In an earlier post, the link between the cerebellum and ADHD was discussed. In this post, the functions of the cerebellum will be discussed in greater detail. Additionally, several exercises that work to improve the functioning of the cerebellum will be reviewed.
Functions of the Cerebellum
Although the cerebellum has many responsibilities, its central function is to coordinate and manage motor activities. Balance, coordination, posture, equilibrium and eye movement are all controlled in part by the cerebellum. It also functions to calibrate motor activities such that our movements have a smooth, flowing nature to them. The cerebellum receives information from other structures, like the inner ear and vestibular system, and fine-tunes incoming sensorimotor information to achieve smooth movements. When the cerebellum is damaged or not fully developed, individuals can show movements that are erratic or slow, demonstrate an inability to judge distance, have difficulty performing rapid movements, and walk with an unnatural gait. Furthermore, deficits in the cerebellum have been linked to symptoms of ADHD and other behavioral disorders.
Many cerebellum exercises are available that help the cerebellum enhance the functioning of its neurons. Essentially, neurons need stimulation in order to function properly. When neurons don’t get enough stimulation, they become unstable and lead to many behavioral problems, such as those associated with ADHD. However, exercising the cerebellum can increase functioning and reduce negative symptoms.
Exercises that require focused attention have been shown to help cerebellar development. Deliberate and purposeful physical movements, such as balancing on a balance board or working with a therapy ball, will help neurons get the stimulation they need to maximize their functioning. Because there is a significant connection between physical activity and mental functioning, pairing physical tasks with mental exercises is also very helpful for improving cerebellar functioning. For example, a child with ADHD might be asked to maintain his balance on a balance board while simultaneously reciting the alphabet.
If a child shows weak cerebellar development in one hemisphere, performing physical exercises involving the arms and legs on the same side of the body can help that part of the cerebellum “catch up” to the level of development of it’s other half. These exercises might involve arm or leg stretches or complex movements that involve the hands, wrists, elbows and shoulders. Vestibular-based activities, such as throwing and catching a ball or performing balance exercises such as standing on one leg, are also great cerebellum exercises that facilitate the stabilization, growth and development of neurons.
The Learning Breakthrough Program incorporates each of these exercises into a comprehensive regimen for tapping into the brain’s neuroplasticity. The exercises involved in the Learning Breakthrough Program require children to perform activities that involve balance, spatial judgments, and motor activities, all of which improve cerebellar functioning. Essentially, as the brain’s neural networks organize the incoming sensory information, they become more efficient and improve their functioning.
For more information about the Learning Breakthrough Program and the benefits it provides, visit https://learningbreakthrough.com/program-overview/what-is-learning-breakthrough-program.