Where is The Beat? How Music Impacts ADHD, LD and Dyslexia


Those of you who treat or parent children with ADHD and or learning challenges may have observed mild to moderate fine or gross motor delays in your clients or children. Of course, some children with diagnoses are exceptional athletes, which leads us to focus on dividing the phenotypic expression of ADHD and or LD into subtypes.

The subtype of interest to me is the group that have poor motor rhythm and timing. Why? Because in 25 years, I have observed diminished executive function, specifically in focus, distractibility, inhibition and self-regulation in this subtype. As a clinician often looking for the most impactful yet affordable, interventions for our families, the research has lead me to wonder, if we simply started the school day with motor timing exercises could we impact behavior and learning? Now that inTime has been produced, I am more convinced than ever that 9 minutes of daily rhythm based movement, in every classroom first thing in the morning and again after lunch, would shift education for learners. Research anyone? Let’s do it!

Here are a few interesting studies, I said I’d post after the Advanced Brain Technology audiocast with Sheila Allen last week.

Exercise is One Intervention That May Help Alert the Brain

Researchers examined the effect of a single bout of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise on preadolescent children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) using objective measures of attention, brain neurophysiology, and academic performance, CF Kamp et al (2014) found that:

Following a single 20-minute bout of exercise, both children with ADHD and healthy match control children exhibited greater response accuracy and stimulus-related processing, with the children with ADHD also exhibiting selective enhancements in regulatory processes, compared with after a similar duration of seated reading. In addition, greater performance in the areas of reading and arithmetic were observed following exercise in both groups.

These findings indicate that single bouts of moderately intense aerobic exercise may have positive implications for aspects of neurocognitive function and inhibitory control in children with ADHD.

Moving To A Beat Helps Language Development

Research on rhythm and language by Adam Tierney and Nina Kraus (2013) showed the ability to move to a beat is linked to the consistency of neural responses to sound. People who are better able to move to a beat show more consistent brain responses to speech than those with less rhythm, according to a study published in the September 18 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience, The Journal of Neuroscience, September 18, 2013 33(38). The findings suggest that rhythmic and or musical training could possibly sharpen the brain’s response to language.

Musical Training May Help Cognitive Function

In a study by Hanna-Pladdy and MacKay (2011) it was observed that in a group of elderly subjects, 10 or more years of musical training lead to better working memory The results of this preliminary study revealed that participants with at least 10 years of musical experience (high activity musicians) had better performance in nonverbal memory (η2 = .106), naming (η2 = .103), and executive processes (η2 = .131) in advanced age relative to nonmusicians. Neuropsychology, Vol 25(3), May 2011, 378-386

As a clinician who has been using motor movement to build attention, focus, inhibition, math and reading skills in children for 25 years, learning with Alex Doman, Sheila Allen and Nacho Arimany, I am now incorporating rhythmic music such as in-Time in our work with children.

Can Rhythm Training Help Dyslexia?

Children with dyslexia often find it difficult to count the number of syllables in spoken words or to determine whether words rhyme. These subtle difficulties are seen across languages with different writing systems and they indicate that the dyslexic brain has trouble processing the way that sounds in spoken language are structured. Researchers have now shown, using a music task, that this is linked to a broader difficulty in perceiving rhythmic patterns, or metrical structure.

Want to learn more? Feel free to join me in St Louis for a LIVE 6 hr webcast of brain-based interventions April 30, 2014, some of the over 20 activities include the utility of rhythm and timing in brain building specifically as it relates to executive function.  Call 1-800-844-8260 to register. See you there:).

in-Time is currently available through a trained provider network via ABT, email us for more information about using in-Time in your home or school thefamilycoach AT gmail.com.


Horses in The Winter #Olympics?

Allie n Belle Feb 2014I know we are celebrating the Winter #Olympics. But getting your exercise any way you can boosts your health and brain development. While it’s 40 in Sochi, it’s 80 in Scottsdale. We’d like to be skiing, but instead, we are riding.

Sylvia2Sylvia Zerbini is here with her Grand Liberty Stallions. This week, I had the honor of observing Sylvia teach a young teen how to communicate better with her horse. The messages she imparted were empowering, she ignited a sense of deep respect. Self-respect, respect for the horses and a unity between man and nature.

When I first saw Sylvia in Cavalia, I wondered how are these horses treated, are they circus animals? But for the past 14 days I have seen Sylvia with her horses up close and they are the best fed, loved and cared for horses one could know. They rest in their stalls with ease and grace. Sylvia speaks to them in their own language moving her body to draw lines they are not to cross, using her hand with the movement of a dancer to tell them where to go and how fast to move. They pine for her, coming up to the stall windows and looking for her like a child to a mother.  She walks past, touching, smiling with gentle re-assurance.

My anticipation was that stallions would be intense, loud and almost scary, but they are just the opposite. They are almost meditative. When the horses are in the paddock or arena with Sylvia, they literally come out to play as she runs, hops and dances with them.

Although, I have not asked her myself, I have been told that when Sylvia was young, her father would tell her she needed to work the horses before she could play. So she began to learn to work all of them at one time thus the evolution of Grand Liberty, an interplay of instinct that will stir your senses. Sylvia has a unique gift. She can speak with the horses. But the amazing part, is that we can as well. In her clinics and personal lessons she teaches us how to marry instinct with collaboration. Fearlessly, she teaches others all that she knows, making us stronger women, better leaders and more skillful horsemen.

Her message is communicate don’t dominate, something we all need more of in schools, communities, corporations and homes around the world.

Get Your “Fit” On ~ 15 min workouts

The Olympics makes me think a lot about college, a time when I could work out any moment I desired. I would do aerobics at 8 am after dancing til 2 am.  I’d walk miles across campus every day, I think I got about four hours of exercise every day. It felt great!

Now, if I can find 15 minutes in between writing, cooking, driving carpool, cleaning up after the bunny, feeding the horses and walking the dog, I feel I’ve succeeded. I found a few 15 min workouts and thought I’d share them with you all. The goal is to do them in the am and pm, getting some heart-healthy movement throughout the day bringing the laundry up and down the stairs, chasing the kids around and if we’re lucky, getting a run in.

Track your workouts with our Daily Health Planner (click).

Download The Free Participant Guide with 30+ Recipes (click).

Ready to work out right now? Fitness Blender has many free videos on YouTube. Here’s a workout for all our #OlympicDads, moms and kids. Remember to get your yearly physical exam and speak with your doctor before you begin any exercise program. Get your “fit” on!

My Daily Health Planner #OlympicMoms

About three months ago I started working out with my friend Dina 5 days a week and we feel great! Dina is approaching 50 and looks like she’s 30. In fact, she needs a new promo video cause she is totally ripped. Me, I’m still eating too much Pirate Booty at night but with all the recipes from our friends, my clean eating habits are improving:).

One thing that really helps us is our daily health planner, so I’m sharing it with you to use as well. Let me know how you are doing.

Olympic Moms Participant Guide FINAL DHP (full size download to print)

Here is the entire 12 page guide with recipes.

OM Health Planner


We’re Proud of You Too! #OlympicMoms #OlympicDads

Yesterday on my private Facebook, a mom of seven posted the most touching video about her struggle to manage her “demons” making her a healthier, happier, more available mom. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about how brave and honest she was.  She told the story of how she has joined other moms in exercising, eating well and reducing her comfort habits, those that were not serving her well. We all have those, we understand. But most of us do not talk about them publicly in our bathrobes, crying in a closet, I’ll never forget that image, her honesty was inspiring. “I’m so proud of myself,” she exclaimed. “We’re proud of you as well,” I said aloud. As I watched her video, I wanted a bagel and cream cheese for breakfast but I went downstairs and had a green salad with grilled chicken, Kalamata olives, carrots and artichoke hearts. We have support and encouragement for you as well.

Inspired by the Olympics 15 experts joined together to provide meal plans, recipes and activities for family fun. You can download the Participants Guide HERE.

Recipes Week 1 #OM

For direct info from the generous experts click on their links.

Sue Atkins is a Parenting Expert and the author of Parenting Made Easy
www.sueatkinsparentingcoach.com @SueAtkins www.facebook.com/SueAtkinsTheParentingExpert www.youtube.com/user/sueatkins1

Gill Connell  is a Mum, Grandmum, Teacher, International Lecturer, Author and Consultant and founder of Moving Smart movingsmartblog.blogspot.com @movingsmart www.facebook.com/movingsmart www.pinterest.com/movingsmartnow/moving-smart

Amanda Frolich an expert in childhood physical development and the founder of Amanda’s Action Club www.amandasactionclub.co.uk @actionamanda www.facebook.com/amandasactionclub

Annie Fox, M.Ed is an internationally respected parenting expert, family coach and trusted online adviser for teens  www.anniefox.com @Annie_Fox www.facebook.com/AnnieFox.author  www.pinterest.com/annielfox www.youtube.com/user/AnnieLFox

Aviva Goldfarb is a family dinner expert and founder of The Six O’Clock Scramble, an online dinner planning solution for busy parents www.thescramble.com @thescramble  www.pinterest.com/thescramble

Lynne Kenney, PsyD is a mom of two, a pediatric psychologist, international speaker, author and media host www.lynnekenney.com @drlynnekenney www.facebook.com/DrLynneKenney www.pinterest.com/lynnekenney www.youtube.com/LynneKenney

Sally Kuzemchak, MS, RD is a Registered Dietitian, Mom and Founder of Real Mom Nutrition www.realmomnutrition.com @RMNutrition www.facebook.com/realmomnutrition  www.pinterest.com/RMNutrition

Lori Lite is the founder of Stress Free Kids, author of Stress Free Kids: A Parent’s Guide, www.StressFreeKids.com @StressFreeKids www.facebook.com/stressfreekids www.pinterest.com/stressfreekids

Kelly Loubet is a Social Media Strategist and Community Builder everydaychildhood.com @childhood www.facebook.com/KellyLoubet www.pinterest.com/childhood

Deb McNelis is an Early Brain Development Specialist and author of The Brain Development Series @braininsights Early Childhood Brain Insights Blog www.braininsightsonline.com  www.pinterest.com/braininsights

Beth Onufrak, PhD is a Child Psychologist and Parent Educator @drbethkids A Child In Mind Blog

EA Stewart, MBA, RD is Owner of Spicy RD Nutrition www.eastewart.com/blog/ @thespicyrd www.facebook.com/thespicyrd www.pinterest.com/thespicyrd/  instagram.com/thespicyrd

Amy Valpone is a Personal Chef and Marketing Consultant specializing in simple Gluten Free ‘clean’ recipes thehealthyapple.com @TheHealthyApple www.facebook.com/TheHealthyApple.com www.pinterest.com/thehealthyapple

Christy Wilson, RD is a Registered Dietitian, Mom and Nutrition Consultant specializing in recipes families love ChristyWilsonNutrition.com @ChristysChomp www.instagram.com/christywil74 www.pinterest.com/christywilsonrd

Wendy Young, LMSW is a mom of three, a Licensed Master Social Worker, Founder of Kidlutions and co-author of BLOOM www.kidlutions.com @kidlutions www.pinterest.com/kidlutions www.facebook.com/kidlutions www.youtube.com/user/Kidlutions

What is #OlympicMoms

For the next 14 days my blog will be dedicated to the Olympics. We were encouraged by a mom who wanted more play time, a better exercise plan and more whole food to create an international community of moms who could support one another for better health, fitness and family fun inspired by the Olympics.  I wrote to 15 international experts in food, nutrition, family & exercise and asked if they would share recipes, meal plans, fitness tips and children’s activities with us for FREE during the Olympics. The response was overwhelming. Recipes, stress-free living tips and more came pouring in. Thank you warmly to our experts.

We are all #OlympicMoms and #OlympicDads who for 14 days will eat better, play with our children more and exercise daily in order to jump-start a year of health and wellness within our families. Anyone can participate.

Download our #OlympicMoms Participant Guide, from Slide Share, print out the Health Plan page and start sharing, communicating and lifting other parents up with your helpful eating, fitness and family fun tips. For all the expert content in one place visit our Social Hub. We like and appreciate dads as well, join us!

OM What is

Download it, view it, share it, it’s all Fun & FREE!

Play: It’s More Than Therapy ~ Join Us February 2014

PLAYScotland and England, here we come! Working on dates now for Play: It’s more than therapy. Next stop, Indiana February 4-7, 2014 PLAY Merrillville, Fort Wayne, Carmel, Evansville, Indiana. There is still time to sign-up call PESI 1-800-844-8260.

In this applied play therapy presentation we explore the current neuroscientific underpinnings of child development, communication, social-emotional skills, and behavior with an emphasis on how play therapy enhances executive function, metacognition and daily functioning.

Moving beyond theory and into practice, clinicians will learn the brain-based reasons why and how play therapy works. Reviewing over 20 play therapy tools and techniques clinicians will have the opportunity to create their own written play therapy methodologies with an ability to articulate what they do and why they do it, from the perspective of brain science. By delving into the meaning of narrative communication, social skill development and academic enhancement, we will broaden the landscape of therapeutic interventions in play therapy for ADHD, SPD, OCD, dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, anxiety, trauma and depression. Here is the ppt for download with over 100 books, resources, products and play concepts.

Dr. Lynne is bringing brain-based interventions to clinicians, teachers and parents worldwide. Is she speaking in your city?

Old Fashioned Family Games for The New Year

The New Year is upon us and it’s time to gather around the fire and play old fashioned games. Remember the hours you spent playing jacks, hop scotch and Go Fish as a child? There are so many wonderful games, many of them are familiar to you but new to your children, grandchildren and teens.  If you are looking for games to play with your children here are a few links to begin the family fun.

Sharon O’Bryan has written the rules for over 200 children’s games. Her book is available on Kindle.

Sharon O'BryanRules for Old Fashioned Card Games

Rules for Classic Children’s Games

Rules for Indoor Games


Games for Kids is a simple ebook for parents, teachers and grandparents who are looking for games they may have played as children that are new to this generation. Oldies but goodies. Games for Kids ~ Available immediately on Kindle.

Games for KidsIf you wish for motor-based games SparkPE has an after-school and in classroom curriculum with equipment as well. We use Spark in our office and on the road and love the quality, design and ease of their products.

If you want the family activity kit, you can get the one we use for play math, it’s smaller and super affordable. Who can resist playground balls and polyspots:). Just call 619-293-7990 or 1-800-SPARK PE and ask for the Play Math Kit. Family game nights are a wonderful opportunity for family fun, bonding and learning.


Enjoy the New Year with Play!

#StresslessSummer Your Daily Health Organizer #Free Printable

Recently, we were on holiday as a family and I found it so easy to exercise and eat well every day. We were on relaxation speed. But when we got home it was back to chasing horses at 7 am, writing til noon, phone calls, radio shows etc. Whoa! Where did all that health fly to? So yesterday I made a little daily health sheet for our fridge to bring fitness front-of-mind. I thought you all might enjoy it as well.  Wendy Young @kidlutions, I and all our colleagues on the #StresslessSummer series ~ @TheSpicyRD, @HAPPYsuperfoods, Sue Atkins @sueatkins, Naomi Richards @thekidscoach, @neurogistics, Emily Roberts @EmilyRobertsLPC, Maria Freeman @littlejots, Deb McNelis @braininsights, Victoria @HMMilitary, Jan Katzen @nutritionistjan, Kelly Cairns @kellycairns and more wish you a happy, healthy summer!

Bloom Health Org


Don’t Diet Just Eat Clean…Join Us For 30 Days

A few moms and I like my good pal Wendy Young @kidlutions, are banding together to eat clean and get healthier this summer. No dieting just real food choices. As you all know, I am a fan of @toscareno and find her book The Eat Clean Diet informative and easy to follow.

I am also a fan of Dr. Lori Shemek.  Dr. Shemek has a new kindle book out called Fire-Up Your Fat Burn. She has been kind enough to share her food list for all the moms, dads and teens out there who wish to get healthier, feel more energy and find their way back to real food.

It’s actually super easy. IF IT DOESN’T ROT OR SPROUT DO WITHOUT.

So we’re eatin’ clean and we’re eating WHOLE REAL FOOD for 30 days. Wanna join us? The hashtag will be #realfood the page where we can post ideas, books, questions and support is right here.

Have research, ideas, advice feel free to share it. We’ll feel healthy full of energy and ready to tackle the summer with gusto! Working on the food list now, what do you think should be on our whole food list?

Dr. Lynne



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Copyright © 2014 Dr Lynne Kenney