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education" teacher and author Thomas Armstrong puts it succinctly:
"Culture defines who's 'disabled' . . . a child labelled dyslexic, hyperactive or
learning-disabled in our society might excel in another culture."5
Keller's plight was being blind, deaf and mute. She had
to learn within that limited context. Had she taken an I.Q. test, with its linguistic
base, her rating would have been extremely low, if she had scored at all. Without
Sullivan, she may have been placed in an institution for the retarded, instead of
developing as a highly gifted person.
The support of a caring and able teacher is equally
essential. Sullivan never gave up on Helen, even though the girl had wild temper tantrums.
Helen Keller also had the freedom of choice. At ten she
chose to want to learn to talk. There was no rush. She did it in her own time and context.
Again the message is obvious: too many people in traditional education are put in
no-choice situations in both conscious and subconscious ways.
Anne Sullivan discovered the brain-body and mind-body
connection because she, too, had experienced difficulties in learning. Fortunately, there
is now a wealth of other research to back up those discoveries.
Some of the most interesting research and practical
applications have come from the field of specialized kinesiology. Just as kinesthetics,
or movement, is an important aspect of many learning styles, so is kinesiology
the science of motion, and kinesthesia, the sensation of position, movement and
tension of parts of the body.
Kinesiology has become well known in some countries
because of the way it has helped peak performance in sports. Brigitte Haas Allroggen, of
the Munich Institute of Kinesiology, talks about the effectiveness of the science with
Olympic teams: "All of a sudden things exploded. We began working with top Austrian
athletes who later won Olympic medals and worldwide competitions. Then the Norwegian
Olympic team came to us, and the Italians too. All had remarkable results."6
Similar techniques are now helping in education, and
not just for people with learning difficulties. Says kinesiologist Kathleen Carroll, of
Washington D.C., who links her training with accelerated integrative learning strategies:
"Kinesiology improves academics for anyone."7
This is, in part, because of the way the brain
transmits messages both electrically and chemically, and the way in which
stress causes blockages.
Contents Page Preface