Q&A on Brain Training for Kids


What are the major causes of Learning Disabilities?

About 85 to 90 percent of learning difficulties are due to poor underlying learning skills. These skills include:

  • Attention/Concentration: the ability to stay on task or ignore distractions. For example, continuing to read a book while another group is in a discussion.
  • Phonetic awareness: the ability to blend sounds, segment (unglue) sounds, and analyze sounds. Problems with reading new words or spelling errors in writing result from poor phonetic awareness.
  • Memory: the ability to recall short or long term information. For example, copying from a board (short term) or taking a final history exam (long term).
  • Comprehension: the ability to understand.
  • Visualization: the ability to create mental pictures. For example, seeing "in the mind" a math word problem before trying to solve it.
  • Processing Speed: the ability to handle and process information quickly.

  Are learning difficulties due to a lack of instruction?

  •  This is easy to determine. If you or your child is able to understand and perform as others do with extra help or tutoring, then the cause of the struggle is poor or inadequate instruction. But if good performance is achieved only after long hours, sweat, or many mistakes, then the problem is deeper.

Is the lack of motivation the cause of learning problems?

  • Very few enter school or a job not wanting to succeed. It is only after they find it difficult, experience failure, or are ridiculed that they avoid the activities that give them pain. In other words, a lack of motivation is usually the result of a learning problem – not the cause.

Are learning difficulties inherited?

  • Heredity does play a role, but it is minor. It is generally believed that between 40% and 70% of our mental abilities are learned, not inherited. Therefore, we can accomplish far more if we stop blaming the problems on genes, which we can't change, and start enhancing the skills that are learned and can be changed.

Can a child with normal intelligence have a problem with learning?

  • Absolutely. IQ is only an average of many different learning skills, which means it's possible for someone who has "normal" intelligence to have scored high on some skills and low on others. And if those "low" scores are in the skills required for reading or math, then reading or math achievement will be low even though IQ is "normal."

If learning skills are learned, then why are they not learned in school?

  • Every school activity a child does has the potential to further develop an underlying learning skill. But this will only happen if the activity is challenging. School lessons are often either too hard (frustrating) or too easy (boring) because children seldom have equal learning skills. Therefore, to make significant improvement in these skills, individual attention is required.

    Many schools simply don't have the time or funds to provide this very intensive and structured one-on-one training. Also, most teachers tend to teach to the child's stronger skills. By avoiding the weak skills, they don't get developed. The result may be a life-long learning handicap.

What is a training task like? 

  • Brain training procedures are made up of tasks that are designed to meet specific goals. The tasks are related, make repetitive demands on a deficient skill, and progressively increase in difficulty. This is a process-specific approach to training (as opposed to a general stimulation approach). A process-specific approach targets the same function systematically and repetitively with related tasks.

Do the results last?

  • Yes. The skills developed are used each day the student is in school or at work. They are constantly being used and therefore don't regress. This retention is reflected in a study that showed that 98.7% of the one year follow-up cognitive test scores were at least as high as they were at the completion of their brain training programs (specific to PACE)

Can you tell about Processing and Cognitive Enhancement (PACE) Program?

  • Yes, here is a very quick 11 point overview:
  • PACE is based on the best scientific research available and is continually modified to incorporate new scientific data.
  • PACE targets and trains those skills that are most likely to have a meaningful impact on learning performance and academic abilities.
  • PACE is provided individually to achieve significant results quickly.
  • PACE consists of sequenced procedures to challenge – not bore or frustrate – the student.
  • PACE is provided on a one-on-one basis to allow immediate feedback (error correction and positive reinforcement).
  • PACE improves the student's self-esteem by allowing him or her to actually see the difference in his or her own performance.
  • PACE drives new skills to the subconscious so that they become habitual and automatic.
  • PACE procedures appear to be non-academic so that they are different from the schoolwork with which the student may have had negative experiences.
  • PACE develops meaningful skills that are used in the student's daily activities so that there is a high level of retention.
  • PACE produces valuable results (there is a high return) when considering committed effort, time, and finances.
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