Why Brain Training?

Scientific research has proven that the brain, like almost every other function of the human body, has an ability to change.  In fact, the brain holds the capacity for a far greater ability to change than our bodies do.

What does that mean for students (of any age)?  We used to believe that brain development only happened in the very young.  That has been debunked; we now know it can happen at any time throughout our lives.  In fact, there are some studies that conclude that the best intervention for early onset Alzheimer’s is brain training.

It used to be accepted that struggling kids in the classroom just had a more difficult time than their peers and that they would struggle throughout school.  Educational institutions helped them develop academically to the best of their abilities, but it was generally accepted that they would not progress on the same trajectory as their peers. 

Science has shown us, however, that that is NOT TRUE.  The plasticity in the brain can be manipulated and changed.

How we are different:  A common misconception is that Metro Learning Solutions is tutoring.  We work with children starting at age 5 all the way through adults and seniors. What we’re really doing is working on developing the cognitive capacity of a person’s brain.  We are not reteaching academic information; we are targeting the weak areas of the brain that make receiving and using academic information more efficient. 

Most parents assume that the school will tell parents WHY their child is struggling.  However, that is not the case.  Educators can tell you how your child is performing ACADEMICALLY, based on normed benchmarks, but they are evaluating knowledge, but cognitive function.   Instructors have a very hard job; they are responsible for a lot of kids.  Their job is not to figure out the WHY.  Their job is to deliver information and to evaluate how the recipient uses and handles that information.   They can tell you that your child is struggling, how far behind their peers your child is, they can tell you what your child knows and doesn’t know.  But they can’t tell you the WHY.

Educators are trained to deliver information and do a great job of that.  They also do a great job of addressing struggling students, but they aren’t trained to enhance the skills that make learning efficient.

Instructors also deliver interventions when necessary.  These interventions typically address the symptoms and involve reteaching information not learned.   But the interventions do not address the underlying difficulty that’s keeping student from performing (1 in 5 kids struggle in the classroom). It Is not the school’s job to determine the WHY. 

What is the process?  The process starts by figuring out the area of cognitive weakness with an assessment.  When you go to the doctor, you start with some evaluations:  weight, blood pressure, etc.  That’s so they have a cursory look at what’s going on in your body.  That is very similar to our assessment; it reveals an individual’s strengths and weaknesses.  Once that is determined, the hard work begins:   the work of making the changes that are necessary by deliberately targeting the weak areas and enhancing the strong areas.

The battery of tests used focus on several different types of memory, reading ability, problem solving, visual processing, focus and attention, and how fast your brain can work through a battery of tests.  We use robust testing that gives us a benchmark in each of these areas so we know how to proceed with targeting any weak areas.  It also unveils the WHY – WHY someone is struggling with attention, WHY your child is struggling with reading.

How can you tell if it’s a cognitive inefficiency or an academic issue?  The initial assessment test unveils that; it tests each part of the brain so we know if there is a cognitive inefficiency or an achievement inefficiency.  The history that we take also gives more information as to whether someone is struggling cognitively or academically.  Some key things to consider are:

  • have they struggled over several years or did they have one bad year?
  •  Was their teacher out of the classroom for a prolonged length of time and was there a series of substitutes? 
  • Did they move to a more rigorous school district, needing to catch up academically?
  •  Were they out of the classroom for a prolonged period due to illness or another reason? 

Affirmative answers to any of those questions indicate an achievement issue that can be addressed with tutoring or reteaching. 

Reported issues that we often hear are that the child has been tutored year after year and is making progress but not at the same rate as their peers.  Parents often report that their child has struggled with learning year after year.  In younger grades, when the information is more quantifiable, they report that their child is struggling learning what their peers are easily learning.  They report that either the school is providing an intervention or that they themselves are helping with homework night after night and their child is not “getting it.”  This indicates a pattern of weakness that indicates that a cognitive inefficiency, not an academic inefficiency, that is at the root of the problem 

Tutoring is something that should be done when one aspect of learning is difficult, and the tutor is reteaching that small aspect.  If your child is needing an intervention or tutor year after year, the problem is much bigger and indicates a cognitive issue. 

Cognitive development, or brain training, is not tutoring.  We don’t reteach material, which is what a school intervention or tutor does.  Cognitive development is completely different.  It changes the way the brain processes information.  Using quick to administer, game-like activities that are scientifically proven to make slight changes in the brain, the brain is changed to handle incoming information easier and faster.

History of Brain Training:  Brain research started many years ago with stroke recovery.  The research has abounded in the last 30 years, with the peak being in the last 3 years. There has been such an explosion in the research that a lot of companies are producing digital games designed to improve brain function.

What does the research say about digital brain games?  The online apps are good to a point.  The research indicates using these helps maintain the current brain acuity of an individual.  They do not, however, make the changes necessary in a struggling individual.  There is also the personal responsibility factor; we tend to not use them on a regular basis; we don’t push ourselves as we should.  They are more a reflection of what an individual is currently capable of doing, not necessarily developing anything that may need to be developed.

Our program(s) did not develop overnight.  We have 35 years of research and it is still ongoing.  We have trained over 100,000 individuals and continue to train people of all ages.  All those people go into our research pool and lead us to continually improve our training and our results.

Everyone that enrolls in our program gets an individually developed curriculum that is based on their strengths and weaknesses.  Additionally, each session is individually analyzed, adding modifications, layers and/or challenges.  This results in getting maximum results for clients.

Summary: You don’t have to accept the limitations or the deteriorations that you or a loved one has been experiencing.  That’s great news!  No matter how old you are you can do something about it.  You do not have to settle for status quo.  You can always be better than what you are. Cognitive development helps people of all ages and people of all different walks, from doctors and lawyers to people who are wanting to learn to read for the first time.  It’s never too late. 

There’s still a lot of time left in the school year.  If you are not satisfied with your child’s or grandchild’s school performance, this may be one of the greatest gifts that you give your child or grandchild.  Some parents take a “wait and see” approach.  They think that maybe she’ll outgrow this, or teachers or pediatricians say that time may work.  However, you will not outgrow a cognitive deficiency.  This is an area that must be deliberately addressed.  If it is not deliberately addressed, it will only get worse. 

See our Research Report here  

Leave a Comment