At one time, scientists thought that the brain’s structure was hard-wired and fixed, but today we know that the brain’s ability to change – to rewire, relearn, and strengthen important connections is more like plastic, or a term known as neuroplasticity.
Neuroplasticity is good news when applied to the world of learning disabilities.
As we work to uncover strategies and activities to help students with learning differences thrive, understanding neuroplasticity has never been more important. Research has taken neuroplasticity to the forefront of many new special education approaches to improve learning and education.
WHY NEUROPLASTICITY MATTERS Did you know that everyone of us was born with a staggering 100 billion neurons in our brain that are poised and ready to start exchanging electrical impulses and creating neural pathways at the moment we take our first breath?
Neural pathways connect areas of the brain or nervous system and link them to a particular behavior or action.
This means that the first five years of life are critical for neurological development. This is the time that the brain is developing so quickly that it is the ideal time to harness neuroplasticity.
This speedy brain development also explains why early intervention for learning disabilities is so critical.
Early intervention therapies and treatments can improve outcomes for a child. The following four strategies are used at Rockwood Prep Academy to strengthen and improve the neural pathways (neuroplasticity) of the brain:
- Motivation is everything. Finding tasks that are motivating for the child increases neuroplasticity.
- Daily practice of life skills like communication, cognitive, social, reading, and motor skills.
- Encourage and suggest learning strategies for the home, school, and public places.
- Inform parents of each behavioral training strategy so they can help support the child and reduce anxiety and stress.
Knowing that repetitive experiences can change our brains, and that the brain’s structure and capacity are not fixed, is the first step in helping our children with learning disabilities grow and thrive. The second step is getting help. If your child is struggling in school, and you live in the Mesa, Queen Creek, or San Tan Valley area, contact Rockwood Prep to learn how we can help.