Developing Children–Kristin Weiss

Hello All!

Below is a link to an article from Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child.

This website is one that I read often for information and recent studies that pertain to my work as an educational therapist.

What I like most about this site is that the content is really for all of us with children in our lives. Although scientific and academic in nature, the studies and instruction are written in a way that all of us can understand. Moreover, this particular article discusses the need for a holistic approach to helping children develop executive functions skills — that  “growth-promoting environments” are essential to helping children learn these skills prior to mastery and independence.

After an explanation of executive functions and their importance, the article addresses the need for the adults in a child’s life to provide situations that facilitate executive functions acquisition. These situations includes a daily routine, play, healthy living, daily activity, and learning ways to cope with stress — all things that the resident providers at JoyWheel espouse.

Additionally, there are links at the bottom of the page to other resources that support the development of executive functions in children, from mindful parenting to advice for healthcare practitioners to an activities guide that can be used by both parents and teachers.

Understanding & Treating Dyslexia by Lynn Brunner, PhD

Lynn Brunner, PhD

Lynn Brunner, PhD Educational Therapist

Resident Provider at

JoyWheel Yoga & Wellness

Shares a spotlight article this week she wrote exploring Dyslexia, and how we can understand and help children and adolescents who may have it

For more information about Lynn’s practice, check out her page.



Understanding and Treating Dyslexia

I work with students who have dyslexia, and even though the term has been around for nearly a century, there is still great misunderstanding about what it is.  I think part of the problem is that dyslexia can be so invisible.  People with dyslexia can be highly intelligent.  They just have a different way of processing language, especially written language, and this difference is physically rooted in the brain.  Imaging studies have shown that the dyslexic brains “light up” in different areas than “normal” brains do when reading. I get asked often, “Dyslexia is when people see things backwards, right?”  The answer to that is, “No.”  But the connection between a word that they see and how their brain interprets that word to represent sound and meaning could get mixed up.  A child may have trouble remembering the “name” of a word so that was gets “named” as saw (Shaywitz, 2002). Not everyone with dyslexia will do this, but since everyone with dyslexia has a similar language processing differences, there are some similarities in how the difference shows up. Such as:

  • Trouble learning letters and their sounds
  • Slow or inaccurate reading
  • Poor spelling
  • Poor handwriting
  • Difficulty pronouncing words
  • Difficulty learning a foreign language

Dyslexia can vary in severity, so that someone who appears to be “reading” may be memorizing words instead of decoding them.  This works until a new word is encountered.  I had an adult student who would read a word like “organization” as “orchestra”.  You can see the words look similar, but substituting one for the other can make a mess of reading comprehension, which he struggled with.  Intervention focuses on learning the sound of each letter and every part of the word. This requires systematic work with phonics and spelling so that the whole word, inside and out, beginning to end, can be decoded.

The most important thing to know is that people with dyslexia CAN learn to read!  It is well-known that a phonics-based, multi-sensory program (not just sight and sound, but touch and motion as well) works in treating dyslexia to train the brain and build new circuits for language processing.  Intervention can happen at any point in a person’s life, but the sooner dyslexia is caught and addressed, the better.  Children who are identified early can get remediation and accommodation so that they can keep up in school.  Early intervention may also prevent serious emotional issues that can develop from constant struggle in school and labels such as “lazy” or “slow” that dog people with dyslexia.

If you are concerned about someone with a potential reading problem, don’t hesitate to get help.  Getting the right help can change a life.  I have been trained in the Orton-Gillingham approach, which was one of the first phonics-based multisensory programs developed to treat dyslexia.  The Gow School, which specializes in helping students with dyslexia, uses Reconstructive Language, which is based on the insights of Samuel Orton, the neurologist who lends his name to Orton-Gillingham.  The approaches are similar in their emphasis on phonics and multi-sensory learning, and they work.  I am happy to answer any questions and help you find the intervention you need.


Shawitz, S. (2003). Overcoming Dyslexia. New York: Vintage Books.



Gong Bath Friday 2/24 @7pm Register Here!

Full Immersion Gong Bath

Space is limited, please call 716-655-2060 or email us to reserve your spot!

What is a gong bath? 
A gong bath is a meditative sonic experience, where the participant is “bathed” in sound waves from various gongs. The practice finds it’s roots in ancient cultures and Kundalini yoga and is more recently used by sound healing practitioners. The participant can expect to be taken on a meditation journey enhanced and assisted by the frequencies of these ancient instruments. The experience will last roughly 45 minutes and led by Liz Holland, MM Percussion Performance.

Why Gongs?
As early as 4000 B.C., gongs have been used as spiritual tools to help guide meditation. A gong produces motions and vibrations that cause frequencies of difference ranges. Scientific studies have shown the therapeutic use of sound frequencies to benefit overall health and well-being. Immersion in a full gong bath takes the participant on a journey of meditation and self-healing.

This experience is led by Liz Holland, MM Percussion Performance.

About Liz

Liz Holland M.M., practitioner of Ancient Alloys, has been a percussionist for her entire life. She has performed in many capacities from classical to ethnic to rock and jazz, but has recently shifted her focus to the art of sound healing. Having studied the minimalist works of composers such as John Cage, she earned a Masters of Music in Percussion Performance from the University at Buffalo. She uses this training to compose improvised sonic atmospheres in the healing sessions, utilizing many classical and modern techniques of performing on gongs and other various metallic instruments.
Find out more about Liz and Ancient Alloys here:


Full Immersion Gong Bath