Category: Parenting

Are We There Yet?

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10 Brain-boosting games travel games—under $10

Tired of hearing, “Are we there yet?” Prepare for the inevitable boredom that comes with a long car ride by stocking up on these brain-boosting travel games. Best of all, they’re all under $10!

  1. Travel Scavenger Hunt Card Game ($6.55 on Amazon.com)

This pack of 54 scavenger hunt cards has kids looking for things like a red car, a stop sign, or a license plate with the letter Z.

Ages: 6+

Cognitive skills: attention, visual processing, processing speed

  1. Hangman – Take ‘N’ Play Anywhere ($9.99 on Amazon.com)

The classic game is portable, thanks to magnetic letters and body parts.

Ages: 5+

Cognitive skills: auditory processing, logic & reasoning, attention, visual processing

 

  1. Rory’s Story Cubes ($9.76 on Amazon.com)

A pocket-sized creative story generator for all imaginations!

Ages: 8+

Cognitive skills: problem-solving, logic & reasoning, creativity, visual processing

 

  1. Set Game ($6.95 on Amazon.com)

Players review images on dealt cards for logical sets.

Ages: 4+

Cognitive skills: sequential thinking, processing speed, visual processing

 

  1. Magnetic Chess ($7.49 on Amazon.com)

Take your rooks on the road, thanks to the power of magnets!

Ages: 8+

Cognitive skills: visual processing, strategy, planning, analysis, attention

 

  1. Battleship – Travel Edition ($7.99 on Amazon.com)

This classic game teaches kids to narrow down where their opponent has put their battleships.

Ages: 7+

Cognitive skills: analysis skills, visual processing, logic & reasoning, attention

 

  1. My Word! ($5.98 on Amazon.com)

Players search dealt cards and call out words using at least three cards.

Ages: 7+

Cognitive skills: sound blending and segmenting, sequential thinking, word analysis, visual processing, processing speed

 

  1. Sequence ($9.99 on Amazon.com)

If you like the regular version of this strategy game, you’ll love the convenience of the travel version!

Ages: 7+

Cognitive skills: logic & reasoning, planning, problem solving, sequential processing, working memory, visual processing

 

  1. Rubik’s Cube ($7.48 on Amazon.com)

Align the colors on the cubes so every side matches.

Ages: 8+

Cognitive skills: visual processing, attention, problem solving, deductive reasoning, strategy

 

  1. 15 Puzzle ($4.42 at Amazon.com)

Just scramble the puzzle, then try to slide the numbers back in order.

Ages: 8+

Cognitive skills: memory, attention, planning, visual processing

Look for games that are appropriate for your child’s age, as well as any cognitive weaknesses of which you’re aware. You’ll know they’re learning, but they’ll just think they’re having fun!

Summer Adventures Ahead

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LearningRx Reviews Tips for Traveling with a Child with Special Needs

If you’re the parent of a child with special needs, you may have already found yourself wrestling with the transportation of wheelchairs or special medical devices, or dealing with sensory issues, restricted diets, or social fears. As you’ve probably learned, preparation is your best offense and defense. To help make your next trip a little simpler, we’ve put together a list of things to consider when planning your vacation.

Tips for booking your trip:

  1. Consider using a travel agency that specializes in helping people with special needs. Flying Wheels Travel (com), for example, helps people with physical disabilities or chronic illnesses experience accessible travel around the world. Autism on the Seas (www.autismontheseas.com) offers cruises for people with autism, Down syndrome, and other related disabilities.
  2. Choose a destination that caters to people with disabilities. Morgan’s Wonderland (com) in San Antonio, Texas is a theme park designed to accommodate children of all abilities. Every ride is accessible to guests with disabilities. Many major state beach destinations now offer free or low-cost beach wheelchair rentals.
  3. Check out your seat options on Seat Guru (com). This site lets you evaluate seating based on legroom, seat width, and overhead storage capacity, as well as DC power, food, and internet accessibility. This will help you determine where your child might do best on the plane. You’ll also want to consider proximity to the restroom and whether a window, middle, or aisle seat will work best.
  4. When figuring out the best time of day to travel, weigh as many factors as you can. It’s important to identify the time of day your child travels best, but don’t forget to factor in other dynamics. For example, if flying at night when your child is normally asleep sounds like a good plan, will you be more exhausted? Will you need to wake your child to deplane for layovers? Will a later flight be more susceptible to cancellation or overbooking?
  5. Get a note from your doctor. A letter from your pediatrician explaining your child’s condition/disease/disorder can be helpful when you’re asking for special accommodations (e.g., being seated together when a flight is nearly full) or upgrading. Offer to fax or email the letter to the airline or travel agency, and carry a copy with you as you travel.

Before your trip:

  1. Review the airline’s (and TSA’s) rules in advance. You don’t want any surprises if you’re traveling with assistive devices or wheelchairs, and you may even learn that there are special baggage claim areas or check-ins, like the TSA’s Precheck lane. Check-in online at home if possible.
  2. Evaluate medications. Plan so you won’t run out of medications while you’re on vacation or immediately after returning home.
  3. Identify pediatricians, specialists, or urgent care facilities in your destination city before you need them. If you suddenly need to seek medical assistance for your child while on vacation, it’s best to know in advance where you can go—especially at night or on weekends.
  4. Practice the travel routine at home. You can read a book about going on a plane, practice the procedures at home with a “mock flight,” or even visit the airport in advance to get your child used to the sights and sounds.

Make your packing list far in advance. Include five or so things you HAVE to bring (e.g., medications, passports, tickets) with the assumption that other things can be purchased on the trip if necessary. The more preparation you put into the trip, the more you and your family can enjoy it!

The Season of Brain Drain

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Don’t push your kids down the Summer Slide

The average student loses approximately 2.6 months of grade-level equivalency in math computation skills over the summer months, and teachers spend about four weeks reteaching materials that students have forgotten over the break. What’s a parent to do?

One way to target weak mental skills quickly and effectively is through an intensive LearningRx brain training program, says Tanya Mitchell, Chief Research Officer for LearningRx (www.LearningRx.com). “With our intense game-like exercises, we work on brain skills like logic & reasoning, attention, memory, processing speed, and visual and auditory processing. But, to help prevent the summer slide, parents and kids can use free, fun games and exercises at home, in the car, and even online.”

Here are just a few of the free and fun brain training games Mitchell recommends:

  • Mental Tic Tac Toe: Similar to traditional Tic Tac Toe, this game uses a “mental” grid numbered 1 to 9. Players remember where their opponent has already been and call out an unoccupied space. The player who calls an occupied space loses.

          What it helps: Attention, logic & reasoning, and working memory

  • Needle in a Haystack: Take a page from a newspaper and time your child as she circles all occurrences of a specific letter. Focus on increasing both accuracy and speed.

          What it helps: Visual processing speed

  • 20 Questions: Think of a person or object and give your child 20 chances to narrow down what you’re thinking of by asking yes or no questions. To help them improve their logic & reasoning, teach them to strategize by using questions that will significantly narrow down the categories, such as, “Are they alive?” or, “Is it bigger than you?”

          What it helps: Logic, reasoning, memory

  • Poetry: Have your child choose four words that rhyme and then ask them to use those words to create a poem or a rhyming song. Or say a word, then have them come up with another that rhymes. Keep this pattern going as long as possible, then start with a new word.

          What it helps: Auditory analysis, verbal rhythm, memory

Simply getting your child to read every day is another powerful way to slow the Summer Slide. According to Scholastic Parents Online, research shows that reading just six books during the summer can keep a struggling reader from regressing.

Can You Hear Me Now?

Interpreting what your kid’s teacher says

As you head into conferences, or any time you talk to your child’s teacher, listen for these red flag phrases:

“I know he’s smart, but …”

  • His work doesn’t show it.
  • He makes sloppy mistakes.

This phrase is a good indicator that several cognitive skills are very strong, while others are deficient and causing a bottleneck for learning.

“He’s below grade level in reading.”

Studies show 85 percent of all learning-to-read problems are caused by weak phonemic awareness skills, which give us the ability to hear, blend, unglue, and manipulate the smallest sounds in a word. Reading struggles can also be caused or compounded by deficiencies in visual processing, memory, attention, and processing speed.

“He takes a long time to…”

  • Finish schoolwork.
  • Answer questions.

Some kids take longer because they’re perfectionists, but weak cognitive skills are generally to blame if a child is always the last student done with an assignment, can’t seem to complete tasks, or takes hours to wrap up standard homework loads.

If you hear any of the red flag phrases at conference time, or if the teacher says your child has several of the above signs, it may be time to schedule a cognitive skills assessment. After determining which skills are weak, you can focus on the most effective way to target and train those skills.

 

About LearningRx
LearningRx, headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is the largest one-on-one brain training organization in the world. With 80 Centers in the U.S., and locations in 40 countries around the globe, LearningRx has helped more than 95,000 individuals and families sharpen their cognitive skills to help them think faster, learn easier, and perform better. Their on-site programs partner every client with a personal brain trainer to keep clients engaged, accountable, and on-task—a key advantage over online-only brain exercises. Their pioneering methods have been used in clinical settings for 35 years and have been verified as beneficial in peer-reviewed research papers and journals. To learn more about LearningRx research results, programs, and their 9.6 out of 10 client satisfaction rating visit http://www.learningrx.com/. To read testimonials from real clients visit www.learningrx-reviews.com.

Stop messing up your kids with stuff. Give them these gifts instead.

  1. Responsibility.

    By coddling children, you do them a disservice and hinder their ability to be prepared for life outside the home. Encourage them to volunteer, help around the house, get a job, and take responsibility for their actions. Teach them to balance a checkbook, keep commitments, and be punctual. Read our review of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens.

  2. Brain training. 

    Stop asking teachers to accommodate your child, and instead address the root cause of learning struggles. One-on-one brain training targets the underlying cognitive skills that help us think, learn, process, memorize, and recall information. These cognitive skills include auditory and visual processing, logic & reasoning, processing speed, attention, and memory. Read what other parents have to say about one-on-one brain training.

  3. A love of reading. 

    Does your child have a library card or access to e-books? Head to a used or new bookstore, create a local book exchange with other parents, or find out when the library is having its next paperback sale.

  4. Failure.

    Watching kids fail is hard, but how else do they learn from their mistakes? Part of the beauty of failure is that it encourages us to take risks and learn that we can survive the results, no matter what they may be. As hockey great Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

 

 

About LearningRx
LearningRx, headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is the largest one-on-one brain training organization in the world. With 80 Centers in the U.S., and locations in 40 countries around the globe, LearningRx has helped more than 95,000 individuals and families sharpen their cognitive skills to help them think faster, learn easier, and perform better. Their on-site programs partner every client with a personal brain trainer to keep clients engaged, accountable, and on-task—a key advantage over online-only brain exercises. Their pioneering methods have been used in clinical settings for 35 years and have been verified as beneficial in peer-reviewed research papers and journals. To learn more about LearningRx research results, programs, and their 9.6 out of 10 client satisfaction rating visit http://www.learningrx.com/. To read testimonials from real clients visit www.learningrx-reviews.com.