Myomancy ADHD, Dyslexia and Autism

Learning Breakthrough Revisited

Almost eighteen months ago I reviewed the Learning Breakthrough Programme and wasn’t very impressed:

However, and this is a big however, the Learning Breakthough Programme itself is almost unusable because of the very poor writing and layout of the booklets. Pages and pages of dense text explaining how to set up and perform the tests and exercises with not one single illustration to help. The copyright on the booklets states 1982 and the booklets very much have the feel of that time before the desktop publication revolution. The text reads like its written by academics for academics and whilst it is nice not have your intelligence insulted it does mean that reading the books are hard work and not that accessible to the average joe.
I struggle to recommend this product unless you cannot afford or are too distant to attend one of the commercial dyslexia treatment centres and are willing to put in a fair effort getting to grips with the booklets

Recently Nationwide Health Solutions, who are now the European distributors for Learning, got in touch and asked if I would like to review the new, updated Learning Breakthrough Programme. ‘Of course’ I said and within a few days the programme booklet and DVD arrived through my letterbox.
So, has it improved?

Yes though the booklet isn’t perfect. The reproduction quality and typesetting have greatly improved but there are still no illustrations. However this drawback is more than compensated for by the inclusion of a DVD. It contains well produced, clear demonstrations of all the exercises and almost makes the booklet unnecessary.

BalanceBoard
Belgau Balance Board

The programme itself is designed to improve balance and hand / eye coordination. All the exercises are done on a Belgau Balance Board that, unlike normal wobble or balance boards, can be adjusted to make it easier or harder to use. The coordination exercises involve throwing and catching beanbags, hitting a swing pendulum, throwing balls at a target and similar tasks. The programme is designed to last twelve weeks with the user doing one of the ten sets of exercises twice each day. Each exercise set focuses on one activity like throwing and catching a bean bag with up to twenty variations. The whole set could take as long as fifteen to twenty minutes to complete. Doing the exercises twice a day, everyday for twelve weeks will be demanding for parents but it is only through hard work and persistence can cerebellum training be effective.

So does it work? Lots of research shows that learning difficulties are linked to balance and coordination issues and according to the one study done on specifically on Learning Breakthrough, it does have a notable effect. However it may not work for everyone (see The Log Jam Hypothesis).

The Learning Breakthrough system is often compared with the Dore Achievement Centre’s approach. Both focus on balance and hand / eye coordination as a way to improve reading and general academic performance. One obvious difference between the two is the price. The Dore system is ten times more expensive than the Learning Breakthrough but this isn’t a fair comparison. The Dore approach involves regular visits to a centre and customized exercise programs whereas the Learning Breakthrough programme you get a one-size-fits-all approach. Ultimately the comparison between the two systems is unfair on both as its like comparing custom made clothes to those brought off the peg. Which system suits you or your child will depend on the nature of the problems and your budget.

Overall this revised booklet and DVD are substantially better than the old versions and it makes it a lot more useable system. Learning Breakthrough is a viable way to train the cerebellum and help address learning difficulties.

Related posts:

  1. Learning Breakthrough Program – Test Booklet and Guide
  2. Learning Breakthrough Programme
  3. Developmental Practitioners’ Association & EASIE
  4. Ask Wynford Dore: The 10 Questions
  5. SharperBrain Claims a Breakthrough in ADHD Treatment

Comments on: Learning Breakthrough Revisited

  1. Hi – I am really fascinated by all of this “sensory integration therapy,” but I really have no idea how it fits into the bigger picture. Can you either point me to a resource that explains or outline yourself what the going theory is on *why* this stuff works?

  2. Chris – In a nutshell it comes down to the Cerebellum and its role as a clearing house and coordinator for the senses, the body and the brain. If the cerebellum is underdeveloped and cannot cope with the influx from all the sense (including the forgotten senses such as balance and proprioception) then information gets lost. Imagine trying to fill a bottle with a very narrow neck. Try to fill it too fast and almost nothing will actually go in the bottle. The logic therefore is to train up the cerebellum and thus make the bottle neck wider.
    At one level all treatment programmes, including phonic training, are working on the cerebellum as learning to manipulate anything, be it phonic sounds, managing your emotions or juggling beanbags, will increase the size of the bottle neck. Its just a question of how efficient the training is at improving the cerebellum. Programmes like Learning Breakthrough obviously more efficient at training the cerebellum than a reading based approach.

  3. The Learning Breakthrough Programme is now available to order from a UK based company. To order with confidence visit http://www.dyslexiaawareness.co.uk

  4. Chris,

    Is it not the case that you have written the above just to illustrate that the principles in dore are valid. Do you work for dore?

  5. Mike
    I’m not sure whether you are refering to the article or the comment. In either case, they were writtern to provide parents, teachers and others with information on cerebellum based treatments.

    Do I work for Dore? No but I know I must be doing something right if I carry articles that get Wynford Dore telling me I’m harming his business [ http://www.myomancy.com/2006/12/about_myomancy.html ) whilst at the same time getting comments accussing me of working for Dore.

    Chris

  6. Chris,
    Thats reassuring. The reason I ask is that none of the ‘bad’ stuff you write about about Dore would hit their bottom line, e.g. having an agressive marketing strategy is unlikely to put off desperate parents. This is mixed in with all the good stuff you write which will encourage parents. Also, I have counted 000′s of pro Dore articles written on this and other forums, most of which are written during UK business hours.
    Mike

  7. Were the revised booklet and DVD ordered from Learning Breakthrough, or through Balametrics? I’m only conjecturing that if the update only comes with the Learning Breakthrough set, this might account for the higher price listed on the Learning Breakthrough site.

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