Can Hemisphere Integration Exercises Help Students with Dyslexia?

Posted by Erica Warren on

The human brain, a marvel of nature's engineering, is often discussed in terms of its two distinct hemispheres, each with its unique strengths. Bridging these cerebral continents is the corpus callosum, a superhighway of nerves that facilitates interhemispheric communication. Yet, this pathway isn't always trafficked to its full potential. The common discourse around being 'right-brained' or 'left-brained' suggests many of us navigate life tapping into just half of our cerebral potential. But imagine the possibilities if we could harness the full spectrum of our brain's capabilities, merging the analytical with the artistic, the logical with the intuitive. By learning to synergize the dual forces of our hemispheres, we could maximize our ability to learn and experience the world. Let's embark on a journey to unlock this cerebral synergy and achieve the pinnacle of cognitive performance.
a students face in two halves showing the two hemispheres

This can be achieved by doing either cognitive or physical activities.

Cognitive exercises are not just beneficial; they're crucial, acting as both a mental tune-up and a therapeutic tool. My go-to resource is The Working Memory and Hemisphere Integration Bundle, a treasure trove of engaging, game-like exercises designed to sharpen focus, enhance working memory, and activate the full cerebral hemisphere network. Many of these innovative activities draw inspiration from the Stroop Effect, a phenomenon named after the pioneering work of John Ridley Stroop, who first documented it in 1935. His groundbreaking research gave rise to the Stroop Test, an assessment tool that’s now widely recognized for evaluating selective attention, cognitive agility, processing speed, and executive functioning. By incorporating these activities into a remedial approach, we can open doors to new levels of cognitive mastery for students.
List of dyslexia remedial resources
Click on image to learn more

"Brain Gym" by Dr. Paul E. Dennison and "Smart Moves" by Dr. Carla Hannaford bring forth an intriguing blend of scientific insight and practical exercises. Their work bridges the gap between various disciplines—including Applied Kinesiology, Educational Kinesiology, Developmental Optometry, Biology, and Neuroscience—to uncover movements that bolster interhemispheric communication within the brain. These exercises often involve "crossing the midline," an action that requires both brain hemispheres to engage and collaborate, thereby enhancing cognitive function (as demonstrated in image 2). Other techniques include relaxation and refocusing strategies that utilize acupressure points and other straightforward movements.

The benefits, as suggested by the authors, are multifaceted: improved academic performance, sharper focus, enhanced memory, better mood, and potential remediation of learning disabilities such as dyslexia and dysgraphia. Given that students often experience prolonged physical inactivity during school hours, integrating these simple, yet effective movements into the classroom routine could offer the necessary physical and mental stimulation to enrich their learning environment.

needed physical release
Image 2

I would love to share some specific exercises, but they are protected under copyright laws.
Cheers, Dr. Erica Warren
Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator, and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning. She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Learning Specialist Courses.
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