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Brain Integration

The brain is an amazing tool. It is said that we use a mere 10% of our brain to process and work through problems and come up with solutions.

For some children and adults this processing is easy, but for others with learning difficulties and disabilities it is a minefield that is very difficult to navigate.

LEAP Brain Integration by Charles Krebs

For the brain to be integrated it requires three things:

• The ability to access specific brain functions and parts i.e. the ability to find the filing cabinet and open the correct drawer and take out the correct files.

• The ability to integrate these brain functions i.e. to be able to select the information required from the files and sort this information into a workable process to solve the problem

• To be able to maintain integration under varying degrees of stress i.e. when files or information are missing, the wind blows all the files everywhere or someone spills milk all over the plan.

Why is Brain Integration so important?

The brain has two separate but complementary ways of processing information: Gestalt (right brain, holistic) and Logic (left brain, logical).

An oversimplified model would be that the Gestalt (Right hemisphere of the brain) is in charge of the whole picture, how it feels what it looks like – colours plus a sense of emotional tone. The Logic (left hemisphere of the brain) is in charge of the fine detail, the action plan, i.e. the who, what, when, where and why that is the nuts and bolts.

New research now tells us that lead functions of an activity connect with one side of the brain, i.e. Gestalt or Logic initially; but then, as we begin to process the problem, information from both brain processes retrieve, analyse and work through the problem. The corpus callosum is like the phone switchboard and co-ordinates the transfer of information from one side of the brain to the other.

While this is moving along in an integrated fashion all is fine, but if the phone lines become blocked or various brain parts has difficulty recalling or retrieving information, the whole process grinds to a halt.

Children become confused, frustrated and angry. At this point brain integration is lost and the best thing is to stop and try again later when everyone is relaxed and less stressed.

Simple Steps to improve Brain Integration by Charles Krebs

1. Drink water when completing any activity requiring thinking or processing. Water hydrates our body and our brain and is essential to not only keep us alive but to assist our brain. Drink at least one to two litres of water a day.

2. Do any activity which involves cross crawling, i.e. using the left and right body parts at the same time, eg. walking, swimming, bike riding, playing at the playground, most sports, dancing…it is an endless list. This develops the link across the corpus callosum between right and left hemispheres.

3. Practise simple relaxation exercises. Get into the alpha state. The alpha state is the hazy feeling you have as you are just going off to sleep or upon waking. The brain can think much easier if you are relaxed. Use CDs, meditation practices, reflective quiet walks. Breathe and relax.

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