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speaker

Nathan
Wallis

Renowned neuroscience educator

Profile

Host of the documentary “All in the Mind”, and co-host of the TV Series “The Secret life of Girls”, Nathan Wallis, Aotearoa’s renowned neuroscience educator, has been captivating audiences over 250 times per year to sell out events in New Zealand, Australia, & China.

With a profound reputation as a lively and engaging speaker, Nathan uses humour and plain language to condense twenty-five years of neuroscience research into his unique ‘tell you how it is’ style. You’ll be absolutely captivated and walk away jam-packed with more than a few “ah-ha” moments.

Nathan’s professional background includes being an early childhood teacher, child therapist, social service manager, university lecturer and neuroscience trainer. Nathan is also a father of three and foster father to many.

Expertise
Talking Points

The Developing Brain

This talk is a summary of all of Nathan’s main presentations.

In this presentation, Nathan provides an informative narrative on how our day-to-day interactions with children and young people, significantly the early years, plays a critical role in defining later outcomes for our children. In this talk, Nathan will guide you through the stages of brain development from the first 1000 days and into adulthood. He will reveal little tricks that will hopefully make parenting easier, and help you open up communication with your child. You will walk away with a much better understanding of how both your child's brain and your own brain works.

The First 1000 days

This is the foundation talk for all of Nathan’s other talks, where you learn about the structure of your brain and how this impacts on everything you say and do. To understand how this structure comes about means re-examining your early life and the first 1000 days.

The First 1000 Days of your life will shape what kind of person you will turn into. In contrast to what your parents believed, it’s not just about your genes and it’s not about learning alphabets, numbers or colours. It’s about being in a safe, loving and interactive environment. The more love and positive interaction you experience in your first 1000 days of life, the more developed your brain will be (far more than secondary school ever will!). Nathan will provide a summary of the latest research and everything a parent, grandparent or whanau needs to know.

Engage Your Brain

This talk focuses on the social/emotional aspects of your brain development - how feeling impacts our thinking. While the times that this brain really has the steering wheel is 2-8 and again in the middle of adolescence, it is relevant to all learners that want to feel engaged, enthusiastic and passionate about what they do.
The fundamental mistake New Zealand society has made over the last few decades, is thinking that a two year-old is a little seven year-old and that the earlier we get ready to be seven, by learning numeracy and literacy, the better off we will be. That’s just not how our brain develops. A large part of intelligence is problem-solving and problem-solving is hugely dependent on creativity. Creativity largely comes online, between the ages of two and seven, in a free-play, child-lead environment. It’s development is inhibited if we focus instead on seven year old formalised literacy and numeracy.
This talk supports the research behind play based learning. Learning is so much easier when the learner is engaged.

Change your Brain - Change your Life!

‘Change Your Brain - Change Your Life!’ takes a broader perspective than Nathan’s previous talks. This new discussion explores the inherent ability in everyone’s brain to be able to change the ‘wiring’ of their brain and thereby improve their level of happiness, well-being and overall quality of life.

Nathan’s message is that we are not subject to the biology dictated by the brain, but rather, it’s actually an interactive process - the biology of the brain is also dictated by our thoughts and actions. Or alternatively, our brains are voice activated and we are far more in control of our brains than we realise.

This talk will update you (in Nathan’s usual plain, direct, ‘southern-man style’ kind of way!) on Neuroplasticity - or the brains ability to change itself - and how to do this.

This is the same information Nathan shares with trauma experts and all manner of professionals across New Zealand, Australia and China. This topic will be of interest to anyone who is committed to self-development and improving the quality of their lives. It will also be of interest to anyone working with trauma, or in roles helping other people improve the quality of their lives.

Teen Brain

There are 6000-year-old hieroglyphics carved into the pyramids depicting the teenagers of the time as being self-obsessed, defiant and unmotivated - that’s sounding pretty familiar don’t you think?

During adolescence (which is a lot longer than you think by the way!) part of your teenage brain “shuts for renovations”. This is the part of the brain responsible for controlling your teenager’s moods, for understanding consequences and for thinking about the well-being of others. So whilst you can’t expect lots of those behaviours during adolescence, there are ways that you can enhance and maximise the times when they can.

Understanding the changes that are taking place for your teen will help you to navigate successfully these important and formative years.

Anxiety and Depression

Many parents are concerned about the impact of things such as Covid on their child’s development. This talk aims to address these concerns.
The three most important factors in mitigating the effects of anxiety and depression are: relationships, relationships, relationships!

In this talk, Nathan discusses the fact that both genes and environment play a part in the likelihood of a child experiencing a level of anxiety that causes concern. There are many risk and resiliency factors that can be looked at when considering the appropriate way to respond to maximise your child’s positive outcomes. If a child suffers a trauma or has several risk factors (e.g living with domestic violence) you can mitigate the negative effects of this by increasing a child’s resiliency factors.
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