Dubai: Eight-year-old Vanuja Kumarasiri doesn’t falter even once as he reads a hand-written note. So what’s the big deal, one might ask. At his age any child can do that. But blindfolded?
“Yes,” Vanuja smiles sheepishly.
Across the table Madhav Mohanakrishnan, 9, and Tharshini Jayakumar, 10, manage the same feat. Madhav reads the numbers of a credit card while Tharshini draws a snowman, adds a dash of colour before neatly cutting out the figure with a pair of scissors.
Stunned, we try the red patches on our own eyes. We see nothing.
So how are the kids able to see through them? Is it trickery or are these kids exceptionally gifted?
“It has been made possible by a technique called middle-brain activation,” said Gopakumar P.T, Founder Director of SIP which has so far trained 60 Dubai children to use their brains in extraordinary ways as part of the Achiever’s Mind Attitude (AMA) programme.
“The human brain is a power house that remains under-utilised. Even a genius like Einstein could use only five per cent of his brain. Programmes like AMA help children maximise the potential of their mind and brain. It activates their senses so strongly they’re able to do things with their eyes closed,” he said.
Gopakumar runs the UAE and Oman franchise of the AMA programme which originated in Malaysia. His SIP Academy which aims to enhance the skills of children through mid-brain activation has been licensed by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority.
Dr Anamika Vajpeyi, Clinical Psychologist, UniCare Medical Centre, Dubai, said the technique increases efficiency. “It optimises the function of our middle brain, which is the ‘bridge’ between the left and right part of the brain. When activated it strengthens creativity and memory and also increases self-confidence and the ability to concentrate. Children between six and 12 years are ideal candidates for midbrain activation.”
Gopakumar rubbished the insinuation that the technique could have an adverse effect on children. “Increased use of the mind helps a child become emotionally mature. Any emotionally mature person will have a positive attitude. Lessons learnt from AMA help in practical life. People tend to brood and worry when they have a problem. These skills help minds to act fast and find solutions,” he said.
Dr Vajpeyi said parents and children should approach such programmes with realistic expectations and practise them in moderation. “I am not comfortable with claims that children will become geniuses overnight. As a psychologist I would like to see the possibility of exploring such techniques in students challenged by learning difficulties, autism or ADHD.”
The AMA workshop which runs for two months involves a Neuro linguistic programme (NLP) and costs around Dh4,000 per child.