I wasn’t sure what to expect when I received A Life in Balance. I had hoped that it would provide some techniques and strategies for teaching my kids in the way that they learned best. At the very least, I figured it would be an interesting read. Well, once I started it, I couldn’t put it down. First of all, Frank Belgau has had one of the most interesting lives I’ve ever read about. Eric Belgau’s idea of putting his father’s life on paper was brilliant. I was amazed by the way God put people and events into Mr. Belgau’s life—and orchestrated it all perfectly—to lead to each new step in his journey of discovering the Learning Breakthrough Program. His story is full of hope and promise. He also shares his frustration with politics and bureaucracy. Yet, these things were placed in his path as well to change his course and help the program become what it is today. I enjoyed reading about how he met his wife. I almost felt as if I was there, watching his life unfold.
As I read about the techniques he used to bring about reading improvement and comprehension of the learning-disabled children that he worked with, I wished I had the balance board and the other tools that he used to see if those things would work with my children. While my children don’t have ADHD or dyslexia, there are things they struggle with such as focusing in order to get their work done, understanding math, and remembering the things they have read.
Since my background is in the healthcare field, I have had many classes in anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, etc. So, reading chapters about the brain should not have been an issue for me. However, I was so enthralled with the rest of the book—it read like a novel—that once I arrived at chapter 26, “Neural Networks and Neural Plasticity,” I had a hard time picking the book up. Knowing that I needed to finish it for the purposes of the review, I worked through the final chapters. The dryness of the scientific explanation at the end would be the only negative that I could find in the whole book. In relating his story, Frank shared that, though they learned many strategies for helping children in the first few decades of success, knowledge of brain function and how it was tied to other processes going on in the body was not known at that time. Science was not advanced enough to understand why these strategies were helping. In recent times, however, a great deal of light has been shed on brain function. Now we know why The Learning Breakthrough Program works.
One of the great things about this book is that Mr. Belgau does not try to convince the reader to purchase his complete program, though the reader might consider doing so once he/she has read this book. I admit that I am seriously tempted. What he does do, however, is provide practical strategies that will produce positive results without having to spend any money. The Appendix talks about "The Space Walk." This is a series of activities through which the parent can observe his/her child walking, hopping, skipping, etc. A explanation of why these brain-training exercises enhance brain fitness and questions for observation purposes are provided. It is recommended to record the progress over time to see the change in learning ability. Now that this school year is at an end, I think I'll work on The Space Walk with my kids this summer to see if it helps them, especially my daughter and her inability to grasp math concepts.
This is an important book for those who have children with learning difficulties. The Learning Breakthrough Program has proven itself, time and time again, to be an ADHD alternative treatment (wouldn't it be wonderful if your kids didn't need to take the medication?) and a dyslexia treatment. It's worth the read and a trial of The Space Walk. If you notice an improvement, the balance board and other items will accelerate the improvement in your child's brain function and learning ability.
The Learning Breakthrough Program website provides a link to purchase A Life in Balance through Amazon for $16.94. An excerpt of the book and recommendations by medical personnel and research specialists are provided on the website. All of the equipment written about in the book is available through the website as well.
Here are some of the social media links for the Learning Breakthrough Program: