Neural plasticity and our ability to regain lost function is a key concept in the field of Neuroscience. The concept of neural plasticity is based on the understanding that the structure of our brain and how we function is a result of our experiences throughout life and that we by way of “experience” are able to change direction, learn – relearn and gain function. The basic assumption is that the brain can regenerate after injury and that "moving" can lead to plastic changes.
This understanding offers new possibilities for treating brain injuries and other diseases. How we function constitutes the result of a comprehensive neural network that makes up the brain and that there are many opportunities for learning to be formed as new "roads" and brain connections. So how do we provide ourselves with the best possible conditions for learning?
Leading scientists in the field of Neuroscience recognize the work of Anat Baniel. In the following you can read more about the concept of Neuroscience and get acquainted with Professor Emeritus Michael Merzenick and Norman Doidge, MD, and the author of the Brain That Changed Itself.
Merzenich is professor emeritus of neuroscience at the University of California, San Francisco.
Norman Doidge, MD, Author of the Brain That Changed Itself; Faculty University of Toronto Department, and Research Faculty, Columbia University Department of Psychiatry, Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research.
“..One of the foremost researchers of neuroplasticity, Michael Merzenich’s work has shown that the brain retains its ability to alter itself well into adulthood — suggesting that brains with injuries or disease might be able to recover function, even later in life. He has also explored the way the senses are mapped in regions of the brain and the way sensations teach the brain to recognize new patterns.
Merzenich wants to bring the powerful plasticity of the brain into practical use through technologies and methods that harness it to improve learning. He founded Scientific Learning Corporation, which markets and distributes educational software for children based on models of brain plasticity. He is co-founder and Chief Science Officer of Posit Science, which creates “brain training” software also based on his research.
Dr. Merzenich wrote in his foreword on Anat Baniel´s book, Kids Beyond Limits:
“. . . I have spent much of my own scientific career trying to understand how we can harness our capacity for brain remodeling for the benefit of children and adults in need of neurological help. From several decades of research, summarized in many thousands of published reports, we scientists have defined the ‘rules’ governing brain plasticity in neurological terms. We now know how to drive brains to change for the better.
It has been a great wonder to me, then, that my friend Anat Baniel, working in parallel along a completely different path, has defined almost exactly the same rules. Moreover, Anat interprets them here in practical and understandable human terms, in ways that should contribute richly to your own more enlightened parenting, grand-parenting, or clinical intervention.”
Trusting in the evolutionary quality of the process, Anat constantly develops new techniques and encourages her trainees to do the same, helping clients overcome limitations and discover delightful, life-giving possibilities. Her method continues to promote not only the development of better movement and awareness, but also incorporates evolution and improvement in the areas of thinking, feeling, emotion and human interaction . . .”
Norman Doidge – on Anat Baniel`s book, Kids beyond Limits:
“. . . This accessible, insightful, practical book for parents of special children with special needs will profoundly deepen their ability to help their children improve. Following the footsteps of revolutionary scientist Msohe Feldenkrais, the greatest thinker on how to improve movement of the twentieth century, Baniel shows why our mainstream approach to these children is often wrong, and at time damaging, because they train children to “ape” developmental milestones they are developmentally ready to meet. The approach here, far wiser, far more subtle, truly holistic, far more engenious, far more in accord with how brain development occurs, shows ways to access the child`s own brain plasticity and yields far greater results, so that the children can grow from within. I know because I have observed Baniel`s little patients in multiple visits, and time after time, I have seen children whose parents were told their brain-damaged children would never walk, or talk, or be able to think well or regulate themselves, begin to do just that with this gentle technique. I have seen the peace on the face of these children as their minds and their plastic brains suddenly begin to integrate what they have learned from the first time, the explosion of joy at their first steps and watched them grow and become more independent. Baniel is a master clinician for children with special needs, especially creative with brain-damaged children.”