When parents, teachers or counselors become concerned about a child’s reading problems, school performance, attention difficulties, or learning challenges, they may overlook his or her core organization. Does the child have inner resources and psycho/physical readiness for learning? Do they have the skills needed to be relaxed in their body and aware of themselves and others?
It is unrealistic to expect children to excel when they lack adequate development in these critical areas that influence all learning and interaction.
Individuals with learning difficulties and Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) often struggle with organizational difficulties, task completion, and maintaining focus. These issues create more anxiety and stress, and further undermine processing abilities. This, in turn, reduces the chances for success both at home and in school. Long-term studies have also observed greater incidence of depression, drug usage, lower educational achievement and greater difficulty maintaining relationships and jobs among ADHD individuals.
There is general awareness and research documentation that a more relaxed state improves performance, feelings of well-being, and our physical health. Often however, this relaxed state seems an elusive goal in our fast-paced multi-tasking world. How can our children learn this desired state when it seems so alien to our society? Many times, when caring parents and teachers encourage children to relax and focus, they are asking their children to do something the children have little or no awareness of. These skills, feelings and types of self-care are seldom modeled or taught.
My goals are to assist children (and adult clients) in truly feeling a deeply relaxed, focused state; discovering a new reference point that resets their baseline to a healthier emotional and physical state; and learning the needed skills to return to that healthier state when it slips away.
There are many aspects and approaches to core organization and relaxation (also noted in my article Getting in Synch). Here I will discuss HeartMath, which has been a pioneer in user-friendly, heart-centered technology to assist diverse populations in discovering the connection between feelings, physiology, well-being, and learning.
Through the use of heart-rate variability biofeedback, and a focus on the heart, breath, and positive feelings, individuals can discover a state of coherence.
Coherence is a state of synchronization between the heart, brain, and autonomic system, which has been proven to have numerous mental, emotional, and physical benefits. Being in a state of coherence can enhance both deeper relaxation and the ability to organize and focus for active learning and peak performance
Studies among children with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and ADHD have demonstrated significant improvements in memory, self-regulation, and self-esteem through the use of HeartMath. One study that observed cardiac arrhythmia among most of the 396 ADD/ADHD children entering the HeartMath-based program found the heart condition successfully addressed by the intervention. The study also noted significant reductions in medication.
Although HeartMath is highlighted in this description of my work, over the last 20 years I have learned to blend numerous non-computer and computer approaches to address core organization, focus, relaxation, and well-being. My goal is to have individuals experience new levels of inner peace and outer success, and to provide concrete experiences that support a re-defining of what is possible and a stronger foundation for individuals to attain their dreams.
HearthMath studies with diverse populations: www.heartmath.org/research/research-publications
HeartMath study on ADD/ADHD and Arrhythmia: www.heartmath.org/research/rp-garden-of-the-heart-heartmath-the-new-biotechnology-for-treating-children-with-add/adhd.html