Lindamood-Bell program grows brain

August 6, 2011

By LISA RIZZO

In a new study researchers found a San Luis Obispo company, Lindmood-Bell Learning Processes, helped grow gray matter in the brains of children with dyslexia using a reading intervention program.

The independent study, conducted by researchers from the Center for the Study of Learning, Georgetown University Medical Center, and Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center has been released online but is planned for publication next month in the medical journal, NeuroImage.

In the study, eleven children with the learning disability dyslexia received intensive reading and spelling instruction using the Lindamood-Bell Seeing Stars program.

After about eight weeks, where no instruction was administered, brain scans showed increases in gray matter volume in areas of the brain that are known to play a part in learning and visual imagery. In addition, results showed reading behaviors significantly improved.

The San Luis Obispo headquartered company says this is the first time a learning program like Lindamood-Bell’s Seeing Stars, which helped 850 people in 2010 alone, has been linked to growing brain matter and the results were lasting.

“For many years we have noted significant improvement in decoding and reading comprehension when we focus instruction on mental imagery as applied to language and literacy skills,” said Nanci Bell, director of Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes in a statement.

“The results of this MRI study not only validate that our instruction in imagery results in improved reading behaviors, but also results in important and lasting changes in the brain. This is a very important finding in the field of reading research, especially as related to changing the profiles of children who have decoding difficulties.”

Dyslexia is a learning disability which affects as much as 12 percent of school aged children and causes people to have difficulty with word decoding, word recognition and spelling, according to the study. The brain condition can lead to further challenges with reading comprehension and vocabulary growth.

The study was intended to find the neural basis for successful reading intervention to help inform researchers and educators and to potentially develop reading programs and policy to help children who have trouble reading.

Lindamood-Bell says the study was not initiated, designed, or funded by the company in any way.


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18 Comments

  1. greenboy says:

    Many years ago I took my two kids there (it didn’t cost anywhere near $18,000!), but it wasn’t cheap either as they worked intensively for many hours each day. Neither were dyslexic, but both had comprehension difficulties and this kind of instruction was the only thing I found out there that actually TAUGHT someone how to comprehend. The money and time were well worth it as both kids are very independent in their schooling and are good thinkers. This worked for them and it is nice to see a group doing something right.

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  2. Typoqueen says:

    8 years ago we put a child through a 6 week LMB course. 6 weeks = $18,000.

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    • justme says:

      Typo, what were the results? Roger’s were great apparently.

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      • Typoqueen says:

        For us the results weren’t good. I don’t want to get into the details but I do believe that for most kids that it would be good, just not the issue that our child was facing. I would have appreciated it if they would have told us up front that their learning technique wasn’t really geared towards certain learning disabilities because it’s really not for everyone and was a complete waste of money for us.

        That being said, I absolutely believe that it could help kids with dyslexia. They’ve made great improvements over all in understanding dyslexia. For example there’s been a lot of success teaching kids with dyslexia with just the simple technique of using certain colors ie colored pages in a book and that is one of the techniques that LLB uses.

        The teachers don’t really have any special skills but I’m not saying that they’re not good. The teachers are for the most part pretty young, I’d say fresh out of school. The teachers are taught a certain technique for teaching and I feel it’s very good for kids without learning disabilities and kids with dyslexia. Because it’s for the most part one on one it might also help kids that are just a bit slow at picking things up. If I you are pretty wealthy then I would recommend it for your kids, even if they don’t have learning issues. If you’re not wealthy then I would save up and only take your child there if they are dyslectic.

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        • Cindy says:

          How frustrating to think they would charge all that money and not guarantee any results. I suppose that 8 years ago, they were still in the trial phases and while they probably had results with learning disabilities they hadn’t realized that their successes were primarily related to disconnects caused by dyslexia alone. I’m surprised that our public schools don’t have special programs for children with word relationship disabilities and the like, they did when I was in school, although back then dyslexia was uncommon, certainly no where near the 12% that exists today. I wonder what parents who can’t find the money do, when faced with these concerns?

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  3. Cicero says:

    The prospects for giving every child a chance to excell is very exciting. It is heartening to see these advances taking shape, even if the therapies are currently expensive. The truth is that it is that the cost to the child, their family, and their community of failing to provide these therapies is exponentially many times the expense of helping people (adults or children) overcome dyslexia. And as the therapies advance and become more broadly available, that cost should predictibly come down.

    This raises two policy issues locally. How much additional cost for remedial classes do our public schools incur by not having early testing for dyslexia, backed up by these kinds of programs available in elementary schools? And how much less expensive per pupil would the programs be if they were more generally available?

    My own Daughter was lucky enough to be identified early as having dyslexia, and we were lucky enough as a family to find one of Lindamood-Bell’s competitors at the time willing to provide these kind of congnitive programs at a time when the local schools were not (even when funds were offered for training and acquisition of the equipment needed) willing. Those new pricy auditory therapies were being shown to help grow new brain cell connections even then. Our Daughter is now pulling straight As in college, while many of her contemporaries who did not have these programs available are saddly still struggling. How much would public schools save by early on bringing in these programs to jump start the learning ability of 12 percent of their students? It would be huge.

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    • Typoqueen says:

      I’m so glad to hear about the success of your daughter. When my child was in LMB they told us that if a family couldn’t afford their services that the family could actually force the school to provide LMB’s service for their child. We didn’t go that route but it is a shame that public schools don’t provide these types of teaching techniques for ALL of their students automatically. But it would require one on one or one two teaching so I understand the expense factor but they should at least provide it for the kids with dyslexia. It absolutely helps them and I believe in the long run would save money.

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    • Cindy says:

      This program could be implemented and the results achieved in the grade schools if we didn’t have the unions to contend with in our public school systems. Once the equipment is purchased it’s simply a matter of training competent field staff. This type of program might easily be administered by individuals who have obtained a simple associates degree in a relevant field such as social work etc.

      Of course the unions would never hear of it. They would demand that it was taught by standard teachers who demand high pay, 14 weeks of annual time off and enough benefits to choke a horse.

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      • Typoqueen says:

        Teachers are taught certain ways to teach and that has nothing to do with the unions. No Child Left behind had nothing to do with unions and nothing has screwed up our educational system more that.

        Cindy it seems like you always find a way to blame either libs, LE or Unions for all troubles in the world and this issue just doesn’t pertain to any of those things.

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        • zaphod says:

          On a lighter note:Dieters struggle to lose weight because a lack of nutrition forces their brain cells to eat themselves, making the feeling of hunger even stronger, scientists claim.

          Like other parts of the body, brain cells begin to eat themselves as a last-ditch source of energy to ward off starvation, a study found.

          The body responds by producing fatty acids, which turn up the hunger signal in the brain and increase our impulse to eat.

          Researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University in New York said the findings could lead to new scientifically proven weight loss treatments.

          Tests on mice found that stopping the brain cells from eating themselves – a process known as autophagy – prevented levels of hunger from rising in response to starvation.

          The chemical change in their brains caused the mice to become lighter and slimmer after a period of fasting, the researchers reported in the journal Cell Metabolism.
          found object from the telegraph

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          • Cindy says:

            What the heck, maybe that occurs with anorexia or starvation but I don’t believe that happens with people who have extra fat and diet! The last thing our brain is going to eat, is itself, our brains are smarter than that. No doubt this study group will come out with a nutritional supplement claiming that it feeds our brain so that it doesn’t eat itself.

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          • Typoqueen says:

            Well, what the h^ll, I don’t want my brain to eat itself, pass the soda and M&Ms!

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        • Cindy says:

          Typo You said: “it would require one on one or one two teaching so I understand the expense factor but they should at least provide it for the kids with dyslexia.” You’re talking about 12% of the children in public grade school requiring one on one tutorship ! IMPOSSIBLE EXPENSE. We currently can’t afford the teachers (salaries as compared to the time they actually work, their fabulous benefits or hefty guaranteed pension plans) who are educating at a ratio one to 25 children in collective classrooms. I understand that the program is only for reading and spelling classes but the expense at current unionized teaching costs clearly falls outside the prioritized budget considerations.

          You also said “The teachers don’t really have any special skills but I’m not saying that they’re not good.” Utilizing this type of tutorship for this program would be affordable for children who require it. Are you going to deny that the unions would raise holy hell if the public school system attempted to hire outside personnel to fill positions that the union felt should be/could be filled by union teachers, regardless of the “special program” or required skill set to implement it?

          Last, you say: “Cindy it seems like you always find a way to blame either libs, LE or Unions for all troubles in the world .” I understand that it seems like that “to you”. That is because those are often the issues that you and I disagree on. It “seems “to me” that I blame conservatives for as many problems as I blame the liberals for. Now LE, lets qualify that because I actually like cops. I distain the 5% that abuse our trust and I distain them with a passion, however speaking of the gubmnt in general, yes I blame them for a whole lot of problems and I can assure you that I’m 100% non partisan on the subject. As for unions, it’s my opinion they aren’t what they used to be, they have become nothing but money grubbing lobbyist that buy votes and they serve not the best interest of the public but the best interest of themselves and to the detriment of the people whose pockets they pick. I DO think they serve a valuable purpose in the unskilled private sector and that’s where they belong.

          “Blaming the libs, LE or Unions for all the troubles in world”? Oh come on now , if you really believe that , you need to polish your tiny window pane ;)

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          • Typoqueen says:

            Okay, I’m not going to get into politics with you right now,,,I remember what you said to me last time I did that!

            Special teachers don’t need to be brought in, the union wouldn’t even need to be involved. There are teachers in public schools that know how to teach the techniques that they teach at LMB. I had a discussion with a teacher at Shell Beach Elementary School that started off at LMB, any teacher can do it with just a short class or a few workshops. Things are probably different now but not that long ago (3 years or so) there were teachers in grade school resource classes that did teach one on one or/and in small groups depending on what the child needed. The problem is change and the law. Trying to get school boards and policies changed is like like pulling teeth.

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            • Cindy says:

              Oh Geezz, we aren’t communicating very well. I didn’t mean to imply that “grade school teachers would have to be hired with special skills”. I was talking about less expensive teachers (non-union), tutors if you will, that are paid by the hour, earn two week annual vacations and reasonable medical benefit’s with no additional frills. Since they don’t really require any special skills other than the training to administrate this program, we wouldn’t have to hire or utilize fully credentialed educators, this program would be extra curricular. Most people may not be aware of this but educators who teach at Sylvan Learning Centers earn $12.00 an hour. Hiring educators/tutors like those teaching at Sylvan would cost the taxpayers $15.50 an hour including the Employers portion of their social security and medical benefits as compared to a public school teacher who costs an average of $90.00+ per hour. That’s right, if you add their average salary, benefits and cost of their pensions and divide it by the hours they actually work per year, that’s what they cost us.

              BTW, I do apologize for being so rude that day. I must say that your response was clever and I felt like a jerk. Later you and SpiritFilled made me laugh so hard with your humorous joking about it. You two were very original and I’m going to use that tactic/dialog the next time somebody has a bad day and says the right words to me ;) If I ever have that kind of a day again, I plan to stay off the contentious threads!

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  4. rogerfreberg says:

    A world reknown program right here in San Luis Obispo…

    Many Many Years ago, my daughter Karen entered the program ( actually one of the options was to teach the parent who then taught the child)… so Laura worked with Karen. The ultimate results: Karen finished her Ph.D. this year and is a professor.

    Yes, it was expensive even then… and it was very tough for us to find the money, which we often had to borrow… no vacations… no eating out… but the long term results have made all the difference and that is how you measure this program.

    So, what is your kids future worth and what are you willing to sacrifice?

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  5. r0y says:

    The political implications of this are staggering… we should sign up all our politicians for the procedure!

    (couldn’t resist)

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  6. Typoqueen says:

    It’s also very very expensive, mainly for people that make a lot of money.

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