Rewiring a child’s brain

In Hacking My Kid’s Brain in Wired, Mark Woodman explains how neurological therapy rewired the brain of his seven-year-old son, who has sensory processing disorder.

Caleb doesn’t experience senses the way other people do. Stimuli from his environment and body are sometimes misinterpreted or ignored altogether. In addition to the obvious physical difficulties manifested with this neurological disorder, it also diminishes the ability to learn, think and even socialize. Behaviors we take for granted, like eye contact and maintaining a polite distance, are often huge challenges for people with SPD.

The month-long Sensory Learning Program in Boulder, Colorado, was designed to recalibrate Caleb’s reception of sensory input, reorganizing the neural pathways that process information. . . Caleb’s visual and auditory perception is now within normal ranges and his visual-motor skills have significantly improved. The only area where Caleb still shows appreciable deficits is in proprioceptive awareness — the sense of one’s own body — so we have turned to occupational therapy to help in this regard.


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  1. That’s great.

    Too bad they can’t get this published in a peer reviewed medical journal to prove that this really works. Right now the medical community considers Sensory Integration Disorder to be quackery.

    But there your go, proof that the brain is “re-wired.” and all done by an optometrist with a B.A from Bowling State University.

  2. Myrtle,

    I don’t agree that the medical community considers SPD to be “quackery.”

    Caleb was diagnosed within the medical community by his MD pediatrician. It is being formally addressed by a medical occupational therapist with specific training in SPD. He gets assistance from the school psychologist and a team of school district professionals who are equipped with IEP measures to help Caleb in the classroom.

    I do agree that the Sensory Learning Program is woefully under-studied, however. The only reason I agreed to take Caleb through the program was because the visual aspect has been extensively studied, and the audio aspect has also gone through considerable research. The combination of the two with a motion table has anecdotal reports only. If the individual parts are scientifically proven, the combination is probably on reasonably scientific grounds. That was my thinking, anyway.


    Caleb’s dad.