Archive for the ‘cognitive testing’ Category

Advice on Beating Back-to-School Anxiety

September 15, 2013

The transition into a new school year can be a time of excitement . . . and stress. Children and adults can become anxious, irritable or depressed by this major change.

We’d like to share some tips for all ages from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services:

Kindergarten through fifth grade students:

Talk about it—Talk with your elementary age children about their excitement, stressing benefits of getting back to school such as seeing their friends again and playing sports.

Give them some control—Be firm in telling your children that they do have to go to school, but give them control over some simple choices, such as buying or bringing their lunch, or riding the bus or riding their bike to school.

Teenage Students:

Keep the lines of communication open—Teens want you to listen to their back-to-school concerns without judging them. Do everything possible to keep the lines of communication open at this critical age.

Look for patterns—A wild new hairdo? No problem. Purple hair and scary new friends and a drop in grades? This may be cause for worry.

Adult Students:

Focus on your goals—Remind yourself why you are going back to school (better job, more money, etc.).

Remember that you’re not alone—Remind yourself that other “non-traditional students” have made it through this, and that it’s normal to be a little anxious or fearful.

If your child continues to be anxious, distracted, struggling at school or exhibiting poor behavior, Dr. Jane Stewart and the Optiminds staff may be able to help. We will consult with you and your child to evaluate and identify problem areas or learning disorders that may be the source of the problem. We’ll design a customized program for improving your student’s cognitive skills, concentration, reading and other areas we have identified.

Dr. Stewart realizes that often parents need help too.  Optiminds offers parent coaching and parenting programs designed to instruct parents on how to handle their child’s behavioral or educational issues.  Giving parents the tools they need to make positive strides in their relationships as well as tools to steer their child in positive directions.

Call us today at (248) 496-0150 for an Initial Consultation or email Dr. Stewart at: jstewart@optimindsct.com.. Learn more about Optiminds’ customized tutoring programs by visiting the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com.

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Optiminds Can Help with ADHD and Learning Disabilities

April 15, 2013

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a disorder that appears in early childhood. It is also known as attention deficit disorder (ADD). Adults also can have ADHD, and up to half of adults diagnosed with the disorder had it as children.

The symptoms of ADHD include inattention and/or hyperactivity and impulsivity. Because most children display these traits at some point or another, in order to establish a diagnosis of ADHD, the symptoms should be inappropriate for the child’s age. When ADHD persists into adulthood, symptoms may vary. An adult may experience restlessness instead of hyperactivity, and may have problems with interpersonal relationships and employment.

Optiminds offers ADHD testing and we are certified in administering the IVA+Plus ADHD Test— a combined auditory and visual continuous performance test (CPT). This diagnostic tool helps our staff make an accurate diagnosis of ADHD/ADD in children, adolescents, and adults. The test provides objective data about a person’s ability to concentrate and to avoid making impulsive errors and enables us to diagnose and differentiate between the four sub-types of ADHD/ADD.

In addition, Optiminds offers cognitive training programs that help improve memory processing speed and boost reasoning skills. The program is effective for everyone, but especially people who have ADHD and/or learning disabilities. People who improve their cognitive ability gain enormous benefits in their lives each day. Children, teens, working adults, and retired adults find success.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ customized tutoring programs by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at: optimindsct.com.

Optiminds Offers ADHD Assessment

January 25, 2013

ADHD1You know your child better than anyone and you’ve seen their struggles. Impulsivity, frustration, anxiety and being overwhelmed, to name a few. When a child struggles in areas like these, it affects their ability to process information properly. Unless your child learns how to overcome these obstacles, they will have difficulty learning in school which only compounds the problem.

Optiminds founder, Dr. Jane Stewart, has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. She is IVA+Plus ADHD Test Certified. The IVA+Plus is a combined auditory and visual continual performance test designed to help us make an accurate diagnosis of ADHD/ADD in children, adolescents, and adults. The test provides objective data about a person’s ability to concentrate and to avoid making impulsive errors.

The data helps us identify problem issues and design a program tailored to your child’s specific needs. Our approach includes: mental exercises, visualization techniques and computerized drills, and even recommendations on diet and physical exercise. Our unique program improves memory processing speed, and boosts reasoning skills. The program is effective for everyone, but especially people who have ADHD and/or learning disabilities.

To learn more about how Optiminds can help your child overcome learning obstacles, improve at school and builds the foundation for success in their lives, call us today at (248) 496-0150 or email Dr. Jane Stewart directly at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at www.optimindsct.com.

Holiday Gifts to Improve Cognitive Function

December 22, 2012

If you’re looking for gifts this holiday season that might help a loved one who is trying to improve their cognitive skills, you might want to look into some of the ideas that follow.

  • Crossword puzzle or Sudoku books
  • Hand-held video games such as Solitaire, or Bingo
  • Board games like Tri-ominos, Scrabble, jigsaw puzzles with large pieces, or games such as Life Stories or Reminisce.
  • Books on Tape or MP3 players

You can also go a step further and treat a loved one to an Optiminds program in 2013.

If you have a senior citizen on your list to Optiminds’ Senior Brain Fitness Classes, which we conduct weekly at our Southfield location. The price is a mere $10 per session. Give us a call at 248-496-0150 for current times and days.

Each summer, Optiminds holds its popular Cognitive Camp at Royal Oak’s Addams Elementary School. Camp sessions are available by the day or week beginning in late June through mid-August. Check with our office for prices and schedule for 2013.

And of course, you can always treat yourself or students in your family to Optiminds’ tutoring services to give you and them an academic boost that will pay off for years to come.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ customized tutoring programs by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at http://www.optimindsct.com.

When to Consider Tutoring for Your Child

November 25, 2012

With the school year getting underway, many parents are looking for ways to help their children gain an academic edge whenever possible. Not long ago, needing a tutor was viewed as a sign that a child couldn’t keep up with his peers. Today, tutoring is an accepted—even expected—part of middle and high school education. Parents are often surprised to learn how common tutoring is, not only for children who are behind academically or have a learning disability but also for those who are bringing home good report cards.

Some points to consider if you are trying to determine if tutoring is right for your child:

Kids who are gifted are prime candidates for tutors because they are often not challenged enough in the classroom. A tutor can create a customized program that is both challenging and stimulating to help renew your child’s enthusiasm for learning if it has fallen by the wayside.

With states requiring testing of students every year in reading and math from grades three to eight, many parents are using tutors to improve their child’s performance. Often the scores from these exams are used to determine whether a child gains admission to a selective public middle or high school or whether a child is put on a vocational or academic track at school.

There is a higher expectation today to know more at earlier ages. Because standardized tests are so important, schools start prepping kids for them sooner. As a result, many middle school children are doing what once was considered high school work, while many high schoolers are taking college-level courses. Tutoring can help students keep up with things and meet the challenge of these higher expectations.

Tutoring can help fill in the gaps in classroom curriculum. Some states no longer emphasize spelling or grammar since that knowledge is not required for state tests. As a result, middle school children may know the definition of SAT vocabulary words such as “perambulate” and “quiescent,” but they don’t know how to spell such basic words as “independence” or when to use commas or semicolons. Parents turn to tutors to help their kids bone up on these fundamentals.

With competition to get into a good college so great today,  many families turn to tutors to help boost grades and SAT scores. If your teen is preparing to take the SAT this year, a tutor can help them prepare for the exam, identify types of problems they will encounter, and equip them with essential test-taking skills. Often, scholarships are directly linked to a student’s SAT scores. So it makes sense to invest ahead of time in tutoring so your child does better on the SAT and has a better chance at qualifying for a scholarship.

When it comes to tutoring services in metro Detroit, Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ customized tutoring programs by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at www.optimindsct.com.

Cognitive Training May Make Seniors More Open to New Experiences

October 22, 2012

In addition to declines in cognitive abilities, including working memory and inductive reasoning, aging is often accompanied by changes in personality, such as shifts in openness or willingness to seek out new and cognitively challenging experiences. While a number of interventions have been designed to enrich cognitive functioning in older adults, little has been done to develop openness.

A study conducted on older adults involving 16 weeks of training in inductive reasoning demonstrated that participants were more willing to try new activities than a control group. The intervention consisted of a classroom-based inductive reasoning training program that focused on novel pattern recognition. Participants also did home-based Sudoku and crossword puzzles. Puzzle sets were matched to each person’s skill level based on his performance during the previous week, and increased in difficulty when appropriate.

Participants underwent personality trait and inductive reasoning tests before, during, and after the study. The authors reported that post-test openness scores were higher for the training group than for the control group.

The “use it or lose it” tag is often attributed to these types of studies and the results of the study suggest that “using it” also can lead people to view themselves as more open; openness to experience is linked to better health and decreased mortality risk.

The brain is a muscle and responds to strengthening and conditioning just like any other muscle in the body. If it doesn’t get exercise, it gets out of shape. At Optiminds, our focus is on helping you maintain your mental capacity as you grow older. Our brain fitness programs for seniors take brain performance to new levels by strengthening nerve cells and improving cognitive and concentration power. This helps you to get your life back so you can start living again.

Ask us about our Senior Brain Fitness Classes, every Tuesday at 1:00 at our Southfield location.

Dr. Jane Stewart specializes in helping people of all ages improve their cognitive skills at two locations: The Brain Development Center in Novi and Optiminds in Southfield. Contact Dr. Jane Stewart at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com.

You can learn more about the Brain Development Center at: http://novipsych.com/brain_development and Optiminds at: www.optimindsct.com.

Aerobics for Your Brain?

September 15, 2012

If researchers and neurologists are correct, doing certain types of mental exercises just might buy you a bit more time with a healthy brain.

Simple things, such as playing memory games on your mobile device or jotting down letters backwards, may help our gray matter maintain concentration, memory and visual and spatial skills over the years. Even tweaking every day routines can help—for example, brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand; or crossing your arms the opposite way you’re used to.  You might even try flipping pictures of your house upside down. The exercise forces your brain out of its familiar grooves because every time you look at the upside down image, your brain has to rotate it. This gets your brain out of its ruts and shakes things up.

The idea of mental workouts marks a dramatic shift in how we understand the brain these days. We used to think that we were stuck with what we were born with, but now we understand that the brain is a lot more plastic and flexible than we thought. Challenging the brain stimulates neural pathways and boosts the brain’s chemistry and connectivity, refueling the entire engine.

Research shows that people who engaged in mentally challenging games do, in fact, show improvement in cognitive functioning. They get faster at speed games and stronger in memory games, for example. What’s less clear is whether this improvement transfers to everyday tasks, like remembering where you parked the car or the name of your child’s teacher.

Like diet and exercise, mental maneuvers may boost brain health in ways science still doesn’t understand. Hopefully a mix of these factors just mix might stave off the effects of Alzheimer’s and other age-related diseases.

Dr. Jane Stewart specializes in helping people of all ages improve their study, reading and cognitive skills at two locations: The Brain Development Center in Novi and Optiminds in Southfield. Contact Dr. Jane Stewart at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com.

You can learn more about the Brain Development Center at: http://novipsych.com/brain_development and Optiminds at: www.optimindsct.com.

Alzheimer’s Update

April 15, 2012

In the United States, some 5.4 million people suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. Of the ten deadliest diseases in the U.S., Alzheimer’s is the only one “without a way to prevent, cure or even slow its progression,” according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

At the same time, there have been great advances in understanding the disease and national policy has begun to move forward as well. In 2011, the National Alzheimer’s Project Act mandated a national plan to coordinate research efforts to fight the disease which is predicted to impact 16 million by mid-century.

Also in 2011, new guidelines were issued for diagnosing the disease for the first time since 1984. Highlights include the following points:

  • Alzheimer’s must be viewed in three stages, with the first stage beginning long before the initial symptoms are recognized.
  • Diagnosis ultimately will include cognitive testing and general neurological assessments, along with medical tests that show changes in the brain—as opposed to relying largely  on a doctor’s judgment and reports from the patient and loved ones.

Cognitive skills are the underlying brain skills that make it possible for us to think, remember and learn. They allow us to process the huge influx of information we receive each and every day at work, at school and in life. Cognitive skills include a wide variety of abilities that are necessary for analyzing sounds and images, recalling information, making associations between different pieces of information, and maintaining focus on a given task.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has been helping to improve the cognitive skills of clients of all ages. Find out more about Optiminds brain fitness programs and cognitive skills training by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or email us at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit our website at www.optimindsct.com.


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