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The first-ever virtual Breakthroughs International Conference 2021 hosted by Malaysia has just concluded, with many accolades from the hundreds of participants from several countries from all over the world

As Annabelle Thomas, the emcee, announced during the opening ceremony, “Our mission is to transform lives through kinesiology-based programmes, fostering the ability to thrive through life’s challenges.”

Participants learned from renowned experts in the fields of education, kinesiology, health and wellness at different intervals over the four days of the Conference.

In welcoming the 215 virtual participants who signed up for BTiC 2021, organising chair Phoebe Long added that, “We are a family that moves, plays and grows together internationally. We are here to share real-life experiences and proven techniques to revisit the fundamental meaning of “Move, Play and Grow.” And indeed, there was much practical and generous sharing among the participants.

During the opening ceremony of the Conference, President of Malaysia Brain Gym® Association Goh Siew Siew welcomed all the participants and profusely thanked all those who made the event possible.

Following that, Executive Director of Breakthroughs International Kari Coady gave an overview of the five main programmes under Breakthroughs International, which the Conference sessions covered:

  • Brain Gym®, founded by Paul and Gail Dennison
  • Life Enhancement Acupressure Protocols (LEAP), founded by Charles Krebb
  • Developmental Kinesiology, founded by Renate Wennekes
  • Mark, Get Set and Go, founded by Sharon Plasket, and
  • Movement Based Learning™, founded by Cecilia Koester

Kari also introduced the six board members and five administrative staff of Breakthroughs International and thanked them for keeping the organisation working effectively.

To round off the opening ceremony, HANDS Percussion gave an astounding seven-member performance of traditional Malaysian drumming, which was a fusion of modern choreography and rhythm. It was a feast for the eyes and ears.

Highlights of BTiC 2021

The various speakers at the Conference covered many aspects of the successful implementation of Brain Gym®, kinesiology, acupressure and movement in all aspects of life for neurotypical individuals and those with special needs. The introduction to new concepts and programmes opened new avenues of intervention and hope for many. For those interested in research, successful studies presented provided guidelines for continuation of research in the fields of Brain Gym®, kinesiology, acupressure and movement.

One of the highlights was the keynote presentation by Paul and Gail Dennison, founders of the Brain Gym® Programme, sharing Brain Gym® Play and Games for Kids of All Ages, discovering why humans – especially children, and especially during virtual experiences – benefit from staying active. They shared many creative and fun ways of combining Brain Gym® activities with other simple games, creative-imaginative stories, bringing more play, joy and movement into learning and daily life.

A solemn tribute

At the end of the Conference, Kari once again addressed the participants, this time in a more solemn tone.

She paid tribute to Glenys Leadbeater, one of the pioneers of Brain Gym® who passed away prematurely on the first day of the Conference after a brave battle with cancer.

Kari reminisced how Glenys had a “Travelling Heart of Hope” that she gave to people who needed healing. A heart-shaped locket on a necklace, the Travelling Heart of Hope had made its way back to Glenys. She then passed it on to Kari at a time when she was in need.

With this heart-warming sharing, Kari recounted Glenys’ generous and giving nature and her intention of carrying on the legacy of Brain Gym® and kinesiology after her. We will always remember Glenys and continue to live her legacy.

Closing words of thanks and hope

During the closing ceremony, Prof Datuk Dr Yasmin Binti Hussain, Dean of the Faculty of Education & Liberal Studies of City University Malaysia and former Director of Special Education in the Ministry of Education Malaysia, addressed the Conference participants.

She expressed her gratitude to BTiC 2021 for bringing together educators from the kinesiology background from around the world virtually in Malaysia. She acknowledged that the Conference was different than most international conferences she had attended because it was not just academic but also contained actual experiences of working with students.

Prof Datuk Dr Yasmin also proclaimed that she was impressed that children, especially those with special education–needs, were being taught tools to overcome emotional stress which can often be a hindrance to learning.

“We believe that all children can learn,” said Prof Datuk Dr Yasmin. “We do not discriminate.”

In her closing words, Organising Chair Phoebe Long put it succinctly: “This is the beginning of a life mission: implementing all the wisdom, techniques and skills into our daily life. My heart is full of gratitude, love and hugs to all of the keynote speakers, workshop presenters, participants and technical team who came together to make this happen.”

Some testimonials of gratitude

Many of our participants and presenters left words of thanks for the Conference on our post-Conference Facebook group. Following are some of them:

“Thank you for taking a risk. Thank you for exploring the novel concept of a virtual interactive Conference with a balance of familiar faces and topics. Thank you for flexing and adjusting throughout the four days. The experience will continue as I (and others) watch missed sessions, grab handouts, seek out resources, and interconnect. Love and gratitude to the committee and each of us who joined the experience!” – Cindy Goldade

“A heartfelt thank you, Phoebe and team, for the absolutely spectacular Breakthroughs International Conference! I was blown away by the amazing presenters, the variety of wisdom given so freely and the knowledge received!… So grateful for the kindness and care you gave all of us!” – Michele Hansen

“Today is the last day of the Conference. I just can’t believe that we’ve reached this day so fast. There has been a great deal of knowledge sharing and so much of learning for me personally. It’s been such a pleasure to hear and learn from such incredible presenters. All days have been so enriching, meeting so many people across the globe. Thank you to Breakthroughs International Malaysia team for organising it so well.” – Arveen Singh

“I appreciate this Conference and all your efforts a lot. The expertise and the organisation were exceptional. From my experience, I know what it means. So, great respect. You are an example of what teamwork can create and bring into the world. Thank you.” – Renate Wennekes

“Totally taken up by Dr Tan Syot Yen’s gregariousness… I could see participants laughing and chuckling away.” – Ang Nei Lim

“Enjoyed all presenters’ content. Thanks to all presenters and the BTiC team!” – Rachel Lim

“What an amazing experience you have provided for us all Phoebe, Yu Chiet and your wonderful team. Such a success! I am honoured that I was invited to take part. Now you can relax and rest, knowing how many people have benefitted from your dedication, and how many people, in turn, will benefit from them. I loved the energy from the virtual experience. What a warm group of people… Inspiring!” – Viv Hailwood

The next Breakthroughs International Conference is scheduled from 29 Sept to 2 Oct 2022 in France. We hope to see everyone there!



For a limited time, registered participants of BTiC 2021 may find recordings of the opening and closing ceremonies – as well as keynote and presentation recordings – in the BTiC Malaysia 2021 Post-Event Gathering Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/btic2021post