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My Elbert: Neuroplasticity and Learning With Trauma

“Neuroplasticity allows the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain to compensate for injury and disease and to adjust their activities in response to new situations or to changes in their environment” (Definition of Neuroplasticity, 2020). Also, I’m needing to mention developmental trauma and learning something new, switching content and context frequently!!

Trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event: accident, rape, or [learning with trauma]. Immediately after the event, shock, and denial are typical. Longer term reactions include unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, strained relationships, and even physical symptoms like headaches or nausea. A new study in Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging has used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine the effects of acute stress and “polyvictimization,” or repeated traumas, on three brain networks in adolescents. Findings: Stress and trauma during adolescence can lead to long-term health consequences such as psychiatric disorders, which may arise from neurodevelopmental effects on brain circuitry. [Retrieved from https://neurosciencenews.com/stress-teen-brain-20563/].

Specifically, the mental body is anger brain dominant and perceives in the heart everything related to learning with anger. The emotional body is shame brain dominant and perceives in the heart everything related to learning with shame. According to my good friend, Tom Heintz (An Emotional Code Practitioner-Creator of The Body Code) references Christine H., MS, LMHC (Hammond 2018), ‘Anxiety [anger and shame] is one emotion that can be passed down from one generation to the next. Also, there are 10 emotions that can also be inherited through family trauma, parental modeling, and/or abusive behaviors.’ For those who struggle with sensory triggers and learning stressors, like when experiencing reading or writing, these negatively perceived and filtered experiences with anger and shame, can cause a trauma type of developmental anxiety and sometimes even depression. [Generational Healing: “10 Emotions That Can Be Inherited.” The Body Emotions, thebodyemotions.com/10-emotions-that-can-be-inherited/].

In a study by conducted by Dahle et al. (2011), they found “between 17% and 24% of the boys with dyslexia were registered as anxious/depressed, with withdrawn behavior or somatic problems in the borderline and clinical areas” (p. 167). Another interesting point noted in this study by Undheim (as cited by Dahle et al., 2011) is that “teachers did not believe that they had dyslexia because their general achievement was too good” (p. 167). Dahle et al. (2011) tells us “behavior and emotional problems can be displayed differently in different settings, and it might be difficult for teachers to identify and be aware of internalizing problems in the classroom setting” (p. 168). [Retrieved from Dahle, A. E., Knivsberg, A.-M., & Andreassen, A. B. (2011). Coexisting problem behavior in severe dyslexia. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 11(3), 162–170.] In 2018, I created My ELBERT Responsive System Dysfunction (RSD) Checklist, which is a Functional System Dominance Checklist. I have found in over 4 dozen students what I always knew; that they develop anger first, if not given a healthy, safe, and supportive environment for their anger. Also, anger can develop into shame. Then, the shame will be more dominant.

Therefore, My ELBERT is also a Learning Uniquinessess checklist and resources are important for those working with neurodifferences because shame is harder to address than anger. Shame is the defense for anger and survival (see Maslow Image 2.0a below) of some people before the point of safety. Some people though are less susceptible to shame and remain in anger. I have found more times than not where just anger has been marked; especially in younger students. Note: if anger and shame are not addressed at a young age, it can turn into hatred and grief. Also, anger appears anxiously (hyperarousal) and shame appears sadly depressed (hypoarousal) and both being varied arousal. Together with both anger and shame, someone can appear anxious and sad. With shame being the hardest, their body may appear calm but internally their mind can be ruminating on negative thoughts, feelings, ideas, and emotions which can be hard to know unless your child shares them with someone. This is why the checklist and interview is so important. I interview the students and their parents (teachers too preferably) where an [x] means most of the time in their learning environment and a [/] means some time in their learning environment (see image 1.0).

There are several other factors for successfully expelling learning apathy such as with gaining resilience (meaning), and motivation such as: sleep, diet, health and wellness, physical activity (body), regulation of vagus nerve (soul- body connection), sometimes even the spirit-soul-body connection (much older teens), gratitude including love of self and others (heart-connection). Also, the environment that most of us live in today causing sensory overload along to consistently multitasking and/or content & context-switching (handling 2 or more tasks at the same time) especially in this complex, non-connected (yet, connected), neurotoxic and EMF toxic infused environment- ALL decreasing our very own electromagnetism and vagal tone; all very much causing chaos in the mind.

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