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Cultivate a STEM Mindset in Your Child

December 9, 2015

In our increasingly complex world, in order for the United States to continue as a global leader, it’s more crucial than ever to ensure that our children have the knowledge and skills to solve tough problems, gather and evaluate evidence and make sense of information. One of the best things we can do in this regard is to encourage the study of science, technology, engineering, and math—the subjects collectively known as STEM.

The skills that are learned through a STEM education are increasingly necessary in our tech-savvy world. They can also pave the way to some of the most in-demand jobs our economy has to offer.

In addition to encouraging your kids to pursue STEM subjects in school, there are some things you can do as a parent to engage your child in STEM learning outside of the classroom.

Encourage curiosity—If your child is always asking “why”’ and “how,” take the time to explain the things that you understand. If they ask a question you can’t answer, look up the answer together to show them how to research a subject.

Seek out educational programming—There is a multitude of excellent educational programming available to us today. So, the next time you and your child are looking for something to watch together, don’t gloss over the educational or “documentaries” sections of TV services like Netflix; cable channels such as the History Channel, Discovery Channel and National Geographic; and Public Television’s NOVA.

There are also plenty of kids’ and primetime television shows that have more of a STEM theme than you may expect. Sid the Science Kid is a great option to spur a science interest in early learners. For older students, shows like CSI or Numb3rs, can spark an interest in forensic science and math.

museum3Visit a science museum—There’s no better way for your child to get firsthand experience with science than by taking them to a science museum. Science museum exhibits expose children to complex and fascinating science and technology concepts in creative and accessible ways. Hands-on museums even give kids the chance to run their own experiments and engage interactively. Metro Detroit offers excellent science museums, including The Michigan Science Center and Cranbrook Institute of Science.

Look for STEM-based extracurricular activities—There are any number of activities and events today for children who are interested in STEM-related subjects. Encourage your child to engage in science fairs and engineering design competitions, for example. Competitions such as the FIRST Robotics and Junior FIRST Lego® League programs have grown very popular in recent years. They challenge teams of students to solve real-world science and technology problems by building robots with the mentorship of an industry professional.

Pave the way for a STEM career—Talk to your child about different options for a career in STEM. If you’re in a STEM field yourself, bring your child to work with you one day. Ask friends or family members in a STEM field to talk to your child about what their jobs are like, or even set up a job shadow if your child has a strong interest. Check out Pathways to Science ( which maintains lists of STEM internship programs for K–8 and high school students.

If your child needs a little help with STEM-related subjects, Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping students improve their study, reading, math and cognitive skills. Learn more about us by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting us at:


The Benefits of Tutoring from Optiminds

July 16, 2015

tutoring1Often it is enough for most students to do well in school with a helpful teacher and an active parent at home. But sometimes, children can benefit from the one-on-one attention that comes from tutoring.

Here are some instances when individualized teaching can be a productive addition to a child’s studies:

  • your child’s grades and/or test scores seem to be gradually declining
  • your child has increased studies and busy family schedules
  • your child is having difficulty with a specific subject
  • your child consistently puts off projects and postpones homework

Your child could be experiencing anything from anxiety, to time management issues to a learning disability.

It may be time to look into an Optiminds tutoring program to help your student sharpen their brain this summer. Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping students of all ages improve study, reading, math and cognitive skills. Our customized brain fitness programs take brain performance to new levels by strengthening nerve cells and improving cognitive power and concentration.

Our professionals are trained to identify learning disabilities—such as ADHD, dyslexia, or a visual processing problem—and to deal with issues such as anxiety, impulsivity, distraction and stress. Our programs are designed to improve organization and problem-solving skills, memory, judgment, language and auditory and visual concentration.

Here are just a few of the many benefits of enlisting an Optiminds tutor:

  • Tutoring can help your child to improve study habits, cultivate self-motivation, and keep pace with upcoming assignments and tests
  • A tutor can help your child comprehend each subject at the current level to ensure grade advancement
  • When tutoring is successful, a child will become self-assured and have newfound confidence, which may lead to participation in the classroom
  • A specialized tutor can present information in a way that’s easier for a child with a learning disability to understand, which can then make school less difficult and more enjoyable

To learn more about our Optiminds’ tutoring programs, give us a call today at (248) 496-0150 and be sure to visit our website at:

Summer Reading Ideas for Students

June 23, 2015

frogOne of the joys of having time off in the summer can be getting in some good leisurely reading without the pressure of homework and other after school activities. In fact, research has shown that children who participate in summer reading programs not only avoid the “summer slide” in learning, but they also score higher on reading achievement tests than those who don’t participate.

To get you started, there are any number of sources online that suggest good reads for your child, regardless of their age.

One group is the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC)—the world’s largest organization dedicated to the support and enhancement of library service to children. The ALSC, affiliated with the American Library Association, puts out an annual summer book list that is highly recommended by young readers from all over the country.

robotOther good summer reading sources include Goodreads ( and Scholastic ( Launched in 2007, Goodreads is the world’s largest site for readers and book recommendations.

dragonflySome Tips to Make the Most of Your Reading
In addition to just reading your books this summer, try a few additional activities to help you remember what you read and give the book more meaning for you. Here are a few neat ideas:

• Write a letter to the author or illustrator.

• Choose two people or characters from two different books who you think would be great friends. Why?

• Write a short story about what the character(s) would be doing one year later.

• Draw a map of the setting.

• Imagine you could interview the protagonist. What three questions would you ask?

• Redesign the cover.

• Write a short book review. Remember to include a few sentences describing the book as well as a few sentences about why you liked it—or didn’t.

• Choose one book location or setting to live in for a week—it can be fiction or nonfiction. Which book would you choose and why?

• Recommend a book to a friend or family member. Which title did you choose and why did you recommend it?

In addition to getting in some great reading, check out Optiminds tutoring programs to keep your brain sharp this summer. Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping students of all ages improve study, reading, math and cognitive skills. Our customized brain fitness programs take brain performance to new levels by strengthening nerve cells and improving cognitive power and concentration. Learn more about us by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting us at:

That Challenging Job May Be Helping Your Brain

June 16, 2015

lovejobDid you know that a job or work that is mentally demanding can actually help protect your memory and thinking skills later in life?

According to a new study published in the journal Neurology, challenges at work can be positive if they build up mental reserve over the long term. In fact, the type of career you have may be even more important than your education level for protecting brain health.

In the study, a thousand people over age 75 were given memory and thinking tests every 18 months for eight years. Researchers rated participants’ work history based on how often participants had to schedule activities, resolve conflict, develop strategies and perform other complicated tasks.

They found that those who had the highest levels of tasks that stimulated verbal intelligence and executive functions during their career had half the rate of mental decline compared to those with low levels of mentally demanding tasks.

One of the first signs of age-related cognitive decline is a decrease in executive function—the ability to organize thoughts. But just as lifting weights builds muscle, handling challenging mental tasks every day may strengthen neural processes that then build up mental reserve in old age.

So take your job and love it—it may be the ticket to enjoying a great retirement!

Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping students of all ages improve study, reading, math and cognitive skills. Our customized brain fitness programs take brain performance to new levels by strengthening nerve cells and improving cognitive power and concentration. Learn more about us by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting us at:

The Brain Initiative Holds Promise for Treating Brain Disorders

June 9, 2015

brain1With nearly 100 billion neurons and 100 trillion connections, the human brain remains one of the greatest mysteries in science and one of the greatest challenges in medicine. In the last decade alone, scientists have made a number of landmark discoveries that now create the opportunity to unlock the mysteries of the brain.

Recently, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued its first research awards for what’s been called America’s next moon shot: the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative. The BRAIN Initiative is part of a new Presidential focus aimed at revolutionizing our understanding of the human brain.

By accelerating the development and application of innovative technologies, researchers will be able to produce a revolutionary new dynamic picture of the brain, giving us new ways to treat, cure, and even prevent brain disorders.

The hope is that the Brain Initiative will result in the development of innovative technologies to capture dynamic pictures that reveal how the brain’s cells and complex circuits interact at the speed of thought. This in turn will enable scientists to transform how we diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, autism, epilepsy, schizophrenia, depression and traumatic brain injury.

Sources: National Institutes of Health and AARP

Optiminds is a cognitive-based, professional brain training skills center that has earned a reputation for helping students of all ages improve study, reading, math and cognitive skills. Learn more about us by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting us at:

Exercise May Be Prescription for ADHD

May 23, 2015

exercise1Physical activity is clearly a high, high-yield investment for all kids, but research shows that it may be especially so in children who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Researchers at Michigan State University have found that a 12-week exercise program improved math and reading test scores in all kids, but especially in those with signs of ADHD. In another study in the Journal of Attention Disorders, researchers found that just 26 minutes of daily physical activity for eight weeks significantly allayed ADHD symptoms in grade-school kids.

The improvements came in executive control, which consists of inhibition (resisting distraction, maintaining focus), working memory, and cognitive flexibility (switching between tasks). Executive functioning is impaired in ADHD, and tied to performance in math and reading.

These findings help support the belief that physical activity may be an effective intervention for ADHD in combination with common existing treatment strategies for ADHD such as amphetamines and other stimulants.
John Ratey, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard, suggests that people think of exercise as medication for ADHD. Even very light physical activity improves mood and cognitive performance by triggering the brain to release dopamine and serotonin, similar to the way that stimulant medications like Adderall do.

Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping students of all ages improve study, reading, math and cognitive skills, including memory. We also have customized programs for students with ADHD and learning disabilities. Learn more about us by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting us at:

Physical Workouts Aid Brain Health

May 16, 2015

ballroom4The best brain health workouts involve those that integrate different parts of the brain such as coordination, rhythm, and strategy.

According to a study done by the Department of Exercise Science at the University of Georgia, exercising for just 20 minutes not only helps your keep in shape physically, it also facilitates the brain’s information processing and memory functions.

When you exercise, your heart rate increases and this pumps more oxygen to your brain while releasing numerous hormones that provide a nourishing environment for the growth of brain cells. Exercise also stimulates the growth of new connections between cells in a wide array of important cortical areas of the brain.

Tips for choosing the right physical exercise:

  • Exercise in the morning—It not only spikes brain activity and prepares you for mental stresses for the rest of the day, but also helps you retain new information and react better to complex situations
  • Aerobic exercise improves brain function and acts as a “first aid kit” for damaged brain cells
  • Activities that incorporate coordination along with cardiovascular exercise—such as ballroom dancing—have a higher impact on cognitive functioning than mental tasks alone
  • At the gym, opt for circuit workouts, which both quickly spike your heart rate and constantly redirect your attention
  • If you’re mentally exhausted, reboot with a few jumping jacks for your brain improvement exercises

Optiminds offers brain fitness programs designed specifically for adults and seniors. These individualized, customized sessions help you take brain performance to new levels by strengthening nerve cells and improving cognitive strength and concentration.

Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping students of all ages improve study, reading, math and cognitive skills, including memory. Learn more about us by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting us at:

Sign Your Kids Up Today for Optiminds “Cognitive Camp” 2015

May 9, 2015

Cognitive5Looking for a way to help your children keep their brains in shape over the summer? Optiminds is once again offering its popular Cognitive Camp from June 22 to August 7 at Groves High School in Beverly Hills.

Cognitive Camp activities are available for these groups:

  • Kindergarten to 2nd grade
  • 3rd grade to 8th grade
  • 9th grade to 12th grade

The program is designed to focus on the “3 R’s of Summer:”

Retention—So they don’t lose what they learned this year
Remedial—Helps them catch up and learn how to learn
Enrichment—Moves them up to the next level

Optiminds’ individualized, customized approach helps students of all skill levels with:

  • Math, English, Reading Comprehension
  • Cognitive training for academics and sports
  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • Sports: the brain-exercise connection
  • Social skills
  • SAT/ACT Prep Grades K-12

You can choose between our 8-week, full-day camp (6 hours) or half-day (3 hours) sessions. And you can choose to attend by the day or the week. Special pricing is available for families with more than one student.

Call us today at (248) 496-0150 to enroll in the Optiminds Cognitive Camp before our sessions fill up. Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping students of all ages improve study, reading, math and cognitive skills, including memory. You can learn more about Optiminds by visiting our website at:

Optiminds Can Help with the NCAA Eligibility Process

April 16, 2015

NCAA2If your son or daughter is planning to play sports at a Division I or Division II college, they will need to register with the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Eligibility Center.

Optiminds can help you begin the process through our Athletic College Prep Counseling Division, headed by Aaron Fields. A former Division I baseball player, Aaron is responsible for the NCAA Eligibility Center portion of Optiminds’ College Counseling Division.

The NCAA Eligibility Center, formerly known as the NCAA Clearinghouse, is the body that determines a student-athlete’s eligibility to play a sport at the NCAA level—based on factors including academic record, SAT or ACT scores and amateur status.

Through parent/student workshops and individualized sessions, Aaron can assist you with the recruiting process, course planning and meeting NCAA and NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) eligibility requirements.

Playing college sports can be a major opportunity for a student, with benefits ranging from completion of a college degree to access to scholarships, travel and experiences that prepare a student for life in the real world.

Did you know, for example, that student-athletes as a group have a higher graduation rate than their peers in the general student body; and that NCAA schools have awarded more than $17 billion in athletics scholarships in the past 10 years?

Help your student take advantage of the NCAA experience. Call Aaron at (313) 590-4788, or email him at to get more information about Optiminds’ athletic college prep counseling program. Be sure to visit our website at:

MSU Researcher Working on Natural Treatment for Alzheimer’s

April 9, 2015

Berries2A plant that has been used for hundreds of years in Indian, Ayurvedic, Unani and African medicine may hold the secret for stopping the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, and maybe even preventing the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S.

Muraleedharan Nair, a natural products chemist in the horticulture department at Michigan State University, has patented a botanical compound called withanamides. This compound is derived from the ancient plant known as Ashwagandha, which is an herbal remedy used to lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, alter the immune system and calm the brain.

Withanamides is believed to work by neutralizing the damaging effects of a byproduct of the protein that triggers plaque buildup that signals the early stages of Alzheimer’s. It is this plaque buildup that starts to kill brain cells in the frontal lobe and erase memories before it moves deeper into the brain. Withanamides would help prevent Alzheimer’s at an earlier stage than some of the solutions currently being worked on by pharmaceutical companies.

Withanamides has been tested in mouse trials and is currently in clinical trials, after which it will hopefully be submitted for FDA approval. Because it has already been deemed a “food safe plant,” it should require fewer hurdles to meet compliance.

If you are looking for ways to keep your brain healthy, Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math, cognitive skills and memory of students of all ages. Learn more about us by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting us at:

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