Home' The River Weekly News : RWN 091115 Contents 21
THE RIVER - SEPTEMBER 11, 2015
by Shelley M.
I am hav-
ing a difficult time
after the summer
break to get my
7- and 9-year-old
children to focus
and pay attention
to their homework.
What can I do to help them?
Kerri H., Sanibel
Going back to school after a long sum-
mer, with fewer requirements or the need
to focus and pay attention, is difficult. All
of us need to learn how to focus when
we learn new material or study something
Dr. Lori Desaultels, assistant professor
in the School of Education at Marian Uni-
versity, recommends that we teach chil-
dren to use “brain breaks” and focused
attention practices for learning. She says
that these techniques “refocus our neural
circuitry with either stimulating or quieting
practices that generate increased activity
in the prefrontal cortex, where problem
solving and emotional regulation occur.
Dr. Desaultels describes a brain break
as a short period of time when we
change up the dull routine of incoming
information that arrives via predictable,
tedious, well-worn roadways. Our brains
are wired for novelty because we pay
attention to any and every stimulus in our
environment that feels threatening or out
of the ordinary.
When we take a brain break, it re-
freshes our thinking and helps us discover
another solution to a problem or see a
situation through a different lens. Below
are some ideas that will provide a brain
break and invigorate your children’s think-
• Pick any object out of your kitchen
junk drawer and ask your children to
come up with two ways to use this object
other than for it’s normal uses. They can
write or draw their responses and then
share their ideas.
• Movement is critical to learning.
Have your children stand and blink with
the right eye while snapping the fingers
of their left hand. Repeat this with the left
eye and right hand. This sounds simple,
but it isn’t.
• Taking turns, ask your children to
draw a picture in the air while their sibling
guesses what it is. You could give them
categories such as foods, places, or other
ways to narrow the guessing.
• This is one of my favorite techniques
and can be done anywhere. Have one of
your children begin to tell a story for one
minute. Make sure someone is timing the
speaker. Then have the next person add
on for one minute and then the have the
last person complete the story with a silly
ending. Kids love this activity.
Dr. Desaultels also says that brain
breaks need to be paired with focused
attentions practices for maximum learn-
ing. She describes this practice as brain
exercise for quieting the thousands of
thoughts that distract and frustrate us
each day. Research repeatedly shows that
quieting our minds awakens our parasym-
pathetic nervous system, reducing heart
rate and blood pressure while enhancing
our coping strategies to effectively handle
the frustrations. Our thinking improves
and our emotions begin to regulate so
that we can approach an experience
Below are some of her suggestions.
For the following practices, the goal is to
start with 60 to 90 seconds and build to
one to five minutes:
• Visualize colors while focusing on the
breath. Inhale a deep green, and exhale
a smoky gray. Have the children imagine
the colors as swirling and alive with each
inhale. If your child is de-escalating from
an angry moment, the color red is a great
color to exhale.
• For younger children, direct them to
stand and, as they inhale, lift an arm or
leg and wiggle it, exhaling it back to its
original position. For younger grades be-
ginning these focused-attention practices,
it’s good to include an inhale and exhale
with any type of movement.
• Direct the children to inhale for
four counts, hold for four, and exhale
slowly for four counts. You can increase
the holding of breath by a few seconds
once the children find the rhythm of the
These exercises may seem a bit un-
usual initially but my experiences say they
will bring you the desired results of better
focus and attention for your children.
Shelley Greggs is adjunct faculty
at Florida SouthWestern State Col-
lege, where she teaches psychology
and education courses. She is also a
nationally certified school psychologist
and consultant for School Consultation
Services, a private educational consult-
ing company. Questions for publication
may be addressed to smgreggs@gmail.
com. Not all questions submitted can be
addressed through this publication.
Honored At CMU
Jamie Gisburne, a communication
studies major from Fort Myers, was
among several students at Central
Methodist University to receive awards
during the annual Opening Convocation
ceremony held on campus in Fayette,
Missouri on August 27. Gisburne was
awarded the E. E. Rich Award, given to
the female student judged most outstand-
ing in scholarship and leadership.
Doctor and Dietitian
by Ross Hauser, MD
and Marion Hauser, MS, RD
Floridians spend numerous summer
hours enjoying recreational or com-
petitive swimming at our beautiful
beaches and refreshing pools. Swim-
ming is a fantastic sport that combines
strength, flexibility and endurance. The
biomechanics of the strokes used in swim-
ming, however, can unfortunately lead to
shoulder pain. In fact, about 90 percent
of musculoskeletal problems of swimmers
relate to the shoulders.
One of the most common shoulder
injuries among swimmers is Swimmer’s
Shoulder. Increased training intensity,
overuse, incorrect stroke mechanics and
shoulder instability all play a role in the
development of Swimmer’s Shoulder.
Swimmers, by the very nature of their
sport, develop muscle imbalances and
have loose ligaments and tendons in the
shoulder compared to the average per-
son. The close swimming motion of the
arm to the body may also compromise
blood supply to the rotator cuff tendons.
With repetition, the tendon becomes
injured and unable to support the joint
adequately, becoming unstable and al-
lowing for too much movement in the
joint. Combined with overuse and poor
technique, the irritation and impingement
known as Swimmer’s Shoulder develops.
The instability must be corrected or it can
lead to glenoid labrum tears, impinge-
ment syndrome, and eventual surgery.
Treatment can involve land-based
exercise and core strengthening, analysis
of technique and training methods to
alternate and improve stroke styles to
enhance recovery and prevent the issue
from reoccurring, as well as addressing
the ligament and tendon weakness in the
shoulder. The swimmer who has shoulder
pain for more than two months, very
likely has an injured ligament or tendon.
When the pain does not go away,
regenerative treatment such as Prolother-
apy, can be sought to correct the multi-
directional instability. Prolotherapy is an
injection treatment that initiates the repair
cascade in a joint, therefore, strengthen-
ing and stabilizing the joint naturally and
allowing the swimmer to return to the
This information is not intended
to treat, cure or diagnose your condi-
tion. Caring Medical and Rehabilita-
tion Services has two locations: one
in Oak Park, Illinois, and one in Fort
Myers. It was established in 1991 by
Ross Hauser, MD, and Marion Hauser,
MS, RD. They can be reached at info@
NATURAL INJECTION THERAPY
• Back Pain
• Meniscal Tears
• Joint Instability • Sports Injuries
• Labral Tears
Regenerative Medicine Clinics
9738 Commerce Center Ct.
Fort Myers, FL 33908
Make an appointment today!
YOU NEED A TREATMENT AS POWERFUL AND STRONG AS YOU WANT TO BE.
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