Coming from a background in teaching with a great deal of experience in special education, I was originally very skeptical about brain training and it’s advertised effects on learning. After spending time working at LearningRx, logging dozens of hours researching the brain and reading stacks of brain books, I am definitely a believer and here’s why…
1. Seeing the successes
Watching a child who hates school, struggles to pay attention and has weak grades change into a smiling student with A’s, confidence and an enjoyment of learning is magical. I have seen the pre and post-tests of clients with astounding growth in their cognitive skills and heard the clients describe how much a program has helped their lives. Seeing these results first hand makes me a believer.
2. Understanding “Use it or Lose it”
Brain training does for mental abilities what exercise does for the body. Muscles need to be worked in new and more difficult ways to grow, whether it is the brain or the bicep. With the right training, our brain is able to grow, adapt, and improve on skills that we may not have been born with. Brain training is like have a personal trainer for the most important muscle in your body.
3. Focusing on the underlying problems
Much of what I did in a special education classroom or a tutoring session centered on the problems a student was having and ways to make school easier for him, but never did I think about fixing the underlying problem. We gave the problem a label like ADHD and treated it in various ways, but we didn’t try to fix the root cause. Improving the brain’s ability to process and learn information through cognitive skill training does focus on the underlying causes of attention or learning problems to make the problem, and often the label, go away.
4. Improving cognitive skills means academic success in all subjects
Too often I tutored students that I now know didn’t need tutoring. For example, when a child has a problem with memory, re-teaching the subject 10 times without fixing the actual memory problem does no good. (Though it does keep tutoring centers profitable!) When the difficulty the brain has with memory is corrected, that helps math, reading comprehension, and all other subjects. Cognitive skills are not subject-specific; increasing the brain’s ability to learn and process information will have far reaching results in all school subjects and in multiples areas of life.
5. A little confidence goes a long way
One of the things I like best about actual brain training centers like LearningRx (rather than computer programs) is the personal one-to-one attention the students receive. Just like having a personal trainer in the gym, having a brain trainer that can remind you of your successes, push you to new goals, and celebrate your achievements is so important. Watching a student and trainer high-five over even the smallest improvement paves the way to bigger gains.
If you would like to see more about what brain training can do for you or your child, come in for a cognitive skills assessment and a sample session. It can make all the difference in school, learning, and in life.