Attention Skills Category - Archive

Baby girl playing outdoorsWhen TV newscaster Diane Sawyer was asked the secret of her success, she said, “I think the one lesson I’ve learned is there is no substitute for paying attention.”

If you struggle with ADHD, however, that’s a lot easier said than done.

About 6 million children and teens have been diagnosed with ADHD, with an estimated four percent of U.S. adults struggling with the disorder as well.

The good news is that support and education help. Plus, there are things you can do. In fact, if you’re looking for something you can do to help yourself or a child who struggles, two studies on attention are worth, well, paying attention to.

Both studies indicate that attention can be trained. In other words, attention can be improved through exercises for the brain.

The first study, conducted by Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, used fMRI technology to measure senior adults’ ability to filter out distractions. The question on the table was this: Could 8 hours of brain exercises improve senior adults’ ability to focus in the midst of distractions?

The eight hours of brain exercises included one-on-one mental workouts and group brain exercise programs.

“We used to think that with age, brain cells shriveled up, died, and that was that,” explains Paul Laurienti, lead scientist on the study. “Now we know that even an older brain can grow new, stronger connections.” Laurienti and his team discovered that the brain exercises did, indeed, improve participants’ ability to focus.

And on the opposite end of the spectrum, another study came to the same conclusion—that attention can be trained—this time through research done with 11-month old infants. After training, the babies were able to focus attention for longer periods of time, and also ignore distractions better.

Even more significantly, the trained babies also focused better in a real-world-setting, when they were playing with toys.

Sam Wass of the University of London’s Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development, highlighted the relationship between attention and success when he said, “The connection is an intuitively obvious one: the better a child is at concentrating…the better that child is going to learn.”

How much can brain exercises impact brain performance and attention? LearningRx, a company that specializes in brain training, says that ADHD is the most common diagnosis with which people come to them for help. They team students with one-on-one with personal trainers for mental exercises that strengthen three kinds of attention. Improvements are measured scientifically by independent pre- and post-training testing, and they are often dramatic.

If you struggle with attention—or you love someone who is struggling—don’t give up. Learn about ADHD. Research your options. Get help. Life really can be easier and simpler.

October is ADHD Awareness Month, and Diane Sawyer was right. In the grand scheme of life, there really isn’t any substitute for paying attention.

 

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Mom says, after brain training, her son thinks quicker and has a much “better handle on life.”

LearningRx Reviews - Matthew: Student-of-the-Year“I was at the end of my rope.”

Those are the words of one mom, Jackie, after years of seeking help for her son. She explains, “We had him evaluated by psychologists. He had years of occupational therapy. We tried everything from brushing to joint compression. He started to be medicated and we saw some improvement in focus and attention, but many issues continued to be a problem. It was like putting a Band-Aid on something, but the underlying problem was always a problem.”

Jackie’s 9-year-old son, Matthew, had been diagnosed with ADHD, sensory integration dysfunction, and oppositional defiance disorder. His mother says he was miserable, anxious and depressed. She adds, “It was affecting his social relationships and his behavior in school. At home he was volatile, disruptive and incredibly difficult to deal with. I was beyond myself in frustration.”

Still searching for help, Jackie visited a dyslexia website and found a link to LearningRx. There she discovered a video of a news story about two kids with ADHD who had been helped so dramatically by LearningRx brain training programs that they were no longer on ADHD medication.

Jackie remembers her response after watching the video: “I sat there and cried because I thought, ‘There could be something I didn’t know about that could help my son.'”

LearningRx uses intense mental exercise—done one-on-one with a brain training coach—to stimulate the brain to change in ways that improve thinking, reading, learning, attention and more. Testing before and after the program measures changes in brain performance (in fact, LearningRx brain training is proven to raise IQ an average of 15 points!).

Clients and their families tell stories that support the statistics—even if getting started is hard. In the beginning, Jackie says the brain training sessions were difficult because they forced Matthew to face things that were hard for him. Even Matthew admits, “I hated it. I would storm outside. I would have fits, hide under a table.”

What kept the family returning week after week? Matthew’s relationship with his brain trainer was one of the keys. Matthew explains, “Adam is a really fun guy. He’s not like the kind of guy who is all serious. He jokes around. He still made me do it, but we had fun.”

The LearningRx results for this family were life changing. Jackie reports that “we have absolutely no oppositional behavior from our son anymore.” She says Matthew is having much greater success in life, not only academically but socially, too.

“Socially, he’s so much more accepted now because he gets the rules of how to act around other people, how to be accountable, how to not demand. He’s polite, cooperative. He has such a better handle on life.” She adds that her son is thinking quicker now, and is more capable of articulating this thoughts and feelings. “That’s helped his behavior tremendously, because now he can say what he feels and not just explode physically. His brain is able to connect the dots so much better.”

Matthew says he went from failing classes and being bullied, to getting As and Bs and having “a bunch of friends.”

Jackie says the six months Matthew spent working with a LearningRx brain trainer “changed his life. How do you say thank you for that? It’s one of the best investments we’ve ever made for our son.”

Watch Matthew, Jackie and others share their LearningRx reviews on video:

  • This family’s video testimonial won the LearningRx 2013 Student of the Year Video Contest. Watch Matthew’s and Jackie’s video here.
  • Kaiya, 13, struggled so much with reading and math her mother says that, before LearningRx, it was a struggle to get through each day. Since LearningRx, Kaiya is no longer behind in math, her grades and her confidence have soared, and she’s the first (instead of the last) to catch onto new choreography in her dance classes. Kaiya was a finalist in the LearningRx 2013 Student of the Year Video Contest. Watch Kaiya’s video here.
  • Candy, a college grad, woke up from a routine knee surgery and found that her memory had been erased—she didn’t even remember attending the Ivy League school where she obtained her degree! Before brain training, Candy’s cognitive skills were so weak that doctors told her family she would never be able to hold down a job or live on her own. Since brain training, Candy went back to school, earned an MBA, manages her own finances and is preparing to make a career move to another state! Candy was a finalist in the LearningRx 2013 Student of the Year Video Contest. Watch Candy’s video here.

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Mother Enrolls Three of Her Children in LearningRx Brain Training

“What if I hate it?”

Ten-year-old Luke waved the question like a bright red flag. His mom, Julie, had just told him he’d be starting brain training at LearningRx and he was dubious about the idea, even though his brother and sister were in the same program and loved it!

His first day at the LearningRx Center, Luke frowned as he headed off with his trainer for their first session. Waiting in the reception area, Julie thought about the crazy journey that had led her family to try brain training in the first place.

Two years earlier, Julie’s oldest son Joshua, then 11, had been diagnosed with ADHD and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). Searching for answers, Julie visited internet bulletin boards and consulted doctors. Once she paid $800 for testing that provided labels but no solutions.

Hearing about LearningRx, Julie was curious. Could targeted mental exercise really stimulate the brain to strengthen neural pathways, to the point of raising a kid’s IQ and giving him better skills for school and for life? If so, could it help Joshua? It was worth a try.

Within weeks of starting the program, Joshua was focusing better than ever. Math tests that used to take 90 minutes were now taking 20 minutes or less. And while Joshua’s oppositional behavior still  flared, Julie realized that LearningRx was removing her son’s frustration with learning so other issues could be isolated and dealt with more effectively.

So when they noticed similar behaviors in their seven-year-old daughter, Julie and her husband didn’t hesitate. They enrolled Danielle at LearningRx, too.

A week into the program, Danielle—who had always struggled with reading and writing—sat down and wrote a beautiful story about a family of horses. She also  performed in a Christmas musical, another first! By now, Joshua was taking more initiative around the house, washing dishes, vacuuming and organizing. Julie realized that brain training was giving her children confidence and motivation they’d never had before. Now she wanted the same for Luke, and then for their third son, Caleb. Julie could see that even she and her husband could benefit from brain training!

Julie’s thoughts were interrupted as Luke, done with his session, approached her. He was wearing a huge grin and carrying his LearningRx backpack filled with brain training times, cards and tools. “Mom!” he said, “I loved it!”

Yes, life is an crazy journey, alright. Julie thanked God she and her husband had found the right partners to help them equip their kids for the trip.

 

Photo credit: Julie Worthy

 

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Ten-Year-Old Gymnast Wins National President’s Day Contest

Ten-year-old Taylor Peterson didn’t want to compete in gymnastics this year. She started gymnastics when she was three, and loved it, but after seven years it was time to start competing, and she just didn’t have the confidence to continue.

“It was so hard,” says her mom Kim Peterson. “You have this little girl that you know is awesome, but she doesn’t know it. She couldn’t see what we could see – all that potential and just how good she really was. She just said she felt horrible and didn’t want to compete.”

Then Taylor started a personalized, one-on-one brain training program at LearningRx to help with her school work. Taylor had always worked incredibly hard in school, yet she always struggled too, even with extra help.

“Her teachers always just told me to be patient – that it would click,” says Kim. “They would tell me that she was the hardest worker in the class, and that eventually she’ll get it because she’s a really smart kid.” But when it still hadn’t clicked by fourth grade, Taylor’s teacher warned the Petersons that they needed to find the problem and fix it soon to avoid a future of escalating struggles and learning problems.

Cognitive skills testing found the problem and confirmed the Petersons’ suspicion that Taylor had never developed the phonemic awareness skills necessary to be a strong reader. Brain training at LearningRx changed all that. Homework is now easier and faster, Taylor’s getting better grades, and for the first time ever she’s performing at grade level.

“LearningRx brain training helped me so much,” says Taylor. “I used to study spelling words so much every single night, and now I just study one night and get good grades. I like school more now that it’s easier.”

At the end of training, testing confirmed impressive improvements in Taylor’s cognitive skills, equating to a general IQ increase of 18 points. But the Petersons didn’t need the test results to confirm the improvements. They noticed the first big change within weeks of starting the program when Taylor’s confidence soared and she came to her Mom and said, “I’m ready to compete!”

Taylors’ newly strengthened attention skills gave her such intense focus under pressure that other moms marveled at it. Her stronger memory skills helped her quickly remember new routines during one practice instead of writing them down and reviewing dozens of times at home. And at the end of the season, Taylor claimed the top spot on the podium – first place at state in the all-around for level four gymnastics.

“It’s so emotional,” says Kim. “She’s there because of LearningRx. You changed her little life. I fear that she would’ve turned into a lost little soul, and now she’s so confident and excelling in so many different areas. It’s such a relief that she’s not struggling in school anymore. It’s just been awesome.”

Taylor demonstrates her improved attention and memory skills and her champion-level gymnastics talent in this winning video for the annual LearningRx President’s Day Video Contest. Taylor recites all 44 U.S. presidents, forward and backward, in the 31-second clip and won an iPad, and another title, for the effort.

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ADHD and Procrastination

The problem has been defined as “voluntarily delaying an intended course of action despite expecting to be worse off for the delay.” Sound familiar?

Why do we procrastinate? According to one team of experts—made up of Drs. Joseph Ferrari and Timothy Pychyl—and quoted on psychologytoday.com, there are three basic types of procrastinators:

1. Arousal types or thrill seekers who look for the euphoric rush of getting something done at the last minute.

2. Avoiders who may be acting out of fear of failure, or otherwise avoiding painful emotions they have attached to the task at hand.

3. Decisional procrastinators, who struggle with—you guessed it!—making decisions.

And while the vote is split on whether procrastination is learned or biological or both, everyone agrees there’s a proven link between procrastination and ADHD.

If you struggle with procrastination, time management strategies can help you compensate for poor attention and decision-making skills. (Check out this slideshow filled with tips to help you prioritize and organize your life better!)

A growing number of kids and adults struggling with ADHD and/or procrastination, however, are turning to personal, one-on-one brain training. Brain training strengthens weak attention skills that are associated with ADHD. In fact, the most common diagnosis among families seeking help at LearningRx is ADHD.

Brain training doesn’t just alleviate the symptoms of ADHD or compensate for the weak skills that are creating the problem. Instead, it strengthens the underlying brain skills of attention and decision, eliminating the problem altogether. In fact, LearningRx, the premiere personal brain training company in the world, says that more than a third of kids and adults who come to them on ADHD meds are able to stop or reduce medications before even completing the 12 to 32 week brain training programs.

Want to get more done in your life? Click here to find a LearningRx Brain Training Center near you, then give them a call and ask for a free brain training demonstration. 

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ADHD Awareness Month

September is National ADHD Awareness Month, and in their ongoing quest for answers, researchers continue to discover new things about the common diagnosis, estimated to affect up to 16% of school aged children and close to 5% of adults. In the United States alone, roughly 8.8 million adults are thought to struggle with the condition.

A new study has found a link between adult ADHD and a certain form of dementia.

After Alzheimer’s, DLB is the second most common form of dementia. DLB stands for, of all things, “Dementia with Lewy Bodies.” Lewy bodies, named after the doctor who discovered them, are spherical protein deposits found in nerve cells that disrupt the normal functioning of the brain’s important chemical messengers.

Currently DBL accounts for 10% of dementia cases (although many doctors think it is vastly underdiagnosed, since it shares some characteristics with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease).

In a recent study, researchers in Argentina studied  509 people in their 70s (360 of them with DLB) and discovered that nearly half of the men and women who ended up with DLB in their senior years also had adult ADHD. The occurrence of adult ADHD in seniors with DLB was more than three times the rate in the group without DLB.

Dr. Angel Golimstok, one of the authors of the study, says that it looks like the same neurotransmitter pathway problems are involved in the development of both conditions. 

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ADHD and Attention Struggles

Overactive, hyperactive, impulsive, rambunctious, wild – any of those describe your child? Whether he’s been diagnosed with ADHD or not, chances are you’ve probably already tried many, many ways to calm him enough so he can focus and learn.

Have you tried this one? It’s from LearningRx Vice President of Research and Development Tanya Mitchell on BlogTalkRadio. “One thing I would not allow is for his teacher to keep him in for recess,” said Mitchell regarding her own 10-year-old son. “I told her, ‘That is directly negatively affecting you. If he has time to go out and physically move and do things, you’re going to be able to teach him better.’”

In addition to giving other tips, Mitchell explained that what appears to be an attention issue can sometimes be a visual or auditory processing weakness that results in impulsive behavior. Fortunately, all these skills can be strengthened and improved. First you need a cognitive skills assessment to determine which skill weaknesses are the root of the problem.

Family Talk Radio host Dr. Daisy Sutherland (aka Dr. Mommy) joked that you would have to run after her fifth child and catch him before you could test him. “He’s very, very bright, but extremely active and so if he were in a traditional school setting I truly believe that he would be labeled as ADHD because he can’t sit still,” said Dr. Sutherland. “Sitting him down and having him just focus with a paper and pencil – there’s no way!”

Does that sound like your child? What does it look like when those skills are trained?

Mitchell explains how it can look vastly different after three months of LearningRx brain training. “I had kids that came in at a 12-second attention span – and I know that because I timed them – and by the end of training they could sit and focus with me literally for 20 minutes with no issues, which for those kids meant no medication, no retention in their grade. They were actually able to move on, and they were put in higher reading levels.”

For more tips from Mitchell and Dr. Sutherland on helping your overactive child focus, listen to the half-hour show on Family Talk Radio. And if you’re ready to take on the issue without resolving to medication, get your child’s cognitive skills tested. The information the 90-minute test reveals about your child will be well worth your effort to catch him!

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President’s Day Video Contest

And you thought patting your head and rubbing your stomach was hard!

If you REALLY want to test your powers of concentration and memory, you should try reciting the names of all 44 American presidents while executing a complicated cup-stacking pattern while surrounded by a distracting chorus of stomping, clapping classmates.

Now do it in 17 seconds.

A nationwide video contest launched by LearningRx inspired a slew of impressive videos of kids reciting the names of all 44 presidents while hitting baseballs, doing gymnastics, and ignoring obnoxious distractions.

The winner of the contest was eleven-year-old Travis Coron of Succasunna, NJ, who scored the grand prize of an iPad in this year’s national President’s Day contest with a 31-second clip that demonstrates amazing concentration, memory and multitasking skills. The 6th grader, who attended the LearningRx Brain Training Center in Chester, New Jersey, quickly recited all 44 U.S. presidents while performing a complicated cup-stacking pattern and blocking out major distractions. (Click here to see Travis in action!)

The contest encouraged kids across the country to create videos that showed their improved memory and attention skills after participating in LearningRx brain training.

Memorizing the presidents is one of the first things students master, says LearningRx Vice President of Research and Development Tanya Mitchell. According to Mitchell, the training exercise strengthens long-term memory, attention and other cognitive skills, and also gives a big boost of self-confidence.

“It’s just one of the ways our brain training helps build smarter, faster and more efficient brains,” she explains, adding that “The video is great. It definitely leaves people saying, ‘How did he do that?’”

To see more LearningRx contest entries, click here.

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Presidents’ Day Video

President’s Day holds special meaning for us at LearningRx – not because it means a great mattress sale or getting President’s Day off. It’s because for our students and graduates, it’s the perfect opportunity to share some of the better brain power that comes from LearningRx brain training.

Memorizing all the U.S. presidents in order is one of the first things our students master at LearningRx. Then we train them to be able to recite the presidents quickly, and backwards, while blocking out distractions, and while doing other mental and physical tasks at the same time. It’s pretty impressive. So we wanted to share it.

In preparation for this coming President’s Day on February 21, we created a President’s Day video contest. We asked our LearningRx graduates and students to create a video that shows them reciting the presidents in a way that also demonstrates their newly strengthened ability to block out distractions, stay on task, and perform another challenge (or two).

The results are amazing! The videos show kids reciting the presidents while swimming and dancing and practicing baton and ballet and gymnastics, and hitting baseballs flying at them (and not missing a single ball!) After watching many great performances, the winner of the LearningRx President’s Day Video Contest is now official: 11-year-old Travis Coron who trained at LearningRx Chester in New Jersey. Read the rest of this entry »

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Color and The Brain

During the holidays, the color red is everywhere we look, from bulbs and bows to Santa’s trademark threads.

What impact does this favorite holiday hue have on your brain?

For starters, studies show that the color red increases appetite (no wonder holiday goodies are so hard to resist!). Also, when people are exposed to the color red, tests show they become more cautious and attentive to detail, and memory skills improve as well.

In one study, more than 600 people were asked to perform various tasks, usually on a computer. When tasks (such as proofreading) required focus, people performed as much as 31 percent better when their computer screen had a red background.

In contrast, researchers say the color red can keep us from performing our best in situations where creativity and analytical thinking are required. For these tasks, people perform better after being exposed to the colors green and blue. Read the rest of this entry »

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