Category: Resources for Parents

“This is Too Hard!” 5 ways to help a child with a learning disability

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It’s painful watching your child struggle in school, but there are things you can do to help. Find out how to turn “This is too hard!” to “I can do this!” with these 5 tips.

  1. Remind them that even very smart kids can have a learning disability; it’s not necessary an indication of intelligence. Explain that Albert Einstein had ADHD and Thomas Edison had dyslexia and look how brilliant they were!
  2. Enroll them in personal brain training. Most learning disabilities are due to weak cognitive skills. If weak cognitive skills are, indeed, causing your child to struggle, that’s actually good news because there is something you can do about it: weak skills can be strengthened. One-on-one brain training provides a way to strengthen the core skills the brain uses to think and perform. And because every brain training program is customized, even extremely smart kids can benefit from brain training. LearningRx brain trainers work with clients of all ages about five hours a week, for 12 to 32 weeks, depending on the program. Workout sessions are customized to meet the individual objectives—and strengthen weak skills—unique to each client. And because workouts consist of game-like mental exercises, clients of all ages typically enjoy the experience.
  3. Make decisions based on facts, not assumptions. Many parents mistakenly believe that learning disabilities, such as dyslexia, are a lifelong label, or that some kids are genetically destined to always be bad at math. These are myths that can keep parents from seeking out help.
  4.  Don’t give up! At LearningRx, we hear time and time again about parents who put their child in tutoring with little to no results. That’s because tutoring is a great solution when there is an identifiable, external reason that a student did not grasp classroom content the first time it was presented in class. Perhaps a child was sick or on vacation, or a relocation in the middle of the school year created a gap in curriculum. It’s also possible that something (like an extended illness or pregnancy) impacted the consistent delivery of material. The point is, when something has interfered with the delivery of content to your child, hiring a tutor to reteach that content makes sense. On the other hand, brain training does not reteach missed content, but instead exercises and strengthens the basic skills the brain uses to think, learn, and perform. In other words, brain training improves the way the brain grasps information the first time it is presented. So, if your child is struggling in more than one class, or struggling year after year, weak cognitive skills may be to blame. And if they are, brain training can strengthen those skills.
  5. Start with baby steps. You don’t need to figure everything out at once. Begin by taking one or two small actions to get the ball rolling. Talk to your child’s teacher about specific issues your child displays, such as speaking out of turn, difficulty staying organized or taking longer than most students to complete tests. Call your local LearningRx to schedule a cognitive skills assessment. The one-hour assessment will provide a detailed look at your child’s individual cognitive strengths and weaknesses, and will give you invaluable information you need in order to decide on the next best step to help your child.

The 2017 Smart Mom’s Toy Box

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10 Classic Games from YOUR Childhood that Boost Brain Skills

If you’re like most of us, you feel torn between letting your child spend time on their technology and getting some free time of your own to get something done (even if that something is a nap).

But what if there was a compromise? What if you chose games and toys that are fun for your kids, but also boost cognitive skills, like memory, auditory & visual processing, attention, logic & reasoning, and processing speed? That’s exactly what you will find in our 2017 Smart Mom’s Toy Box …

LearningRx (www.learningrx.com) has put together a list of classic games that you’ll probably recognize from your own childhood—some with a modern spin. Chances are, you’ll bond with your child, have fun, and maybe boost some of YOUR brain skills in the process!

Simon

Try to repeat increasingly complex patterns with this fast-paced, handheld, electronic game.

Ages: 8+

Cognitive skills: auditory processing, visual processing, memory, attention, processing speed, executive processing, inductive reasoning, sustained attention


Rubik’s Cube

Challenge yourself to match up the colors on all six sides.

Ages: 8+

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


Chess

Use strategy to capture your opponent’s king before they get yours.

Ages: 6+

Cognitive skills: divided attention, executive processing, logic & reasoning, planning, problem solving, sequential processing, strategy


Battleship

Locate your enemy’s ships and destroy all five before they sink yours.

Ages: 7+

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


Stratego

Devise a plan to capture your opponent’s flag in this classic battlefield game of strategy.

Ages: 8+

Cognitive skills: logic & reasoning, planning, short-term memory, working memory


Uno

Get rid of all your cards first to earn points from other players.

Ages: 7+

Cognitive skills: logic & reasoning, short-term memory, sustained attention, visual processing, working memory


Puzzles

Jigsaw puzzles are relaxing, but they’re also working your brain skills!

Ages: 2+

Cognitive skills: deductive reasoning, inductive reasoning, planning, problem solving, short-term memory, visual processing, working memory


Cribbage

Group and play cards in combinations to gain points.

Ages: 7+

Cognitive skills: divided attention, executive processing, logic & reasoning, mental math, numerical concept, problem solving


Connect 4

Be the first to get four discs in a row.

Ages: 6+

Cognitive skills: divided attention, executive processing, logic & reasoning, planning, problem solving, sequential processing, strategy


Scrabble

Earn points by making high-scoring words out of your letter tiles.

Ages: 8+

Cognitive skills: deductive reasoning, inductive reasoning, long-term memory, problem solving, sequential processing, short-term memory, simultaneous processing, visual processing, word attack


Ready to head to the store (or online!) to do your holiday shopping? Take this list, or download a free Games for Skills Chart at: www.unlocktheeinsteininside.com.

It’s All Greek to Me! Understanding Specific Reading Comprehension Deficits (S-RCD) in Children

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Specific Reading Comprehension Deficits (S-RCD) is like being able to read a foreign language — because you know how the words are pronounced — but having no idea what the words mean. Research shows that there’s even a difference in the brain of someone with S-RCD, which can be seen with neuroimaging. A recent study found that while children with dyslexia showed abnormalities in the occipital temporal cortex (the area of the brain associated with recognizing words on a page), children with S-RCD had abnormalities in the region associated with memory.

 

There’s a lot of research on dyslexia, which simply means “trouble with words.” But there’s not a lot about S-RCD, or Specific Reading Comprehension Deficits. Where dyslexia is about reading the words, S-RCD is about understanding them. It’s like being able to read a foreign language— because you know how the words are pronounced—but having no idea what the words mean.

S-RCD and a child’s brain

Research shows that there’s even a difference in the brain of someone with S-RCD, which can be seen with neuroimaging. According to a recent study collaboration between Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine/Kennedy Krieger Institute, children with dyslexia showed abnormalities in the occipital temporal cortex (the area associated with recognizing words on a page). But in children with S-RCD, the abnormalities are instead in the region associated with memory.

In a previous study, neuroscientists found that, compared to children with word recognition deficits, those with S-RCD performed more poorly on tests of planning and spatial memory.

This is the reason it is common for S-RCD not to be recognized until about third or fourth grade, when teaching shifts from decoding to comprehension.

An exercise to improve reading comprehension

Obviously, poor reading comprehension can spill over into many aspects of life, including homework, testing, college prep exams, leisure reading and, and more. And comprehension struggles affect not only grades in English class, but in all subjects. Just imagine reading written math problems (or answers) but not understanding the question or directions on how to arrive at the correct answer!

For anyone who is looking to help a child or students increase reading comprehension, try this fun approach called “Somebody Wanted But So” (SWBS). Label four columns with the following: Somebody (characterization), Wanted (plot events), But (problem/conflict) and So (resolution). Have the child or student fill out the columns as they read. Here’s a simple example:

Somebody: Wanted: But: So:
Cinderella wanted to stay at the but her carriage so she ran out
ball with the prince would turn into a
pumpkin at midnight

Brain training improves memory, logic, and more

Another way to improve reading comprehension is through a form of cognitive training call one-on-one brain training. LearningRx specializes in one-on-one brain training as a way of strengthening cognitive skills such as: memory, attention, logic & reasoning, and more.

LearningRx trains cognitive skills through game-like exercises that are both fun and challenging—and we do it with a unique personal trainer approach.

5 Things That Are Draining Your Energy

  1.  Too much technology.

    Try a technology-free night and see how you feel. Put your phone away for the night so you’re not tempted to check it first thing in the morning. What does the next day feel like after a night with no TV, computer or phone?

  1. Not enough help around the house.

    If you can swing it, pay for a cleaning person to come in once a week just for a couple hours. Or create a chore chart for your family so they stop treating YOU like the maid. Here’s a short, funny video you can show them to get your point across.

  1. Homework struggles.

    If you’re spending too much of your night helping a struggling learner, consider enrolling them in LearningRx personal brain training. Learn about other kids’ experiences with LearningRx.

  1. Too much on your schedule.

    First, practice saying “no.” Second, look for ways to split commitments with other parents (e.g., driving to soccer practice). Finally, color code your family calendar with red being priority (e.g., doctor, dentist), green being fun (e.g., family movie night) and yellow being everything else. Then step back and see which colors dominate.

  1. Not enough sleep.

    Focus on the wind down with a warm bath, sleep-inducing tea and a good book. Keep a notepad next to your bed to write down things that keep your head swirling and commit to letting them go until the next day.

 

 

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.

Homework and the Mommy Meltdown

For kids with learning struggles, the burden of understanding geometry or studying for spelling tests is as much our pain as theirs. If daily homework battles are driving you crazy, check out tips to improve the experience:

  1. Prepare mentally. Decide ahead of time what kind of attitude you’re going to embrace, and how you’re going to respond if things get tense or difficult.
  2. Do a quick self-check. Before helping your child with his or her homework, take a quick self-check. Are you tired? Hungry? Frustrated about something that happened earlier in your day? If so, take a few minutes to eat a snack, catch a power nap, or do whatever you need to do to decompress.
  3. Have what you need on hand. Homework takes a significant time commitment as it is. Don’t add to that time by having to spend an hour looking for the slide rule, or having to drop everything and run to the store for poster board.
  4. Practice familiar cues. Some kids thrive on routine, and you can create fun habits that can help your child’s brain take familiar paths to settling down and being productive.
  5. Try a new setting. Routine is good, but sometimes it can also help to shake things up a bit, either as a reward for a productive week, or to see if your child actually studies better in a different setting.
  6. Exercise physically before studying. See what happens if you insist he or she plays outside for an hour before starting homework. Studies show that physical exercise improves thinking and concentration, in the long run and immediately as well.
  7. Eat brain-healthy snacks. Think good fats, lean protein, and complex carbs. Good fats can be found in omega-3 oils from fish, nuts, seeds, and dark leafy greens. Lean protein can be found in raw almonds, baked chicken, and organic plain yogurt with fresh fruit. Complex carbs can be found in whole grain tortillas, brown rice, and sweet potatoes.