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         September 2012 Newsletter
Physical Activity and Cognition





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The work of The ChildTrauma Academy began in 1990 when Dr. Perry founded the Center for the Study of Childhood Trauma in Chicago. It was during this period that Dr. Perry and the CTA were among the first of a small group of colleagues to recognize the importance of trauma on the developing child's brain. In 1992, the Center became the ChildTrauma Programs and moved to Houston, and in 1998, in recognition of a shift in our focus to interdisciplinary educational activities, we became the ChildTrauma Academy.   

     Twenty-two years later, CTA continues to grow and influence increasing numbers of people around the world.  The success of Dr. Perry's recent speaking tour of Australia and New Zealand is evidence of the global excitement for our work.  We're also very proud of the fact that The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog has recently been translated into more than 12 languages -  most recently Turkish!  Every month the CTA receives requests from countries across the globe;  we learn from each other - all of us recognizing the need for innovative and effective ways to help traumatized and maltreated children.  We appreciate your ongoing interest and support. 

Positive Effects of Physical Activity on the Brain

Human beings are meant to move.  Walking, running and physical activity are at the core of the developmental process.  The natural educational experience of a curious child requires movement.  Yet our modern educational systems are disrespectful of the natural and positive effects of movement, rhythm and exercise.  We ask young (and old) children to sit and not move for hours on end - and somehow have the expectation that this is important in helping them learn.  We even pathologize movement and label age-typical movement in young children as "hyperactivity." 

Many studies in the past have documented the positive effects of exercise.   In a large cohort study (Asberg et al., 2009) of more than 1 million Swedish men, physical fitness and IQ were correlated.  Cardiovascular fitness between age 15 and 18 predicted IQ at age 18 - with the most fit having the highest IQ.  Two other studies have documented specific changes in key parts of the brain that appear to be related to exercise and physical activity.  Aerobic fitness, hippocampal volume and memory performance were correlated one study (Chaddock, et al., 2010) and in another from the same group, (Chaddock et al., 2010), basal ganglia volume was related to aerobic fitness and perfomance on cognitive testing - with higher fitness associated with higher cognitive performance.  All of this reinforces what hundreds of other studies have demonstrated; physical activity is good for the brain and good for education. 

The positive therapeutic and educational impact of exercise and physical activity have been documented yet we continue to ignore this in the development of educational and therapeutic environments.  Children and youth are less and less physically active; schools are restricting recess and filing all available time with more and more instruction.  Fortunately there are several innovative programs for schools and therapeutic settings that are aware of - and acting on - the power of physical activity.  One of these is the Neurosequential Model in Education.  Members of the CTA's NME work group have been working with several school settings to introduce and integrate somatosensory and physical activities, including aerobic activities, into the classroom.  Look to future Newsletters for updates on these and related projects. 
Fall 2012 NMT Case-Based Training Series Begins Friday - REGISTER NOW!
There's still time to register for the Fall 2012 NMT Training Series which begins Friday, September 21.  Choose to participate LIVE or via RECORDINGS ONLY.
This training experience is part of an ongoing clinical care conference series offered by the CTA.  This teaching model has been useful for helping clinicians and front-line staff better understand the neurodevelopmental principles involved in many of the primary symptoms as well as strengths in the children they serve.  This practical teaching model provides an opportunity for ongoing capacity building within an institution or for individuals and can serve as a good introduction to viewing maltreated and traumatized children through the "lens" of neurodevelopment. 

There are TWO WAYS to participate in our NMT Case-Based Trainings:  Live or Recordings Only (viewable via the Internet).

     1. ATTEND LIVE - via the Internet.  All sessions take place on Fridays at 11:30am CST.
     2. WATCH RECORDINGS of the live sessions - via the Internet.  View whenever you wish. Stop, pause and/or replay each session. Recorded sessions are available the very same day that each live session is conducted.  This method is a COST SAVING option --  and ideal for groups working at more than one location as well as participants with hectic schedules or residing in different time zones (we're CST)!


Dr. Perry's 2012 Australasian Tour a Huge Success 
From Berry Street's Facebook Page:
"Over just three weeks in Australia and New Zealand, Dr. Bruce Perry presented to over 6000 people at 25 events; he met with Ministers and senior officials in Melbourne, Hobart, Canberra, Sydney and Wellington; there was TV, radio and print media coverage; event audiences included child & family welfare (child protection, out of home care - staff and foster carers), mental health, pediatrics, youth justice, justice, police, researchers, policy makers, corporates, philanthropy, government & non government staff, teachers and school support staff, court counsellors...
He just keeps on connecting with the largest and smallest crowds on complex issues with clarity, humanity, and humour."
We'd like to thank Take Two Berry Street for organizing and hosting Dr. Perry's tour.   Dr. Perry is very grateful and honored to serve as the Senior Fellow for the newly established Berry Street Childhood Institute.  The hard work and good hearts of the whole team at Berry Street made the visit a great success.  We look forward to our ongoing working relationship and know that together we can continue to make a positive impact on the lives of children and families in Australia and around the world.  Read more updates and comments about the tour on the Berry Street Facebook Page.
In closing, we'd like to thank Annette Jackson, Michelle Taylor, Kate Hogan, Marg Hamley, Pam Miranda and all of their colleagues at Berry Street for all of their hard work in organizing Dr. Perry's visit to Australia and New Zealand.  
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Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D.
The ChildTrauma Academy