Posts Tagged ‘Brain Fitness Tutoring’

The Importance of Critical Thinking

July 5, 2013

If we teach children everything we know, their knowledge is limited to ours. If we teach children to think, their knowledge is limitless. Research has found that the more often a student is exposed to critical thinking, the greater the probability the student will transfer critical thinking to other areas of his or her life. 

Simply put, critical thinking is looking at both sides of an issue, then weighing your position based on factual evidence you have gathered on the subject matter. It requires a person to draw inferences from information they’ve been given, and to use deductive skills from all of the gathered facts in order to make an informative decision or to take a position on the subject.

The cornerstone of critical thinking is the ability to ask questions. Teaching children to ask “What if?” and “How can?” questions, for example, sparks exploration and encourages them to think. Critical thinking development can be improved through reading books that both enrich and challenge the mind to ponder on issues or to engage in discussions with other people that provide stimulation for the mind and allow such individuals to test their critical thinking ability during arguments.

Puzzles and other types of games that require the use of logic and reason to solve problems can help in the development of critical thinking skills. There are plenty of opportunities in the course of our daily activities at home and work that can help develop critical thinking skills.

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.

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The Importance of Logical Thinking

June 8, 2013

If asked to list the things humans need most in life to survive, most of us would put food, water and shelter at the top. But there is another necessity that is equally important—logical thinking skills.

Logical thinking is the process of using reasoning consistently to come to a conclusion. Problems or situations that involve logical thinking call for structure, for relationships between facts, and for chains of reasoning that “make sense.”

The logical thought process involves taking the important ideas, facts, and conclusions involved in a problem and arranging them in a chain-like progression that takes on a meaning in and of itself. To think logically is to think in steps, or sequentially. It is logical thinking that enables us to understand things that we read about or are shown, and to build on that knowledge without incremental guidance.

It has been proven that specific training in logical thinking processes can make people “smarter.” Logical thinking allows a child to reject quick answers, such as “I don’t know,” or “this is too difficult,” by empowering them to delve deeper into their thinking processes and understand better the methods used to arrive at a solution and even the solution itself.

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.

Try These Mind Games for Mental Fitness

February 15, 2013

brainexercising1If, like many of us, you are a little nervous about your ability to remember things or stay focused on a project or activity, here are a few exercises you might want to try to keep your brain’s cognitive functions—memory, attention, language, visual/spatial skills and executive function—in good shape.

  • When listening to music, choose a song you don’t know and memorize the lyrics. This boosts the level of acetylcholine, the chemical that helps build your brain.
  • Shower or get dressed in the dark, or use your opposite hand to brush your teeth. These changes help build new associations between different neural connections of the brain.
  • Change your route to work or reorganize your desk. These simple changes will force your brain to wake up from habits and pay attention again.
  • Combine activities like listening to an audio book with jogging, or doing math in your head while you drive. This will force your brain to work at doing more in the same amount of time
  • Walk into a room and pick out five items and their locations. When you exit the room, try to recall all five items and where they were located. Wait two hours and try to remember those items and their locations.

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.

The Leadership Benefits of Reading

February 8, 2013

Deep, broad reading habits are often a defining characteristic of our greatest leaders.

Steve Jobs is said to have had an “inexhaustible interest” in William Blake. Winston Churchill won his Nobel prize in Literature, not Peace). President Harry S. Truman read every book in the library named after him in his hometown of Independence, MO, before he died in 1972.

Many business titans are or have been avid readers, believing that reading cultivates the knowledge, habits, and talents to improve their organizations, as well as their own personal effectiveness.

A larger vocabulary, more world knowledge and abstract reasoning skills are just a few of the leadership benefits of reading. Reading is one of the quickest ways to acquire and assimilate new information; and reading a wide variety of things is good for creativity, exposing leaders to insights in other fields that might lead to innovations in their organizations.

Reading novels can improve empathy and understanding of social cues, allowing a leader to better work with and understand others. Reading can also increase verbal intelligence, making a person more adept and articulate when communicating with others.

You might want to try reading one book this year in three areas outside your comfort zone. If you are working on a problem in one field, seek out books in other fields to see if there are applications that might cross over to your profession. Share favorite books with co-workers to encourage discussion and new ideas.

If improving your reading is on your agenda this year, Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds offers customized programs to help readers of all ages improve their skills and comprehension.

To learn more about Optiminds brain training and tutoring programs, call us today at (248) 496-0150 or email Dr. Jane Steward 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.

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.

Dr. Jane Stewart, Brain Development Expert

August 22, 2012

The new Brain Development Center in Novi, Michigan is headed by noted educator and author Dr. Jane Stewart, who also owns and operates Optiminds in Southfield.

Dr. Stewart brings a lifetime of expertise and experience in brain development and training to her students at the Brain Development Center and Optiminds. Her background includes a PhD in Special Education Curriculum, a Master’s degree in Special Education and a B.A. in Sociology. Her State of Michigan certification includes: K through 9, General Education; and K through 12, Special Education.

Dr. Stewart has taught at public and parochial schools and at the college level, and has worked extensively with autistic children and cognitively impaired people. Her focus is on conditioning the brain to become stronger and on improving academic performance at all levels.

Contact Dr. Jane Stewart at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com.

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

Keep Children’s Brains Engaged This Summer

August 15, 2012

Summer vacation always seems to go by quickly. But from an academic perspective, three months off from school is a long time and can cause kids to lose some of their academic edge.

Research shows that the biggest impact on student academic achievement is made when families engage in learning activities that reflect the work children do in school. The summer break is an excellent opportunity for parents to reinforce their children’s learning and help prepare them for the year ahead.

You can help minimize learning loss over the summer months by staying engaged in your children’s learning.

Most public libraries have summer reading programs that are free and families can take advantage of other free library resources even if they don’t participate. If you know what books your child will be reading in the fall, you can help her by picking up other works by the same author or books from the same era. Have your child write a short book report discussing the novel she read.

Take your child camping near a lake, river or at a national park. You can introduce the forest, lake or wetland ecosystem to your child. Ask him what he knows about the food chain in the forest and which animals he can name from the ecosystem.

You might take the kids on a guided tour of a historical landmark or of the old part of a city. Choose a tour that introduces the history of the area or landmark and have a discussion with your child about life at that time. You can also take your child to a history or war museum and explore the different exhibits together.

Put aside some time for your kids to express themselves artistically. If they are interested in music or visual arts, get them an instrument or a paint set or take them outside to paint from nature.

And there is always the zoo or natural history museum.  Discuss the animals, their habitat, food and place in the ecosystem. If you are taking your child to a natural history museum, you can also introduce or discuss the science of evolution and the fate of extinct animals like the dinosaurs.

To give your child an additional boost, contact Dr. Jane Stewart at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. Dr. Stewart and staff help students of all ages improve their study, reading and cognitive skills—now at two locations: The Brain Development Center in Novi and Optiminds in Southfield.

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

Dr. Jane Stewart Opens the Brain Development Center

August 5, 2012

Dr. Jane Stewart, owner of Optiminds, an educational and cognitive training service in Southfield, is proud to announce the opening of her second location, The Brain Development Center, in Novi. The Center is located at 23985 Novi Rd., Suite B-104.

“With the opening of the Brain Development Center, we hope to make our proven cognitive training techniques and tutoring services available to an even wider audience,” says Dr. Stewart. The Center offers customized programs designed to improve the cognitive abilities of students of all ages and ability levels. Some areas of focus include improvement of speed reading, visual stamina, visual attention, organization and home school support. The Center even offers daytime programs for seniors to improve cognitive functioning and working memory.

For more information about The Brain Development Center , contact Dr. Jane Stewart at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: jstewart@optimindsct.com.  You can visit The Brain Development Center online at: http://novipsych.com/brain_development, and Dr. Stewart’s Optiminds website at: www.optimindsct.com.

Being Overweight Can Affect Brain Function

July 7, 2012

Studies have shown that the brain appears to shrink more and age faster in overweight people. For example, in a study that compared brain images of people who were of normal weight with overweight (body mass index of 25-30) people of the same age, the overweight people had 4 percent less brain tissue and their brains looked eight years older than their normal weight counterparts. The brains of obese subjects (BMI over 30) had 8 percent less tissue and looked 16 years older. The loss of tissue depletes brain reserves and puts people at a higher risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

A long-term study of more than 6,500 people in northern California found that those who were fat around the middle at age 40 were more likely to succumb to dementia in their 70s. A Swedish study found that, compared to thinner people, those who were overweight in their 40s experienced a more rapid, and more pronounced, decline in brain function over the next several decades. Another study of 114 middle-aged people (aged between 40 and 66) found that the obese tended to have smaller, more atrophied brains than thinner people; other studies have found similar results. Pronounced brain atrophy is a feature of dementia. While our brains usually atrophy with age, research shows that being obese appears to accelerate this process.

We don’t know yet whether or no obesity-associated brain damage can be reversed. But those two old friends, a healthful diet and plenty of exercise, have repeatedly been shown to protect the brain. Foods like oily fishes and blueberries have been shown to stimulate the growth of new neurons. And whether you are fat or thin, young or old, the best hope you have of guarding your brain is to eat well and exercise.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has been helping to improve the study, reading and 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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