Phil:    Yeah. That, that's a deep subject. There are a lot of different martial arts out there and, and, I don't see all of them as having the same benefits as, as that. So, it's that the very unfortunate thing is martial arts has become a sport in the United States and it's not a sport, it's a discipline and that changes just everything in the way it's taught. So anyway, so tell me about mind, body in general and how that plays a role in focus and learning.

Merriam:    Well, you know, back to your point about balancing, you know, whether, strengthening a person's ability to balance is what ultimately overcomes their learning issue or not.

Phil:    I think it's one component. I wasn't trying to claim that it was everything,

Merriam:    yeah, no, no, I mean it, I am saying it could, we just don't, you know, I don't really know. But when I do know is that the type of training, that type of, you know, whether it's a martial art or Yoga, Or, horseback riding, those, allow these children an opportunity to really feel their body in space when they might not otherwise even be thinking about it. oh, a lot of these children do have visual spatial processing issues and yes, a lot of difficulty controlling their bodies. You know, my, my oldest daughter would sometimes fall down from simple standing position just out of nowhere. You know, we wonder how on earth you would do that. and, and so it rings on mindfulness to sense it sensations in their own body and an awareness of like, oh, well when my tummy starts to feel this way, that that means I'm about to get really nervous. Or when my neck feels this way, it means I'm, I'm probably going to get mad. and well, it's so difficult for young children in particular to control their impulses. having that greater sense of the body anyway, at least starts to move them in that direction.

Phil:    Yeah. We've seen a lot of progress with, with proprioception, and you know, my wife and I have taught martial arts for 20 years and not just a normal Martial arts school, one that was completely full of kids with autism and Adhd and, and everything that we could actually look at a person's body motion, the way they move the body when they learned. And I mean, we weren't diagnosing, but we were dead on when we said, hey, this one's got this and this one's got that. and I think I mentioned in an email to you that yesterday we attended a UC Berkeley for graduation.

Merriam:    Right? Congrats.

Phil:    Yeah. That young man came to us. He had Asperger's. He was violent. He was antisocial. He would throw chairs at his teachers in school.

Merriam:    That's a common one.

Phil:    Is that? Okay. But he did bring himself into our classes. He did it on his own. He wanted to change. and you know, he had the same thing we saw with all Asperger's that they had no, you know, we tell them to move the right hand and their left foot would move. And there was, and there's this Jerky, just that it's just a jerky motion that they have. And you know, it's, it's really strange that you correlate as, as his motion developed, his aspergers symptoms seem to fade away and this was a kid that was going to be put in a group home and yesterday graduated UC Berkeley.

Merriam:    That's phenomenal!

Phil:    Yeah. So, it's, it's just really amazing to see. It's fulfilling to see.

Phil:    You mentioned that the visual spatial, so the visual spatial happens, in the hippocampus and of course that is where, you know, the logical thinking. It starts and sends it to the PFC too. So there, there, there seems to be some relationship there.

Merriam:    I'm sure there is.


Merriam:    As I mentioned, you know, the first step towards inhibiting a behavior is even being aware that you are about to do it in the first. And that's the biggest challenge is most of the time this behavior occurs before the child even is aware that it's about to occur and then yelled at for something and they don't even remember doing it or why they did it. So I'm talking to the child about, well, what was going on for you? Wait, before you did that, you know, how did you feel in that moment?

Phil:    Okay,

Phil:    I'm sorry. I had those, a lot of those talks with, with this young man through his development because he would claim "Oh, I'm Asperger's, I don't have emotions." And I go, yes you do. Lets find them, you know, and, and so yeah, all of those things. That's, that's fantastic. So it's, but it roots in the, in the mind, body awareness, and then that allows them to find how those emotions feel. Is that what we're talking about?

Merriam:    Right, exactly. So always, you know, not just talking about emotions, but talking about how did, how did the body feel when you had that emotion? One thing I like to suggest for parents that have children that get emotionally dysregulated a lot. Because that's a very big one with ADHD and autism as well, is to create what we call a sensory box. And so it's a box filled with objects that relate to all of the senses. So it might be, you know, something that feels really nice, something that's joyful to look at, something that smells nice, has a nice sound to it if you move it, but that the child picks themselves. So they're helping to create the sensory box. And whenever they experience or really big emotion you, it's something they can go to. Hey, you know, I see that you're really upset right now. Maybe it's time to pull up the sensory box and have a little chill out of time. and so it's an opportunity for the child to learn how to, how to regulate themselves without, just, you know, being told to go to your room for a time out.

Phil:    Right. I see lots of examples of sensory boxes on Pinterest. So if you search for that, you get thousands and thousands of results.


Get the full interview here

As I mentioned, you know, the first step towards inhibiting a behavior is even being aware that you are about to do it in the first

Mind-Body And ADD ADHD

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