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Brain Hacks: An update on Learning Breakthrough

NOTE TO VISITORS FROM LEARNING BREAKTHROUGH’S SITE: We’ve stopped using this program and you might want to read my June 9, 2008 Final Update on Learning Breakthrough here to find out why.

It’s been a hair over two months since my 12 year old son and I began the brain hacking with the Learning Breakthrough system and I’d promised you an update.

Both my son and I experienced a giddy, major initial boost when we began. If you’ve ever been sedentary for a time, gone out for an exercise session and come back tired but alert, refreshed and eager to continue, you’ll have a sense of what we experienced in the beginning. But just like exercise, it soon becomes something you either relish and look forward to…or start to dread doing.

For weeks Alex was eager. I was so eager and committed that I started packing the balance board and bean bags to take on my trips (four so far) and I’m performing the exercises in hotel bathrooms (tile floor is necessary). I even ripped the DVD to have it on my laptop to ensure I’m doing all the activities. We’re both in a phase now where the twice daily sessions are a motivation challenge, but I’m hyper-committed to go the distance (12-15 months) and will do it right alongside Alex since we’re both experiencing increasing benefits and this is likely to be life-changing for my little guy.

So what are those increasing benefits?

Alex’s concentration is discernibly better. Perfect? Not by a long shot. We’ve also noted some increase in maturity level which, unfortunately, broke down completely when we left this past weekend for Arizona and his older sister watched over him. He defaulted to old behavior either skipping some sessions or hurrying through them. He stayed up late and slept till Noon. He also was a load, laying around for hours goofing off knowing he had studying to do. As of our return on Monday, we’re back on track and I’m downstairs with him for each session.

We ask him often how he feels and Alex reports significant changes. “Focus is better,” “I feel great,” “my balance is better”.

It’s easier to track changes in myself vs. Alex as I tend to be hyper-observational about changes caused by Learning Breakthrough that wouldn’t be likely attributable to any other variable.

I’ve always been a carbaholic and struggled with my weight. It’s gone up, down, up, down and up. I’ve had more than a decade of daily marathon-like running and weight lifting that thankfully is paying dividends as I age. Curiously, I’ve noticed fairly significant reductions in cravings for external stimulation from food (especially sugar or other carbs), caffeine or stimulant medications for my ADD.  In fact, most afternoons when we all typically notice our blood sugar dropping and fatigue set in — and most of us grab a convenient, refreshing caffeinated beverage —  I end up doing the Learning Breakthrough exercises in the early evening and am rejuvenated and thus don’t need them.

My concentration has increased. There is a feeling of inner mind strength (don’t know how else to describe it) that’s ensued resulting in additional confidence. My balance and motor coordination is considerably better and more attuned which makes me realize that this type of activity should be done with senior citizens or those participating in any sport requiring enhanced motor coordination.

That’s where we’re at after two months.

I’m in a dialogue with the president of Learning Breakthrough since it’s clear to me that they could use a service (paid for obviously) that would/could coach people through the process and be there to get people over the hump that Alex and I are experiencing right now.

I’m also intrigued with my conversations and interactions with Dr. Charles Parker who writes the excellent CorePsychBlog. He recommended Interactive Metronome and I’ve been investigating it. He has mentioned that perhaps layering approaches could be useful (the physical Learning Breakthrough with the neurofeedback exercises) but I struggle with how much time investment Alex is willing to make.

More to come…

About Steve Borsch

I'm CEO of Marketing Directions, Inc., a trend forecasting, consulting and publishing firm in Minnesota. Prior to that I was Vice President, Strategic Alliances at Lawson Software in St. Paul where I was responsible for all partnerships at this major vendor of enterprise resource planning software products and services. Read more about me here unless you're already weary of me telling you how incredible and awesome I am.

Comments

  1. 1Kid2Dogs says:

    Thank you for posting your’s and your son’s experience with the LB program. You have quite a following. I started a forum for Dore program participants, and LB comes up as similar. My son started Dore in December ’06. I would like to put out there, if you would take the time, to let us know what you think the difference is between the two programs, or if we could somehow compare notes. I know of some individuals who considered Dore, but just simply cannot afford it, so have considered LB. If you would be willing, would you be able to contact me regarding comparing notes on the two systems? Specifically, how you know what exercises to do, or does everyone do all of them in the same progression, and how do you know to progress to the next levels? How do you know that you have received the full benefit of the program, and you are complete?

    Thank you so much in advance for any information you would be willing to share.
    Regards,
    ~1Kid

  2. B Dahlberg says:

    I would like to talk with someone who has tried the Learning Breakthrough Program. Please call me at 301-680-5035. Thanks, Bettie

  3. I started LB with my daughter (6) (verbal dyspraxia/apraxia of speech) and my son (8) (he might as well benefit too) just over 2 weeks ago. They have both done it twice a day every day since and I plan to keep going with it through the summer and then back to school – I’d like to hope we can do it right through the time recommended. I wish I was doing it myself too but supervising 2 young children through it and then doing it myself is just beyond my self discipline levels ! Your blog is a great support – please continue to write it I will be really interested to hear how things progress.

  4. Thanks … your blog has tipped me over and I’m off to order LB. My son, age 11, is a Type 1 diabetic where exercise and control of his eating are mandates for his life. Unfortunately, poor motor skills means sports and exercise are challenging. Additionally, his appetite seems nearly insatiable; I can count on one hand the number of times he’s actually uttered “I’m full.” I can relate to having “Google’ed my little heart out for hours looking for cutting edge research and approaches.” I now understand his appetite cravings are related to low levels of serotonin and dopamine (also a factor in his attention issues) thanks to Ruden’s book “The Craving Brain”. So I was intriqued when I read that LB decreased your cravings for food stimulation (with my hypothesis that LB exercises increased your dopamine levels.) I’m anxious to see how LB helps with both the motor control and the appetite.

    Thanks, CYAY

  5. Thanks for these posts on Learning Breakthrough. I have an 18 year old who is highly intelligent, creative, warm, funny, but has consistently under-achieved throughout his education so far. He has been getting depressed and his self-esteem has been very low lately. Someone suggested he might have ADD and he has done several online tests which seem to prove without doubt that he does. We both feel quite excited in some ways to have found the answer to why he has so many attention problems etc. I have talked to the Dore people and they sound fine, but I am seriously considering LB as an alternative. So I’m happy to have come across your blog!

  6. I have a 4 year old and I can already see ADD (fortunately without the HD) symptoms. He cannot focus, is dreamy, has never completed a task, loses his place in line at sports etc.
    The literature I have read indicates that you can make permanent non-medicated changes if you start early enough. Is 4 years old too early in your opinion?
    I notice that Dore only starts from 7. But I know that by 7 the frontal lobe is developing so a lot of other stuff is going on. Shouldn’t one start earlier?

  7. “Is 4 years old too early in your opinion?”

    Of course, a qualified medical opinion is critical for your 4 year old. My personal opinion is that there are some things you can do right now that would be huge:

    a) Proper diet. There’s something about ADD and ADHD that is atypical in the drive to eat. Carbohydrates in specific. Maybe it’s part of the whole self-medicating behavior (carbs broken down into sugars stimulate) and it’s common for abuse of caffeine and chemicals (alcohol, drugs) later on. A good, balanced diet keeping blood sugars stable really helps.

    b) Exercise. One would think that kids naturally get enough. But in today’s climate of kids being indoors vs. outside all the time, organized athletics seem to be the only avenue. Since kids with ADD and ADHD experience a latency in their brain processing, sports that require instant reactions are really a problem and often these kids just stop athletics since they can’t keep up.

    These are the two areas my wife and I are focusing on with our son.

    By the way….

    There’s a thought leading psychiatrist, Dr. Charles Parker, that has a great blog and podcast you should check out:

    http://www.corepsychblog.com

  8. The Play Attention system is the only edufeedback brain wave system I am familiar with, after 35 years in the biofeedback field that actually has full time coaches to help you throughout the use of the system. Steve Borsch, this highly beneficial system may be of lasting help for you and your son.

  9. Consider the example of regressed behavior in the story. His son regressed after spending time with his sister.

    Entrained vested interests. How are family and money the most defiant of behavioral patterns to break?

    What? ‘Breaking’ behavioral patterns? What about ‘forming’ behavioral patterns (hint: iconnectdots.com)?

    Although we get ‘hints’ from our genetic sequencing; learned behavioral patterns are key to unlearning for adaptable, pliable states. Putting data into workable, applicable¹ sequences requires equal breaking ability. This flexible state empowers individuals to be able to choose more valuable paths in societies of growing data, and, thereby, choices.

    By sheer proximity, we are affected by our decisions (Bell’s Theorem states that even though an island a man may be, we are all interconnected). And by the sheer amount of exponentiating data we produce, we must hold ourselves accountable via individual ethics.

    This is why any method taught to children must encompass feedback (consequences to sequential behaviors) and grading (an integral part of a feedback system called ‘evolution’ – as learning curves grade up levels).

    ¹The base word of “applicable” is ply. Einsteinian Relativity states that we are pliable states of spacetime – charged, more or less – therefore, flexible states are optimal for species continuum. See ‘NLP’.

  10. I am very interested to hear an update on your and your sons progress on the programme. I am considering purchasing the kit for my 7 year old daughter who has recently been diagnosed with ADD.
    Your posts so far have been fascinating.
    Kind Regards,
    LMC.

  11. I was really interested to read your blog which I found on the Learning Breakthrough site. I am a 50 yr old woman just recently diagnosed with ADHD, and am finding meds helpful but was researching other alternatives when I found the LB site. As a result of what I read there, including your blog, I decided to give it a go and am now nearly 4 weeks into the programme. I’m amazed at myself that I am actually doing it quite religiously. The first week was tough and I missed about half the sessions, but then I got into the swing of it and do actually enjoy the exercises, which feel like play. More importantly, I’m feeling really good….definate improvements in memory & general mental clarity already observable, plus that sense of mental invigoration you described and growing confidence. Of course, this is early days for me but so far I am hooked!
    Keep us posted, as I will too

  12. Hi
    I live in the UK and have a daughter aged 7 who is displaying symptoms of ADD and dyslexia. Ahe attends an Independant school. At the parents consultation It was heavily suggested to me that if my daughter does not do the DORE program she will have to leave the school at the end of the school year. Basically, they want to see improvments before the end of the school year.

    Unfortunately, I cannot afford the DORE program or I would have put her on it immediatley. Like other parents, I googled and came across the LBP. I have ordered it directly from the US and anxiouxly awaiting it’s delivery. I am praying that this will be the answer.

    When it arrives and my daughter has started the program, I will let you know how she is getting on.

  13. Hi
    I live in the UK and have a daughter aged 7 who is displaying symptoms of ADD and dyslexia. Ahe attends an Independant school. At the parents consultation It was heavily suggested to me that if my daughter does not do the DORE program she will have to leave the school at the end of the school year. Basically, they want to see improvments before the end of the school year.

    Unfortunately, I cannot afford the DORE program or I would have put her on it immediatley. Like other parents, I googled and came across the LBP. I have ordered it directly from the US and anxiouxly awaiting it’s delivery. I am praying that this will be the answer.

    When it arrives and my daughter has started the program, I will let you know how she is getting on.

  14. ElizabethRo says:

    Hello Everyone,

    Does anyone have experience of using Learning Breakthrough for dyspraxia (DCD)? I have an 8-year-old son and was considering buying the package. Also, does the content of the Dore program offer anything additional to Learning Breakthrough? – we are suddenly (& amazingly, for us) able to consider Dore, which we definitely couldn’t afford before so I had looked at Learning Breakthrough, but now I’m simply confused about which is the best to go for (we don’t want to throw money away if the Dore programme doesn’t offer anything extra to the Learning Breakthrough, and £2000 is quite a lot to pay to pay someone to see you just 8/9 times!).
    I really would like to see the contents of each laid out alongside each other!

    I am happy to let folks know how we get on!

  15. Hi Elizabeth

    I ordered the LB just after Xmas for my 7 year daughter (see above). I am still awaiting it’s delivery!! I’ve been in touch with LB and they said it should be in the UK and is probably being held up somewhere. So they are chasing it up. I’m rather annoyed as I wanted my daughter to have been trying it out for a few weeks before half term. We have a meeting with her Head teacher and class teacher after half term and I really wanted see if there had been any improvemnts.
    As soon as it arrives and she has done 2 weeks I will let you all know.

    A very frustrated and anxious mum.

  16. As a ps to Elizabeths post. I did a lot of research also into doing Dore or LB. The only thing in addition that Dore offers is the initial assessment with a Doctor which you are paying a private consultation fee of around £550 for.The fancy eyetracking and balance tests. 6 weekly visits to the centre to monitor progress. They may vary the exercises at this point. The regular visits are not conducted by specialists just normal people trained in the use of equipment.
    The LB program provides a lot more equipment, not just a balnce board and bean bags. It also provides monitoring sheets and a DVD which shows you how to do the exercises properly.
    My husband and I were in agonies over either Dore or LB. But we chose LB.
    Remember, neither program is guaranteed to work. It all relies on the commitment of the persons undertaking the exercises.
    Hope that helps.

  17. Hi All,
    Was just reading through the posts to see if any updates on the progress were included and saw the trouble that people are having getting the LBP from the US. I live in UK and bought the programme from a company in Ireland. Arrived in less than a week.
    We are delighted by our daughters success and she’s only be on the programme for just over a month.
    Hope this helps.

  18. Hi All.

    Like the above post. I had difficulty getting my package from USA to UK, took 3 weeks all together. the biggest delay was Customs and receiving the item from Parcel force.

    I had to pay an additional £81.50 for duty and VAT so the total cost was £331, so I wish I had paid another £19 and ordered it from Northern Ireland and recieve it in a week.

    Link:
    http://www.success-matters.com/lbp/index.php

  19. Hi i’ve been reading all your posts…. Like most people with learning difficulties i am looking for a cheaper alternative to the dore programme…. We need to compare the two programmes …. i need to speak to someone who has been on either program ….. Please email me mark_austin_@hotmail.com

  20. Just to let you know there is quite a bit of discussion for LB and Dore at addforums.com. You can find them under the “Misc Treatments & Discussions” section. Hope this helps.

  21. Hi Does anyone know where I can buy a Learning Breakthrough Kit either new or second hand? Please let me know as I’ve decided to try it for my son. Thanks for any advise.

  22. Diane Chew says:

    I have a learning breakthrough kit. Live in Sydney Australia. I went a different direction with my daughter, sent her to a different school with a different way of learning which suited my needs. I still believe this is a great program

  23. Diane Chew says:

    Contact dechew@westnet.com.au Breakthrough kit not used.

  24. Hi, I am interested to hear from anyone in New Zealand who has tried this programme. We have considered the Dore Programme but it is very expensive. Then we came across Learning Breakthrough which seems to achieve the same results. Any information at all would be much appreciated.

  25. Hi Jackie
    I am from New Zealand too and are also trying to decide between Dore (who is very pushy) and LB. Did you start with one of the programs? If you did LB, where did you buy it from?
    Thanks

  26. I am about to take the plunge and buy this program as everything I read about it is very positive.

    I am looking for a supplier in New Zealand or second hand equipment. I would appreciate any contact with anyone in NZ who has any information or who has used the program.

  27. Wilma Abalos says:

    I am interested to buy a learning breakthrough program equipment. I am looking for a supplier here in Australia. Would you please let me know if you know a supplier here in Australia. Thank you

  28. Steve Borsch says:

    Hello Wilma — Unfortunately I have no idea on where you might buy it in Australia. I would go to http://www.learningbreakthrough.com and ask them directly.

  29. Dear Wilma,
    It might be a little late now but you can purchase LBP in Australia via http://www.links2learning.com.au
    I also notice previous posts regarding obtaining LBP in the UK and would like to advise that Learning Solutions are the UK representative for LBP. you can order via http://www.learning-solutions.co.uk without import duties etc.

  30. Cheryl Wooden says:

    I was wondering whether you have additional updates, as the comments date back to 2007.
    I am a widowed mother of 2 and my 11 has ADHD. He is very bright, but struggles with emotional, social and behavioral skills. His handwriting has been an ongoing problem for him. I am considering the learning breakthough but am afraid of being ripped off. He gets lots of support at school, and outside therapists as well. He also takes Metadate CD. The appeal for the program would be to help either phase out meds and/or help during times he is not taking them (evenings), as he has poor appetite while taking them, and give him skills to equipt him for the future.

  31. Dear Cheryl, My thought is that the Learning Breakthrough Program may well help with the ADHD behaviours, certainly helping with attention, fine motor skills and visual perception etc. I would really be looking at an outcome of coming off meds necessarily but I do not know anything about your son so it may be possible longer term with better sensory modulation. I don’t really understand what you mean about being ripped off – LBP is simply a programme to improve many skills and no benefits can be guaranteed. The benefits tend to come with regular usage over a period of time.

  32. Cheryl Wooden says:

    Thanks, Steve
    I am familiar with Dr. Charles Parker as I purchased his book ADHD Medication Rules:Paying Attention to the Meds for Paying Attention. I agree a lot with what it says, but changing practitioners would be a challenge and I have found his psychologist to be very helpful and supportive, but the psychiatrist at the practice didn’t seem to buy into it when I menitioned a bit of what I read (alluding to the fact that he may be getting wealthy of off…) I did slowly stop the Prozac my son was taking, after what Dr. Parker calls the serious interactions with methphendate especially in something he calls Thinking ADHD which reminds me of my son, and the suicidal feelings seem to have subsided a bit. I will continue to check out his website for further info.

  33. I am a 50 year old woman with ADD,Dyslexia,Aspergers,dyspraxia and dysgraphia and central auditory processing disorder. I have done both Dore and Learning Breakthrough. Both help tremendously with attention,learning,balance and coordination. It will even help with winter depression so that a person won’t lose as much attention span and won’t be as affected by carbohydrate cravings and weight gain. It also helps keep balance and coordination strong as you age. Thats the good news. Here is the bad news. If you are female and have done this you get used to functioning better. Then peri-menopause and then menopause hits and this can and will undo the benefits.Stimulants will be less effective and exercise will not increase the attention and alertness as much.It is devasting. A plan needs to be in place to keep these benefits as you age.If you are lucky and don’t have ovarian cancer or breast cancer you may be able to take hormones. If not then something else has to be found. But if the parents take this warning seriously they may be able to find solutions for their children before it becomes an issue.

  34. Thank you all so much for your comments. I am convinced L/B works as I have seen similar exercises in a program for young kids here in NZ called PMP and though it is different to LB , it still involves tracking and developing fine finger co-ordination and body(spatial) awareness. I am so excited about LB. So thanks again.

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