Shelagh Robinson Mirror Read Blog 24: Mirror Neurons and Mirror Reading

When MTV gets involved, they call it “Mirror Neuron Dance Party.”
It’s about stimulating the network of brain cells that fire when we empathize and identify with the actions of someone else. It seems that dancing with others in mirrored rooms amplifies mirror neuron activation – Enter neuroscientists V. Ramachandran and E.L. Seckel, and VH1, to film this new treatment modality for The Surreal Life: Medical Hypotheses.

Mirror Neuron Play – whether mirror reading, dancing or mimic-ing – is experiencing a surge of interest among parents with children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Recent research indicates that mirror neurons may be less active in children ‘on the spectrum.’ The focus is on reviving dormant pathways through different sorts of reflective-interactive games to encourage experiences of empathy.

Seeing oneself next to another person, from an unusual perspective, can be powerful and exciting. Magical even. In my experience of Mirror Reading with children on the ASD spectrum, the books are easy-to-read roads that lead to unique mirror games, including face-pointing, laugh-dancing, and action-eyes. Smiles are inevitable.

I recently spoke with Krista Hewson, BMT, MTA, a Pediatric Music Therapist in Edmonton. Over the past 10 years, she has spent considerable time working with children on the Autism spectrum.  She mentions that she uses mirror games therapeutically, often in bonding activities between these children and their parents.

Krista remarks, “When I work with ASD children who have difficulty with face-to-face eye contact, using a mirror seems to help them to look much longer.  They appear to be able to imitate movements with less difficulty. The reality is that the mirror is just more interesting and motivating than looking directly at me.”

She speculates on the “buffering” effect that seems to diminish the intensity of looking for these children, making it less stressful.  “The novelty of seeing themselves in a mirror with me allows them to experience themselves in a different way.”

What I know is that for me, reading with children in mirrors transforms it into a ridiculous activity.  And there is nothing as attention-getting as that.

We here at Mirror Read are tremendously interested in hearing from you who are playing in mirrors, whether with books, or hand puppets or your own special spin.

There are layers to mirrors beyond the visible. Please let us know what you find.

3 Responses to Shelagh Robinson Mirror Read Blog 24: Mirror Neurons and Mirror Reading

  1. josie wallenius says:

    My first look in this mirror. I would be interested in the number of funded Autism centers (such as in my own city of Thunder Bay, ON) focused on such research, and who is doing organized studies with the children in their community. I guess I could contact the Canadian Central Committee and see if they are, or have thought of, doing it.

    • shelagh says:

      Hi, Thanks for your comment.
      I, too, would like to know who else is doing research on these topics in Canada and around the world. Please, be my guest and inquire locally and let me know what you find. In the meantime, I will continue my own explorations and let you know the results as they come in.
      Any investigators looking into mirrors? Professional or not, please let us know.

    • shelagh says:

      Great to hear from you. Please do feel free to contact local autism and literacy centers to learn more about how they incorporate mirror reading, and reversals, into their programs. Then please let me know…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

4818 Suite B Parc Montreal, Quebec H2V 4E6

(c) a detailed description of goods or services under the contract
Mirror Read eBook - Requires an iPad, iPhone or iPod equipped with OS4.1 for download
Mirror Read Softcover Book - spiral bound, rounded corners. 6 inches x 8 inches.
TRUCK/ CAMION: 105 grams

(d) an itemized list of the prices of the goods or services
Mirror Read eBook - $1.99 plus Canadian Federal Tax (7.5%)
Mirror Read Softcover Book - $11.99 plus Canadian Federal Tax (7.5%)

(e) a description of any possible additional charges payable to a third party
There is a one-time fee charged upon purchase unless extra shipping and handling fees apply to orders outside the continent of North America.

(f) the total amount to be paid by the consumer
There may be customs duties and brokerage fees, whose amounts cannot reasonably be determined at time of ordering, which may be included in the final price.

(g)Mirror Read's "principal obligation" (i.e., delivering merchandise):
Will be performed upon ordering, or within three business days, depending upon stock. Please contact in order to cancel your order. A cancellation fee of $3.00 will be applied to orders on softcover books to cover the costs of returns. No exchanges to merchandise are available.