Strengthening the foundation for learning through rhythm and movement
Bill Hubert is the originator and creator of Bal-A-Vis-X. Bal-A-Vis-X was developed by Bill over 25-plus years of working with elementary (first grade) and middle school students and as an instructor of martial arts. Bal-A-Vis-X continues to evolve. Bill’s experience of practicing and teaching martial arts enabled him to observe his students' basic movement patterns throughout the school day. He made a connection between the students who were struggling academically also demonstrated poor coordination, rhythm and balance. Bill began working with his students to improve basic physical skills such as throwing, catching, walking on balance beams and skipping. He noticed that as their balance, coordination and rhythm improved, so did their academic performance in school. Over time, occupational, physical and speech therapists as well as doctors, psychiatrists and mental health clinicians began attending Bill’s training. Bill began to expand his training to include adaptations of his exercises for children and adults with varying levels of physical abilities. He also began working with clients, both children and adults, who experienced trauma.
The 3 key principles of Bal-A-Vis-X are:
Visual Prioritization, Rhythmic Predictability and Parameters of Behavior.
The exercises require multiple mid-line crossings in three dimensions and the steady pace or rhythm is created from proper physical techniques with an auditory component providing a strong foundation. "Bal-A-Vis-X enables the whole mind-body system to experience the symmetrical flow of a pendulum." (Bill Hubert - creator, Bal-A-Vis-X.com) The exercises strengthen the foundation for learning through rhythm and movement. Patterned, repetitive rhythmic activity, such as Bal-A-Vis-X, provides multi-sensory input through the lower areas of your brain (brain stem) to prepare your brain and make it accessible to relational interactions, rewards and higher cortical thinking. Rhythm is involved in so many aspects of our daily life including speech, coordination, heart rate and walking to name just a few.
The rhythmic and integrative exercises of Bal-A-Vis-X are effective and beneficial for students who:
have a learning disability/reading challenges - they gain improved eye tracking skills and improved integration of both brain hemispheres leading to improved cognitive function
have ADD/ADHD - they become less impulsive, increased focus and attention is noted and ‘pause’ is instilled in the brain-body system
have poor balance and coordination - they experience a decrease in anxiety and improved gross motor and cognitive skills
are in regular education classes - they complete classwork with less effort
are perfectionists - they experience less anxiety and stress
struggle with verbal instruction - benefit from Bal-A-Vis-X because of the strong auditory component and rhythmic predictability within each exercise as well as the internal rhythm that is created from precise physical technique. They learn the nuances relating to pronunciation and cadence of speech.
are on the autism spectrum - they experience an improvement in motor skills and are able to generalize these skills as well as improved focus, attention, eye tracking and social skills.
Even though a student may have 20/20 vision, their eyes may not work together and track efficiently when reading (ocular motility/binocularity). Bal-A-Vis-X aides a student in noting details by improving visual perceptual and tracking skills and can address figure ground discrimination disorder. Click here to read about the improvements in reading fluency and comprehension from a mother’s perspective of an 11 year old 5th grade student.
Academics can be layered over Bal-A-Vis-X exercises which augments retention of novel information. The repetitive nature of the exercises can be used to practice spelling words, counting, memorizing multiplication facts, speeches and improve reading comprehension and fluency.
There are approximately 300 Bal-A-Vis-X exercises that range from simple to complex using only one bag or up to 4 balls simultaneously for individual exercises and 6 balls for partner exercises. Bal-A-Vis-X provides rhythmic predictability with repetition of movement patterns within each exercise. The rhythm is created internally through proper execution of physical technique. When the exercises are executed with proper technique and working in pairs or groups, synchronicity and resonance are the result.
The exercises can be modified and adapted when working with children and adults with varying levels of physical ability. Bal-A-Vis-X benefits children with learning differences, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, developmental delay, autism, sensory processing disorder, ADHD/ADD, auditory processing disorder, and other neurological diagnoses.
Adults also benefit from Bal-A-Vis-X. The exercises can be utilized as a physical form of mindfulness to ease stress and anxiety. Bal-A-Vis-X benefits those with balance disorders or diagnoses such as Stroke, Traumatic Brain Injury, Parkinson’s, Alzheimers/Dementia and others. The clients experience improvements in their ability to walk with less assistance, ease of transitions to sit and stand, and improvements in fine motor control which results in greater independence to complete daily self care. Individuals with PTSD also benefit from Bal-A-Vis-X exercises. The use of both sides of the body (bilateral integration) and the hands and feet, while completing the exercises, creates an integrated state to promote self regulation. It is also beneficial to complete the exercises prior to cognitive behavioral therapy for those experiencing PTSD.