Sunday, May 15, 2016

Even an Old Brain Can Change

If you have SPD, it’s easy to get discouraged. After all, there’s no pill you can take to make it go away.
Nevertheless by following sensorimotor interventions and mind-body techniques, like meditation and visualization, symptoms can be greatly reduced and in some cases eliminated so that your life no longer seems one of never ending left curves.
This will happen from neuroplasticity, meaning the brain’s ability to rewire itself.  And though neuroplasticity happens in leaps and bounds in the young developing brain, it amazingly continues throughout life. 
I suffered visual spatial processing problems my whole life, as well as slow auditory processing. As I was bright, I compensated well enough and problems were never picked up. Nevertheless, I felt dumb and my family thought I was dumb. 
In my youth, I took years of dancing, mostly jazz. In class, you learn a dance routine taught in sequential small sequences. By the end of the class, the students are joyfully dancing away, the steps learned and automatic.
My brain did not translate what the teacher’s feet were doing into my feet and I had great difficulty learning even a small sequence. By the end of the class, I was still struggling to figure it out and each step took effort. Needless to say, I never made it to Broadway.
At age 60, I became an avid painter and painted virtually daily for hours. Lacking formal training, I painted mostly from my imagination. This meant that it often took months to finally get a face to look like a face, as I continually reworked the shape, mouth, nose and eyes.
Six years after I started painting, I began Zumba classes. Amazingly, I picked up the steps immediately as the teacher demonstrated and danced away! No lag. No effort.
All the hours spent figuring out space on a small canvas had grown loads of brain highways that rewired the visual cortex in my brain and greatly improved my visual spatial processing. 
The idea that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks proves false.
Granted, neuroplasticity doesn’t happen overnight. You must persist, persist and persist. And you must make sensory interventions and mind-body techniques your lifestyle … for the rest of your life. 
But things can get better.  The brain can change!

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