Study Proves Movement Key to Overcoming Learning Disabilities

Preliminary results of a controlled eight-month-long study prove that a new-to-the-US brain therapy, Rhythmic Movement Training, builds dramatic improvements in learning skills. Consultants from Brain Fitness Strategies LLC in Tulsa, Oklahoma worked with fifth-grade students with learning disabilities in a public school 40-minutes a week and improved their reading speed by 46% using only physical movements.

Tulsa, OK, June 24, 2010 --( Some lucky fifth graders had their dreams come true when they got to play in school—and their grades went up as a result. Brain Fitness Strategies ran a controlled study on the benefits of Swedish brain therapy Rhythmic Movement Training by having students play in class rather than read. The results were impressive: students gained an average of 31 words per minute in their reading speed, while the control group gained only 12 words per minute. With a vision of adding this program to all public schools, sponsors are being sought to fund a larger study.

Since 90% of sixth graders who fail English will drop out of school, the new therapy could be the answer to a lot of parents’ prayers—and school administrators. Not bad results from a brain-damaged juggler and an engineer.

At the first of this year, Paul Phariss and his wife, Susan, earned their certification in a brain therapy called Rhythmic Movement Training. Prior to becoming a consultant, Paul Phariss had to overcome a great deal of brain damage himself. A swimming accident at age six left him with severe brain damage and unable to read until age 30. Paul made his living as a professional juggler, winning the coveted gold medal at the world juggling championships. “It wasn’t until I did the training for RMT that I completely overcame my dyslexia at age 54.”

His wife, Susan, began her career as a mechanical engineer. “The money was great, but it didn’t satisfy my need to help people.” After marrying “a brain-damaged juggler” and hearing his stories of discrimination and being called “stupid and lazy” as a child, she felt a burning desire to help children overcome their learning challenges and co-authored their book.

“Anyone walking by the classroom would think it was total mayhem,” smiled Susan. “Kids are spinning plates, picking up marbles with their toes, bouncing balls off their backs, and balancing on teeter boards during our sessions. Students are evaluated then prescribed specific play designed to fill in developmental gaps that cause learning disabilities.”

RMT has been used successfully in Europe for over 25 years, but it was only introduced into the US four years ago. “Rhythmic Movement Training uses the software we were all born with and effectively reboots the brain,” explains the founder of Brain Fitness Strategies, Susan Phariss. “While researching movement-based brain therapies for our book, Have a Ball Learning: How Juggling Helps Kids Overcome Their Learning Disabilities, we ran across RMT and became clients ourselves. Since doing the therapy, everything in our lives has gotten easier. The better your brain works, the better every aspect of your life becomes.”

Brain Fitness Strategies LLC
Susan Phariss, Brain Fitness Coach
918 629-2689