Neuroplasticity – it’s the single most important change in our understanding of the human brain in 400 years. Dr Norman Doidge has garnered rave reviews for making this concept accessible and understandable to people from all walks of life in his best-seller The Brain That Changes Itself.
Stories about miracle learning transformations using the latest developments in neuroscience
“It used to be thought that the brain was like a mechanism, and if one part broke, then that bit simply wouldn’t work anymore,“ Dr Doidge said.
“Scientists considered the brain to be ‘hardwired’, or fixed.
“Now they’re beginning to understand that the brain isn’t like that at all; that the brain can change its structure and the way it works. It’s actually more like a plant than a machine.
“The science of neuroplasticity explores the concept that the brain is ‘plastic’ in the sense that it is adaptable, malleable.
“I define neuroplasticity as that property of the brain that allows it to change its structure and its function.
“It changes in response to the actions that we commit ourselves to; in response to sensing and perceiving the world; and even, quite fantastically, to thinking and imagining.” Dr Doidge said.
Neuroplasticity not only gives hope to those with learning difficulties but expands our understanding of the healthy brain and the resilience of human nature.
Chapter 3: “Redesigning the Brain” – how Fast ForWord facilitates neuroplasticity
“The usual treatments for learning disabilities were always ‘compensations’: there is a weak area such as weak auditory discrimination, so you go to class with someone to take notes for you, or you take a tape recorder,” Dr Doidge explained.
“Because it’s a ‘use it or lose it’ brain, that approach is not without its difficulties, because if you have any capacity for auditory discrimination and you are not concentrating and keeping that muscle alive, it (the brain’s capacity for that task) will waste away.
“There are so many kids out there with learning disabilities that are really just little ‘traffic jams’ in the brain, and I know there are some kids out there who say they don’t want to learn but that is usually just a defence mechanism. If you have a brain, you want to learn because that’s what the brain evolved to do.”
In chapter 3, Dr Doidge discusses the Fast ForWord program in detail, explaining how the program exercises the brain to facilitate neuroplasticity, enabling learners of all ages and levels of ability to function at a higher level.
Dr Norman Doidge details a number of case studies, treatments and anecdotes that are living proof that brain plasticity is finally being accessed to help struggling learners and readers of all ages, worldwide. Learn of a woman born with half a brain that rewired itself to work as a whole, a woman labelled “retarded” who cured her deficits with brain exercises and now cures those of others, blind people learning to see, learning disorders cured, IQs raised, aging brains rejuvenated, painful phantom limbs erased, stroke patients recovering their faculties, children with cerebral palsy learning to move more gracefully, entrenched depression and anxiety disappearing, and lifelong character traits altered. The Brain That Changes Itself is an enthralling must-read which can be found at all leading bookshops.
“Now that we are beginning to understand how these structures (in the brain) change, brain plasticity has implications for medicine, psychiatry, psychology, human nature, love, sexual attraction, acculturation, acquired tastes, our understanding of why addictions happen, business, politics – anything to do with human training or education has to be re-examined in light of neuroplasticity.”
Dr Norman Doidge, MD.
Interested in learning more about the Fast ForWord program? Have a question about learning, neuroscience and/or education? Contact the team of health and education professionals at Sonic Learning.