A Big Hello to the Learning Breakthrough Blog Readers, I am delighted to have been asked to do my first guest blog post for Learning Breakthrough Program. Learning Breakthrough is one of the alternative therapy programs that I use and recommend to clients in my Hallowell Centers and also to my readers across the world. Clients continue to ask about the program, and the ones who have stayed in the program for an extended period of time have reported positive results.
I am asked regularly about my association with certain “alternative” approaches to learning disabilities. I was recently talking about vision therapy with a New York Times reporter who was asking me about skepticism observed in the medical profession regarding the topic. I told her I believe it is important to keep an open mind when it comes to alternative treatments. Most of these programs do not have the funds to undertake the multi-million dollar prospective studies that are needed to conclusively test these programs. Nonetheless, many of them, like Learning Breakthrough, have merit and have helped people a great deal.
I offer Learning Breakthrough in my offices as a powerful, approachable and inexpensive treatment that complements our other therapies wonderfully. I have found it valuable for clients with ADHD as well as dyslexia and other learning differences. It is not purely vision therapy, but rather an “integrative therapy” that makes use of several different brain systems. It is designed to get the brain working as an efficient, tight-knit system. Many of the clients who have completed the program have reported such improvements as a reduced or eliminated need for medication; better academic performance; increased organization skills; and heightened executive functioning. I hope you will read into the detailed background information posted on the Learning Breakthrough website to get a better feel for what I’m talking about.
With respect to vision therapy, I told the reporter I believe there is something to it. What the “something” is – is up for grabs, but we are learning more and more about how the vestibular system, visual system and auditory system can all be made to work better together and improve the treatment of attention deficit, dyslexia and other learning differences. My own son’s reading problem was helped by his doing vision and vestibular exercises based on the same methods Learning Breakthrough uses which is how I came to gain an appreciation for this particular “alternative” treatment. This is not hocus-pocus. The fact that medication is the best researched intervention is due to the fact that the drug companies are the only groups with enough money to fund such expensive research. I referred the reporter, and I would refer you, to the work of Dr. Mel Kaplan, an optometrist in Tarrytown, NY who is, in my estimation, a genius and a true innovator in the field.
But note, developmental optometrists are not the only professionals that understand and apply Learning Breakthrough’s ideas. Occupational therapists, physical and speech therapists, audiologists, education specialists, and physicians have all seen client improvements along the lines of those that I’ve seen.
I tell my patients that I want to use whatever works, as long as it is safe and legal. If we wait for a New England Journal of Medicine article to report on the validation of every treatment, we’ll be waiting a long time. To me, the integrative approach–making use of all the possible tools I have in the toolbox–is the best way to go.
All the best, Ned Hallowell