Brain Basics

Up to 10% of the population is affected by specific learning disabilities such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, autism, attention problems, etc. which accounts for 2-3 students in every classroom. Delays in reflex and sensory integration and gross and fine motor skills cause delays in children meeting their developmental milestones which is also linked to learning difficulties. If these delays are caught early and the child is challenged appropriately and/or given a safe environment to practice these skills before they head into the classroom; they will be set up for success.

This 7 hour workshop is an introduction to the Brain Basics ™ program which equips the learner to address the developmental needs of children. By the end of this workshop the participant will be able to:

  • List and describe 4 rehabilitation concepts
  • Explain the importance of a bottom-up approach
  • Define reflex and sensory integration and the trauma response
  • Distinguish the different types of traumas that the marginalized experience and its effect on learning.
  • Recognize the role that educators play in the school to prison pipeline
  • Apply strategies and techniques to address daily unconscious bias and create a space of inclusivity
  • Design and incorporate simple everyday activities to encourage growth of a healthy nervous system in children

Did you know that there are many diagnoses that have symptoms of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity? It is important that the person showing these symptoms have a thorough assessment by many different disciplines to get to the root cause so that your doctor can give a proper diagnosis.

What do these symptoms look like?

Inattention manifests itself as the following: being easily distracted, difficulty following directions or finishing tasks, not appearing to be listening, making careless mistakes, forgetful of daily activities, tending to lose things, and tending to daydream.

Hyperactivity shows up as: fidgetiness, not being able to play quietly, talking excessively, constant need to move, running or climbing on things all the time, restlessness, and are always “on the go” as if they have no brakes.

Impulsivity demonstrates the following behaviour: trouble waiting for his/her/their turn in class or in conversations, blurting out answers in class, interrupting others, or saying/doing something that they later regret.

Which diagnoses show these symptoms?

It is important to talk to your doctor about your symptoms because there are over 20 different diagnoses that show problems with hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. These include the following:

  • Unintegrated reflexes
  • Sensory processing disorder (hypersensitivity or hyposensitivity to sounds, light, touch, etc)
  • Hearing problems
  • Eyesight problems
  • Visual perception difficulties (not the same as acuity)
  • Central auditory processing disorder (not the same as hearing loss)
  • Trauma (PTSD, childhood trauma, intergenerational, racism)
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Concussion/Head injury
  • Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Autism
  • Emotional stress (abuse, poverty, family situations, alcoholic home, malnutrition)
  • Learning disability
  • Mental illness (depression, anxiety, bipolar, Obsessive/compulsive, schizophrenia)
  • Tourette's
  • Hypoglycemia/diabetes
  • Hyper/hypothyroidism
  • Seizure disorder
  • Poor diet (excess sugar, vitamin B or iron deficiency)
  • Drug use
  • Food sensitivity
  • Environmental agents (mercury, lead, fluoride)
  • Viral/ bacterial infections (Candida albicans /yeast infections, Streptococcus bacteria, Intestinal parasites if person has visited another country)

This workshop will discuss what proper assessment looks like but more importantly discover what treatments can help to overcome these symptoms.


The effects of systemic institutionalized racism has negatively affected the lives of all people of African/black descent, Aboriginal/Indigenous and people of colour (BIPOC). It is within the work environment and within the school system which have impacted the quality of work relationships and access to opportunities as well as education for BIPOC learners as early as preschool which launches them into the school to prison pipeline. Racism is also experienced in everyday encounters through microaggressions (due to bias of the unknowing aggressor) that affect their mental health as it is shown to be traumatic.

This workshop (4hr or 1 day) creates a safe environment to equip the learner with skills to recognize and address their daily unconscious bias. By the end of this workshop the participant will be able to:

  • List and describe 4 neuroscience rehabilitation concepts to address bias
  • Explain and recognize the trauma response and define how sensory integration plays a role
  • Distinguish the different types of traumas that the marginalized experience
  • Summarize concepts of unconscious bias, cultural competency, and privilege
  • Recognize how racism and bias is manifested in subtle and overt ways
  • Identify how to respond (and how NOT to respond) when racism is labeled
  • Apply strategies and techniques to address daily unconscious bias and create a space of inclusivity

Many resources will be given for the learner to continue their journey towards cultural competency and anti racist beliefs. Let's make this world a better place.

References: DeGangi & Greenspan, 1988; Dempsey, 2011; Miller et al, 1999, 2001; Reynolds, 2009; Saul, 2014.