Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Hemispheric Integration and Juggling

Bright Idea: Can PE help youths with ADHD?

"Using one side of your body to move objects on the other side forces both sides of your brain to interact with each other, and something about [ADHD] appears to interfere with that process, Pedersen said.

'What I've noticed in my observations is that kids with disabilities tend to be all one-sided,' Pedersen said. 'They tend to do everything on the right side of their body with their right hand or foot and the same with the left. Kids that don't have disabilities, kids that are good at sports, they tend to be able to cross over their bodies with no problems.'

'I worked with her on a mini-trampoline,' he said. 'I'd cross her hands and hold them while she jumped up and down. Something as simple as that started building up those skills, and the interesting thing is it carried over into her class work. Her teacher told me her attention span improved and her ability to concentrate.'

We do exercises where the kids juggle beanbags with each other, which really trains the brain to integrate. Through that, we've found the kids read better, focus better and learn better."


Dr. Daniel Amen, author of "Change Your Brain: Change Your Life," hosts a Saturday morning talk
radio program where I was reminded of the benefits of "cross-training" one's brain. I'm glad to see that researchers in education are looking at this correlation, however -- they need a neuroscientist to give them a hand!

The idea (that is unmentioned in the article itself) is that doing cross-lateral exercises increases the connections in the cerebellum. In the past, it was thought that the cerebellum was only responsible for motor coordination and balance. Recently, scientists have found that the cerebellum is also responsible for processing information between the two hemispheres, which aids in cognitive functioning.

When one exercises the cerebellum, with an act like juggling, there is cross over to education because it strengthens connections that enhance cognitive abilities. Having a stronger cerebellum is like having a faster computer processor in the brain. By strengthening this cognitive muscle, our minds can perform at greater heights.

During sessions with my students, exercise is a very important part of the day. Generally, we start with jumping jacks to get the blood flowing in the body and increased oxygen to the brain. The gifts of the cerebellum have reminded me to teach them "cross-training" exercises as well. But first -- I need to learn to juggle!

You know your kid has done a good job when they can solve a Rubik's Cube with one hand while juggling two cubes in the other!



  • wow. how can i contact you????
    I am doing an MSc and the topic is hemispheric integration and schizophrenia.... i am especially interested in the cerebellum.
    great post. made me clap my hands with glee : D

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:44 AM  

  • I am very interested in the cerebellium exercises which can stimulate the brain. I live in the UK, my son is an Elite soccer player aged 11 but needs to improve his motor skills and speed up coordination.

    I know these exercises are supposed to work.

    adao you have access to these exercises or can you point me in the right direction.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:33 AM  

  • Anonymous, please email me. I'd be happy to help you out.

    You can find my email in the profile.

    Thank you,


    By Blogger Danielle Lynne, at 1:10 PM  

  • You should check out a program called Bal-A-Vis-X @ mosaicintegratedlearning.com

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:07 PM  

  • What about indigo children ;)

    By Blogger ShemTV, at 4:27 PM  

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