the development of abstract thought. The ability
to organize and classify abstract mental concepts is related
to the ability to organize and classify objects in space.
Visual thinkers, in particular, will tend to use their visual
imagination to organize abstract thought.
Because spatial awareness is so important in
all activities of human life, from the most basic to the most
advanced, deficiencies in spatial awareness can hold people
back from achieving their true potential. However, because
spatial awareness requires integrating the information from
the different senses into the three-dimensional model of the
world provided by the vestibular system, activities which
refine the vestubular system and develop sensory integration
can refine all aspects of brain processing.
The Learning Breakthrough Program can help
people to develop and hone their spatial awareness, and
sensory integration, helping them to succeed in life.
Integration Between the Two Hemispheres
of the Brain
The human brain is composed of two
hemispheres, which function like two networked computers. The
left hemisphere receives motor and sensory input from the
right side of the body, and the right hemisphere receives
input from the left side of the body. When we bring the two
systems together and begin the task of developing harmony and
synchrony, the first step is to achieve an efficient balance
between the two sides of the brain.
Because most mental processes involve both
sides of the brain, integration problems between the two
hemispheres can result in inefficiencies in brain processes.
Thus, some children with reading problems, central auditory
processing disorder, language delay, and other learning
problems may be suffering from a lack of integration between
the two sides of their brain.
Lack of integration between the two sides of
the brain can become a vicious circle. A child who has a
learning problem may suppress one eye. This can be a symptom
of lack of integration between the two hemispheres. But
because suppressing one eye means that the child reads with
one eye only, the brain networks to support the other eye will
become further disorganized through lack of use, exacerbating
the lack of integration.
Since the left hemisphere of the brain
controls movements on the right side of the body, and the
right hemisphere of the brain controls movements on the left
side of the body, a person can refine the integration between
the two sides of the brain through activities involving both
sides of his body. These movements bring the two systems into
One of the most significant points on a
child's perceptual and motor skill development continuum is
the establishment of a synchronized cross pattern creep
(crawling). This is the point where both sides of the body and
both hemispheres of the brain are operating within the
framework and under the control of a consistent timing system,
a system in which the standards for measure for both sides of
the body are matched perfectly. For the left leg to move
forward synchronously with the right arm and for the same
pattern to occur when the right leg and left arm move,
requires that the time and space increments for both sides of
the brain be in phase.
As the child begins to learn to walk, the
sensory integration and balance requirements become much
greater. In order to achieve synchrony the child must achieve
a higher level of integration between his two sides. The most
efficient possible walking pattern for a human is the one in
which the two arms are swinging as pendulums counterbalancing
the movement of the legs and setting the rhythmic pace for the
total movement pattern.
Successful integration between the two sides
of the brain is necessary for improving all brain processes,
including those for reading, writing, academic achievement,
motor skill development, and many others.
Brain timing is very closely related to
integration between the two hemispheres of the brain.
Successful integration of the two hemispheres of the brain
cannot be accomplished apart from efficient brain timing. The
most basic element of a computer chip is its clock. The clock
speed of the chip is the most significant measure of its
ability to process information.
For the brain to process information more
efficiently, the processing speed must be faster. Because
slower brain processing speed is manifested in motor skill
deficiencies, a simple concept will provide a framework for
analysis of movement: the greater the balance requirements,
the faster the brain must process information provided by the
various senses and the faster the brain must process the
interaction of the two hemispheres of the brain.
When we observe movement, we can indirectly
observe the efficiency of brain processing. Smooth,
coordinated movements are the result of precise timing and
good integration between the two sides of the brain.
Suppressions, rigidity, and uncoordinated movements are the
result of bad timing and faulty integration, and are
indicative of poor brain processing ability that can manifest
itself in learning problems, and learning disabilities, poor
academic performance, and many other struggles in life.
Studies have also shown that slow brain timing may be a factor
in attention difficulties like ADD/ADHD, and may also be a
factor in Central Auditory Processing Disorder.
These inefficiencies resulting from poor
brain timing or slow reaction time may improve with activities
that improve the timing processes in the brain. Activities
that require the individual to move both sides of his body
synchronously are dependent upon the timing resolution in the
brain. Brain timing can be improved by engaging in these types
the Difficulty Level of Activities
As the difficulty level of an activity
increases, the brain must utilize more neurons to achieve the
precision necessary to complete the activity. For example,
throwing a ball and hitting a small target at 8 meters as
opposed to 4 meters requires the brain to involve sixty-four
(26) times as many neurons to achieve the same degree of
accuracy. Therefore, increasing the difficulty level of a task
increases the brain integration (neural involvement) needed to
complete the task.
If a person has difficulty executing a
particular sensory integration activity, this may be because
the activity is more complex than their brain is currently
capable of organizing to complete. In order to avoid a
crippling sense of failure, then, everyone should start out
with activities that are simple enough for them to perform,
and gradually increase the difficulty level. At each stage,
the neural networks in the brain will improve their
organization, which enables them to be stretched to reach the
As the difficulty level of an activity
increases, it requires increased spatial awareness, enhanced
integration between the two sides of the brain, and more
precise brain timing.
We understand the importance of being able to
vary the difficulty level of activities, and have designed the
Learning Breakthrough Program with the goal of providing a set
of activities that can help people at every level.
Studies have validated the premise that
attention deficit disorder is a reliable predictor of motor
skill deficiencies. Additionally, it has become apparent that
approximately half of all children with developmental
coordination disorders suffer from varying degrees of ADHD and
that children with motor skill disorders experience restricted
reading abilities. Further studies have indicated that a
variety of motor skill and sequencing abilities are necessary
for interactions with others and the environment. Children
must be able to construct complex patterns in order to carry
out multistep activities both at home and at school. There is
significant interaction between the neural networks involved
in ADD/ADHD and those involved in the regulation of brain
timing and motor skill and planning.
An individual’s ability to improve motor
skill efficiency and brain timing impacts his or her ability
to sequence. It is apparent that these abilities are necessary
for academic achievement and that the failure to master these
abilities is a significant inhibitor of academic success.
Activities that are designed to address the inefficiencies in
the neural networks that are involved can be very helpful in
changing the physiological conditions in the brain that are
contributing to the difficulty.
The Learning Breakthrough Program may help to
improve brain sequencing.
Binocular teaming is the ability of both eyes
to work together to provide accurate information to the brain.
Binocularity and stereopsis (the working together of the two
eyes in providing different views to the brain which are
integrated into one image) are important visual processing
skills and are responsible for providing depth perception.
These visual perception skills are necessary in order to
perform a variety of visual tasks such as tracking, fixating,
converging, and visual motor integration. These tasks are
important for reading, writing, and functioning in the
classroom or workplace. Inability to perform these tasks well
has a detrimental effect on an individual’s ability to
function in society. It also has a tremendous negative effect
on children in the classroom.
In order to deal with binocular deficiencies
it is important to become involved in some type of vision
therapy. There are many types of therapies available which
help to address these problems. When choosing vision therapy
it important to remember that vision is a brain process of
which the eyes are only a part. It is also important to
remember that vision is not a process unto itself but is
integrated with and dependent upon the vestibular system
(sense of balance). A variety of vision problems occur when
both eyes do not work properly together. For instance, one eye
might not be processing as much information as the other, one
or both eyes may not focus at a specific point due to over or
under-convergence, and there may be vertical or horizontal
alignment problems that cause the aim of the eyes to be
Since the visual system is integrated with
the vestibular system or sense of balance, the Learning
Breakthrough Program has products and activities that
stimulate balance while also integrating the visual system to
improve binocular teaming and visual processing.
The brain constantly engages in a process
designed to position our bodies based upon the information it
receives from our senses. This ability is made possible
because of the existence of proprioceptive processes.
Proprioception can be explained as the awareness of movement
and body position. Sometimes proprioception is defined as the
body’s joint positioning system. Effective proprioceptive
processes are dependant upon the ability of the brain to
integrate information from all of the sensory systems
including feedback from muscles, joints, vision, the tactile
sense (touch/pressure) and the sense of balance or vestibular
Joint stabilization is the ability of muscles
that have been appropriately activated to stabilize a joint.
The process of joint stabilization/joint positioning is
critical to athletic performance and injury prevention. Often
times an athlete who has suffered multiple ankle injuries will
assume that he or she has ‘weak’ ankles. This may not be the
case considering the fact that the athlete is probably in
excellent physical shape. The more likely scenario is that the
joint positioning systems (proprioceptive processes) that the
brain uses are not positioning the joint properly in the midst
of athletic movements. Over time, this poor joint positioning
will lead to injury. By improving the brain’s ability to
integrate all the information being received from the various
senses and formulate appropriate movement responses the
chances of poor joint positioning and injury are reduced.
Balance activities that integrate the visual,
auditory, kinesthetic, tactile, and vestibular senses have the
effect of improving the proprioceptive processes that help to
reduce injuries and improve performance. These improvements
can be realized because sensory integration activities
increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the neural
processes in the brain. As neural capability and efficiency
increases, a variety of other benefits are realized. Timing
improves, vision improves, sense of balance improves, mental
processing improves, reaction time improves, proprioception
improves. In short, athletic performance improves.
Because balance therapy is so foundational to
efficient brain processing, activities that improve brain
processing will improve performance in both academics and
athletics. This is important for the student athlete because
the Learning Breakthrough Program provides a program that will
improve academic success and athletic performance at the same