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Brain Integration Therapy Manual by Dianne Craft - anyone used it?

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#1 klmama

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Posted 10 September 2008 - 10:28 PM

I'm considering this, but I'd like to know what someone thought who actually used it. This would be for a child who hates doing written work and fits all of the descriptions on Dianne Craft's site for someone with a visual motor processing problem affecting writing. The book's description makes me think it's a lot like Brain Gym, which I already own. Any reason to buy this one, too, or would it be better to just do more Brain Gym exercises? If it's mostly the figure 8 exercise with the paper on the desk, how is it different than Brain Gym figure 8s? What differences do you see? Thanks for any input you can give!

#2 katalaska

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 01:45 AM

Check your messages! :001_smile:

#3 MicheleB

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 12:01 PM

I was also wondering about that program. Maybe katalaska can PM me, too. :D

#4 Laurie4b

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 06:20 PM

Me three---or just post the answer??

#5 LizzyBee

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 06:46 PM

I'd like to know, too.

#6 katalaska

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Posted 11 September 2008 - 07:58 PM

I first learned about Brain Integration Therapy several years ago. With a struggling dd and a background/teaching certificate in special education, I decided to take some classes in BIT for my recertification and to help my dd.

As part of the class I took (long-distance) from Dianne Craft, I used her BIT manual and did all of the repatternings and exercises with my dd. I found the manual difficult to use on its own, however, so before I started doing anything with dd, I took some classes that were offered locally by someone who had been trained by Dianne. I just visited Dianne's website yesterday and noticed that she has a new DVD http://stores.dianne...Detail.bok?no=5 which might help "decipher" the manual if you struggle with it like I did.

Here is the paper I wrote for the class I took from Dianne:

~*~*~*~*~

My subject for Brain Integration Therapy for the Struggling Student was my six-year-old daughter, whom I homeschool. Although bright, she has struggled with learning in all areas of her life, from social and emotional skills to academic skills. Learning to read was a struggle because her eyes were not working together and prescription eyeglasses had not helped. She could not differentiate left and right and confused the letters b, d, p, and q (as well as the numbers 6, 9, and anything with two digits) which caused problems in learning to read and write. I observed that she formed her letters and numbers from the bottom up, intermingled uppercase and lowercase letters, and often "drew" her letters and numbers backward. I was deeply concerned that in addition to the social and emotional difficulties my daughter was experiencing that before long she would be having overwhelming academic difficulties as well.

We began the Writing Eight exercise using an eleven-by-seventeen inch paper copy of the writing eight turned sideways and taped to the desktop. When we first started, my daughter was unable to complete the entire alphabet due to fatigue. She also required hand-over-hand assistance to complete the exercise fluidly and correctly. The first few weeks we did the exercise, my daughter kept leaning to the left so the middle of the paper no longer lined up with her midline; I had to keep propping her back up. I interpreted this as an indication that she really needed to do this exercise. We faithfully did Writing Eights as part of our routine in the morning before starting our regular school subjects. Her writing eight papers show evidence of her progress. The first ones (after I stopped using hand-over-hand) would be considered "wild" with the right side smaller and less round than the left side. The last ones show smooth and controlled movements and near-evenness of the circles on each side. As a result of daily Writing Eights for six months, I noticed my daughter's handwriting become much more automatic and the reversals in both reading and writing all but disappear. (I did leave the "Writing Eight Alphabet" taped to the wall in front of her desk for her to refer to anytime she was unsure).

Because my daughter seemed to have needs in every area of Brain Integration, I did repatternings with her in all three areas as found in the Brain Integration Therapy Manual: visual, writing, and auditory.

The first kind of repatterning we did was for visual processing. I knew my daughter had a difficult time with visual tracking (which I felt was partially responsible for her struggles in learning to read) and her eyes originally seemed to move more smoothly from center to right (they jumped when moving center to left and when crossing midline). During the Eye Eight exercise she looked quite groggy, yawned a lot, and later told me she had felt like she was going to throw up. Again, as with the Writing Eight exercise where she had difficulty, I took the grogginess, fatigue, and feelings of nausea as an indication that she really needed this repatterning and associated exercises. The Fencer exercise did not seem to cause her any trouble (except in deciding how to copy my example; not knowing left from right and having to decide if she was my mirror image or my opposite caused some hesitation). After visual processing repatterning and its associated exercises, I noted smooth tracking from each side, across the midline, and to the other side and less line-skipping during oral reading.

The second kind of repatterning we did was for writing. As noted above, my daughter had difficulty with handwriting, especially with reversals. She had a tendency to form her letters incorrectly from the bottom up and by using clockwise curves where counter-clockwise circles were needed. She also intermingled uppercase and lowercase letters (possibly, I think, to avoid the difficulties with reversals; it is easier, for example, to "draw" [which is the word she used for making letters] an A than it is to "draw" an a if a person is struggling with remembering on which side to make the "stem" of a letter). My daughter's first writing samples of, "My name is ______. I like to write" show the large letters with uneven height and use of uppercase and lowercase letters that were typical in her written work prior to repatterning for writing. After repatterning for writing, as the later samples show, her letter height became smaller and more consistent, the reversed letter "s" was corrected, and the improper use of uppercase letters decreased. What is not evident from the writing samples is that her letter formation was corrected so that she produced the letters with proper directionality (from the top down and using counter-clockwise circles) and that her handwriting became more fluid and automatic.

The third kind of repatterning we did was for auditory processing. My daughter had difficulty remembering and following directions, repeating what she was told, recalling events in order, and many other skills that require auditory processing. We worked on sounding out words, repeating instructions, and repeating short lists for the activities during the auditory processing repatterning. The Ear Eight exercises did not seem to cause the same degree of grogginess, fatigue, and feelings of nausea that the Eye Eights did although I did notice mild symptoms. The Toe Touch exercise was very difficult for my daughter; she tends to have tight muscles and to lack flexibility. She wobbled and struggled to remain upright during Toe Touches and even just standing with her ankles crossed was difficult for her. After repatterning for auditory processing, my daughter was able to remember and follow directions more easily and learning to read, with which she had struggled for so long (she was stuck for months at the consonant-vowel-consonant level), was finally possible for her.

In addition to these positive changes that Brain Integration Therapy repatternings and exercises brought about, I noticed several other changes in my daughter's overall behavior and academic performance. First, her attention to learning activities improved. Second, although she was still "active" (and possibly a tactile-kinesthetic and/or right-brain learner—I'm still trying to sort out which are attention issues, which are sensory issues, and which are learning style issues) she was much more controlled during activities (whether school, dinner, or church). Third, her auditory memory improved and she could more easily repeat what she had been told, follow storylines, draw conclusions, attribute motivation to characters, and remember details from day to day. Fourth, she ultimately finished the phonics program I use to teach my children to read (after many false starts and delays) and is a fairly strong reader now. While her spelling is still weak I expect it to improve over time as she receives instruction and spends more time reading. Fifth, after four summers of requiring an aide in swimming lessons (to help teach her to swim but mostly to keep her on task, paying attention, and responding to instructions in a group setting), she no longer needs an aide. Socially, emotionally, and academically, brain integration therapy has had a major positive impact in my daughter's life.

~*~*~*~*~

Now, it has been two years since I wrote this paper and my dd is struggling again. While I believe the BIT did help her, I also think that she needs more and that it is possible that her brain is now actually more "receptive" to more traditional therapeutic interventions than it would have been previously.

In addition to the BIT we did in-home vision therapy as prescribed by our pediatric ophthalmologist. This was a computer program that dd did with my supervision. The data collected from the program as she used it show that it helped. Subjectively, I can say that it didn't hurt but I didn't see any huge changes from it.

At this time, I am pursuing other therapies with dd. She is in speech therapy for her language disorder and occupational therapy for her sensory integration problems and associated feeding issues.

At home, I am going to use "Reading Pathways" (which just arrived last week) to hopefully help her improve her reading fluency. I may need to look into a different spelling program than what I currently use with my other dc. Before I go there, however, I plan to take Dianne's class on teaching the right-brain child because I believe some of the strategies she uses could be helpful for my dd. I noticed yesterday she now has a DVD http://stores.dianne...etail.bok?no=53 on that topic, too. (So now both of her DVDs are on my Christmas list!!)

Just to be clear, I am not a friend of Dianne's, I don't work for her, etc. etc. etc. I have just used her products/strategies/programs and found them useful for my dc (I did the BIT with my dd with "issues" and my "neurotypical" dd and am considering doing them with my ds this year now that he's older).

#7 Laurie4b

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Posted 12 September 2008 - 06:55 PM

How old is your dd now? Curious about whether some of the other issues emerged around puberty.

#8 katalaska

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 01:52 AM

I did BIT with my two dds; the oldest one is now 11.5 and didn't really need it much. The younger one is now 8.5. She really needed it and it really did make a difference.

Are you the one who sometimes mentions the peeling an onion analogy? I feel like that's how it is with my dd... We see this onion, and we think there's something not quite right. So, we peel of the outer layer and sure enough, there's something lurking underneath. So we clean away the lurking something and think the onion is all right again. After a time (short or long, it varies), it seems something is again not quite right about our onion. So we peel back another layer and sure enough, there's something ELSE lurking underneath. We use a different tool or strategy to clean this new something away and the onion looks fine and good again.

The scenario keeps repeating itself, with the onion seeming fine for a while and then we decide something seems a little off, so we go looking and sure enough, we find something new hiding in there.

So far, we've gone from wild child to difficult child. Suggestions of ADD/ADHD were made. Next we went from possible high-functioning autism/pervasive developmental disorder/Asperger's Syndrome to anxiety and depression (in a 5-year-old). Visual problems appeared and were apparently corrected. Social difficulties persist. Language problems become more apparent. Auditory processing difficulties are suspected. Newly diagnosed with language disorder (not delay--not normal development of language at a slower pace but abnormal development and use of language) and sensory processing disorder/sensory integration dysfunction (don't have that label quite yet as the evaluation was just this week).

It just goes on and on... Every time I feel like we've found and fixed the problem we discover three new ones! On the other hand, my dd has made tremendous progress and worked very hard thus far to overcome so many challenges and difficulties.

We're just now learning that ds's problems go deeper than neuro-motor...we don't have the full report yet as he also was just evaluated this week. What started out as a visit to assess his fine motor skills as they relate to handwriting has ballooned into another type of sensory integration problems in addition to the known low muscle tone and intentional tremor and speech disorder (used to be classified as a delay, now diagnosed as disorder).

I think I answered your question in my first paragraph and then got carried away. It's late and I'm still processing all we've learned about my dc and their problems this week! I think I'm on overload. :001_unsure:

#9 NCW

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 09:20 AM

I have not used Dianne Craft's manual, but I did borrow a friend's copy and look it over. In the beginning of the manual Craft mentions Dennison, creator of Brain Gym, as one of her sources. It appeared to me she takes some of the Brain Gym exercises and puts them into recommendations for a daily program with explanations for parents/teachers that are perhaps a little more self-explanatory than the Brain Gym teacher manual. I found Craft's explanations of R/L dominance issues more confusing than helpful. Carla Hannaford is also a Brain Gym expert and has a wonderfully clear little book out called The Dominance Factor.

There is more to Brain Gym than what Craft appears to offer (at least in the manual I looked at - only one book and no videos, etc.). However, I think that Craft is user-friendly and a good place for a parent to start.

The good news is, none of it can hurt - it can only help.

I'm heading off for a 3-day BrainGym 101 course in two weeks, and would be able to answer related questions better after that time.

NCW

#10 siloam

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 11:46 AM

Did you follow the dietary/supplement recommendations?

First of all let me thank you for posting, because most of the conversations I have seen revolve around the use of supplements, and that is just NOT something I am interested in. I suppose because if there was a miracle cure in what we eat then it would be common knowledge and dispensed by doctors, KWIM? I am just not comfortable going outside of the norm with home remedies, because I think they can also be dangerous.

Thus it was great to see a post about the physical exercises it includes. Nor did I realize that the being tired/yawning during exercises meant something. (We have done VT.)

One last question. :D What is the premise of this reprogramming? I mean I believe that my children struggle partly because they are all right brained learners. I am looking for material that...meets their right brained needs and not that just teaches them to use the left part of their brain for those issues.

I probably just need to buy the book and read it myself, but if you have the time to respond and give me a general idea I would appreciate it.

Heather


#11 katalaska

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Posted 13 September 2008 - 01:36 PM

I listened to the Biology of Behavior tapes and while there may be something to it, we haven't "gone there." There is one doctor locally who does lots of dietary interventions and supplementations similar to those Dianne recommends and it *might* be something we do someday. Dh is presently researching it...

The premise of the reprogramming, as I understand it, is that in order for the brain to work efficiently, both sides (left side and right side) need to be communicating with each other well. This is why so many of the exercises involve crossing the body's midline. The fact that my dd's eyes "jumped" when tracking from one side to the other was an indication that she was having trouble crossing the midline and the two sides of the brain were not communicating effectively. After doing the weekly repatternings and the daily exercises (which helped to strengthen the connections between hemispheres) for a period of time (about a month) my dd's eyes no longer "jumped" when tracking.

Just like reading is a crossing midline activity, so is handwriting. Both require the eyes and, in the case of handwriting, the hands, to cross the body's midline. This is where the writing eights were very helpful to my dd. She seemed to be "avoiding" (unconsciously) crossing her midline by slumping to the side. The writing eights is something that needs to be done for six months to a year just as a daily exercise. It helped her tremendously.

Auditory processing requires the two halves of the brain to communicate, also, but it is not a process that can be readily observed. One side takes in the information and other makes a picture of it or translates it in some other way so it can be recalled.

By the way, I strongly suspect that my dd is also a right-brain learner (as well as a tactile-kinesthetic learner) and I plan to take Dianne's course on Teaching the Right Brain Student as an independent study course. I just looked at the course description again and I will need to purchase her DVD http://stores.dianne...etail.bok?no=53 as part of the course. I think the techniques and strategies she teaches will help me tremendously in teaching my dd, especially in areas of spelling and memorizing math facts.

#12 DeaconsGarden

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 10:28 AM

I have several children with auditory processing disorder (including myself) and am researching Dianne Craft's materials. I see that this thread is from 2008. Could you give us an update?

Blessings,
Christine

#13 MyLittleBears

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 05:04 PM

We are about 2 month into the BIT manual. I do see some improvement but will have to update in about 6mos. I can say that my little guy (6yr old) had a wobbly left eye when we began the therapy and I can see how much less it wobles now.

We also did the Biology of Behavior recommendations. My oldest is completely cured from what we believe to be lactose intolerance. He used to get cramping, gas, diarhea, etc whenever he had dairy and had to take lataid pills when would occationally have pizza. He no longer has this problem. I also see a notible difference in how wiggly my little guy is. I never had it diagnosed but I suspected that if he went to school, he would have been labeled Adhd. His planter's wart is alsocompletely gone. My middle son definately had a yeast overgrowth problem that seems to be resolved. He does not whine anymore and does not complain about tags rubbing him and is not constantly craving carbs. He is more "in control" of his emotions. So glad we did it. We will still continue to take fish oil and the pcynogenol for the recommended year but most likely stay on it longer.

Edited by MyLittleBears, 28 June 2012 - 07:12 PM.


#14 MathNut

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 07:37 AM

I used this with a child who has dyslexia and dysgraphia.

I did not see improvement for my son.

It's inexpensive, as therapies go.....

#15 MyLittleBears

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 09:36 PM

Take a peak at my recent, "just need to celebrate" thread!:D



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