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What the Beatles Can Teach Us About Our Brains

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I thought it was the melody of the song that helped him be able to do so, in contrast to the intense efforts he expends to say a phrase like “I want to go to school.” On his own (i.e., without us prompting him), Charlie says “I want” or “go” or “school,” but stringing together the sequence of words is really hard for him. Perhaps there is some disrupted connection between the parts of his brain that control his speech and those that control his motor system?

Charlie also has a lot of difficulty doing motor activities like writing with a pencil or pen and catching a ball. He has learned to do the latter if the ball is thrown directly to him; for a long time, he always raised his hands several beats behind seeing the ball heading towards him, as if he couldn’t get his eyes, brain and body to all work together at once. He was also a quite late walker (16 months) in part (I reflect now) because he just couldn’t figure out how to coordinate all the parts of his body involved in getting on his feet. When we were first teaching him to understand what was being said to him, it helped to pair words with movements so we told him to push a ball but to get a shoe.

My husband Jim taught Charlie to ride a bike, which certainly involves a lot of coordination between brain and body. Often while they’re riding Jim sings a number of songs. Perhaps by doing so, he is helping Charlie to set his brain’s motor system into action?

One of those songs is one sung to Charlie since he was a baby: “We love you Charlie , / oh yes we do, / we love you Charlie, we do-oo, / oh Charlie, we love you.” It’s a variation on a song fans used to sing to the Beatles that Jim remembers from his younger days — and that Charlie can sing on his own, one verse after another.

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65 comments

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11:44AM PST on Feb 20, 2013

interesting. When I would get a new CD, I would subconsciously memorize the order of the songs. Even now when i sing a song from forever ago, the next song from the cd comes to mind immediately after that song is over :)

5:16AM PST on Nov 30, 2012

My son was labelled "Remedial" in Infants school. We knew he wasn't, but we sang all sorts of stuff to him and saw an improvement in his response time.
Luckily for us his very experienced Headmistress saw no problem when was tested by her and did not follow through on the Remedial school suggestion.
The trouble we "diagnosed" was that he was too busy' thinking'..... He has an Master of Science Degree and can play the piano and is a wonderful son, husband and father.

3:17AM PST on Nov 30, 2012

Wonderful article,thank you!

3:29AM PST on Nov 19, 2012

Thanks for the article.

2:59AM PST on Nov 18, 2012

Thanks.

1:23AM PST on Nov 18, 2012

ty

9:57PM PST on Nov 17, 2012

The Beatles had real music- not some of the crap we hear today- totally forgettable.

5:00PM PST on Nov 17, 2012

Very interesting article and especially the comments from Linda M, Stephen B, David Y &
Gary A. Thanks folks for your input.

3:09AM PST on Nov 17, 2012

Thanks for the article. Also check out Prof. Buggey. He has a video technique called feed forward. Children watch a highly edited video of themselves doing something they don't do (e.g., eating a variety of foods or going down a slide or speaking in full sentences) and many times they watch the video and go do whatever it is they saw themselves doing. Try this link, http://newsinfo.iu.edu/news/page/normal/5254.html.

2:41AM PST on Nov 17, 2012

Thanks for sharing.

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