Brain Hacks: A Final Update on Learning Breakthrough
A final update on our experience with Learning Breakthrough (LB) since many people are following along and interested.
No question we received benefit from LB…it just wasn’t effective enough. Unfortunately, it became a burden and my son was pulling back from it and goofing around, so we ended up not moving forward after the first five months. We’d read that there was a plateau period and we moved past that, but the benefits we were receiving from LB just wasn’t enough of a payoff for the effort we put into it.
Learning Breakthrough (or Dore, in my opinion) is probably as good as having an ADD/ADHD person performing daily aerobic exercise and eating a good diet…and we all know how few of us do the things we know we should, and trying to get a kid to stick to something like LB is quite a challenge.
Then a Doc (Dr. Chuck Parker) who writes CorePsychBlog sent me an email since I’d written about brain SPECT imaging on this blog. Having the SPECT analysis helped us identify the subtype of ADHD my son was experiencing. Parker and I went back and forth, I helped him with his blog, and he ended up offering to work with my son (though a local Doc has to prescribe). Parker’s belief is looking at the whole person, the “core” of the psychology, vs. just treating or focusing on one area like the cerebellum (which is the area of the brain positively affected by Learning Breakthrough or Dore).
Here was the big “Aha!” for us: Parker recommended that my son take a genetic test for gluten intolerance and we discovered that he’s genetically gluten and casein intolerant (the former is the wheat protein and the latter the one in dairy products). We modified his diet, got him off his current ADHD medication and switched to Vyvanse, and the results were immediate and impressive.
His grades are mostly A’s & B’s, he’s much happier and seemingly more socially adjusted, and a delight to be around vs. the struggles with this exceptionally bright kid that couldn’t focus.
Nailing down the specific turning point is tough since we modified his diet, my son had a growth spurt, and he ended up on Vyvanse. While it would be nice to know precisely or to find a complete, holistic solution instead of yet-another-med or diet modification, it’s hard to argue with the results!
By the way, this gluten intolerance is fascinating and is something worth considering if you or your child is gifted with ADHD. Celiac disease, an intestinal malady which is the worst-case scenario of gluten intolerance, mostly affects people of European (especially Northern European) descent, but studies show that it also affects Hispanic, Black and Asian populations as well. Though we went through withdrawal from those two proteins (e.g., fatigue for two weeks) both my wife and I feel much better being off gluten and dairy.
Update July 14, 2012: Two days ago I received this note from Louis Weissman, president of Learning Breakthrough:
Hello Steve. I hope all is well with you and your family. I have a request and appreciate your consideration. You may remember me. I’m Louis Weissman with Learning Breakthrough Program. Since your use of the program a great many things have occurred. Most notably, that thousands of people have made quality of life improvements from fully utilizing the program. Many have reported eliminating Dyslexia and ADHD and other learning difficulties, as well as life changing benefits to stroke victims. The therapy, which must be used every day for 9 to 12 months, works, but as you point out in your final post, not if the program is uncompleted or not used as directed.
I am asking that you consider removing your post because it provides too many people negative connotations, that, not intentionally on your part, puts doubt as to whether the therapy is for real. If you make a search, you will find no other negative comments on the web! I have dedicated my remaining years, since retirement, to helping people learn and perform better. In my 10 years of working with Learning Breakthrough, I have never, not even once, had anyone report they did not receive significant quality of life improvements from using the program correctly for 6 to 12 months, not one single report!
I am happy to discuss this with you by phone if you wish and ask for your serious consideration to remove your post.
My Reply: I informed Mr. Weissman in my email reply to him that, “Rule #1 in blogging is posts remain up. They are cached anyway by Google and are oftentimes contained within Archive.org’s Wayback Machine (http://archive.org/web/web.
Giving Mr. Weissman a couple of options on how to amend & update this post, he opted to have me refer you to his comment below from November of 2008…so I am. Please see his comment for Mr. Weissman’s rebuttal to my post.