Posts Tagged ‘cognitive training’

Tutoring for Children with Learning Disabilities

July 15, 2013

learndisability1If your child has learning disabilities or Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), they could benefit greatly from the one-on-one attention provided by a qualified tutor. Working in concert with parents and teachers, a tutor can help your child by reinforcing specific subject matter, helping with homework, suggesting improvements in organization and other study skills, and serving to bolster your child’s self-confidence.

A recommendation that your child might profit from working with a tutor often comes from a teacher or a school’s learning specialist or guidance counselor. But as a parent, you are the one who has the deepest insight into your child’s needs and may see the need for tutoring before the school does.

You may want to investigate tutoring for your child if you answer “yes” to one or more of the following questions:

  • Is there a particular subject or type of assignment that almost always gives my child trouble?
  • Does my child have difficulty studying effectively for tests?
  • Does my child have trouble with “executive skills” such as organizing, planning, or seeing a project through to completion?
  • Is my child unhappy or anxious about schoolwork?
  • Is completing homework a recurring battle in my family?
  • Has my child’s teacher (or guidance counselor or learning specialist) suggested tutoring?

Tutoring should not be solely about getting better grades. A tutor can also help your child improve skills and develop more effective ways to study and get their homework done. Your child’s progress depends on many things: the number of sessions, a tutor’s strategies, your child’s cooperation and mood, the assistance of teachers, and the help and support you provide as a parent.

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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Summer Learning Loss

June 28, 2013

summerreading1The American ideal of lazy summers filled with fun has an unintended consequence: If students are not engaged in learning over the summer, they lose skills in math and reading. For over a century, scholars have recognized that summer vacation is a period when students’ rate of academic development declines relative to the school year. Summer learning loss varies across grade level, subject matter, and family income.

Research shows that students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of summer vacation. According to a report by the RAND Corporation, the average summer learning loss in math and reading for American students amounts to one month per year. On average, students lose approximately 2.6 months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months.

Furthermore, the learning loss is cumulative, summer after summer. It has a tremendous impact on students’ success, including high school completion, post-secondary education and work force preparedness.

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. Consider enrolling your child in Optiminds’ Cognitive Camp this summer to keep them mentally challenged. Or you might consider an Optiminds’ Reading/Writing or Math Strategies program.

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’ Math Strategies Training

June 18, 2013

Optiminds offers Math Strategies training for students ranging from kindergarten through high school.

Our focus is on helping students process critical information and learn how to retain it. We utilize techniques designed to stimulate targeted areas of the brain, including:

  •     Computerized drills
  •     Mental exercises
  •     Visualizations
  •     Cause and effect
  •     Sequencing
  •     Bloom’s Taxonomy
  •     Learning to answer the question “Why?”

A key part of this training focuses on logical thinking skills—an important foundational skill of math.

Learning mathematics is a highly sequential process. If you can grasp a certain concept, fact, or procedure, you then will be able to grasp others that come later, which depend upon it. For example, to understand fractions you must first understand division. To understand simple equations in algebra requires that you understand fractions. Solving “word problems” requires knowing how to set up and manipulate equations, etc. Students are also taught time concepts, numerical reasoning and strategies for solving story problems.

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.

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.

Eat Smart for a Healthier Brain—Part I

April 25, 2013

There is a lot of focus these days on how much food we consume. We should also be aware of what kind of foods we are consuming, especially when it comes to our brain health. While the modern American diet is increasing the incidence of obesity and diabetes, it is also wreaking havoc on our brains.

The brain is the most metabolically active organ in the body. There is mounting evidence that feeding the brain healthy foods can help us maintain a healthy brain well into our old age.

Adding some “superfoods” to your daily diet can help increase your odds of maintaining a healthy brain for the rest of your life. Here are some suggestions:

blueberries1Blueberries—Fresh or frozen, adding blueberries to your diet can help protect the brain from oxidative stress and may reduce the effects of age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. Studies have shown that diets rich in blueberries significantly improved both the learning capacity and motor skills of aging rats, making them mentally equivalent to much younger rats.

Wild salmon—A “clean” fish in plentiful supply, salmon is rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids, which are essential for brain function. Omega-3s also contain anti-inflammatory substances. Other oily fish that provide the benefits of omega-3s are sardines and herring.

Nuts and seeds—Just an ounce a day of nuts and seeds can boost vitamin E levels to lessen cognitive decline as you get older. The choice is wide: walnuts, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, filberts, almonds, cashews, peanuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, flax seed, and unhydrogenated nut butters such as peanut butter, almond butter, and tahini. Raw or roasted doesn’t matter; choose unsalted if you need to restrict sodium.

Avocados—While the avocado is a fatty fruit, it has monounsaturated fat, which contributes to healthy blood flow, which contributes to a healthy brain. Avocados also help with hypertension, a risk factor for the decline of cognitive abilities.

See our May 5, 2003 post for Part II.

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 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.

Everyday Tips for Maintaining and Improving Your Brain

March 25, 2013

Spring is here and it’s a great time to sweep out the mental cobwebs and get your brain in shape. Here are some tips you can implement every day to keep you and your brain on track.

  • Appreciate your brain as a living, constantly changing entity.
  • Nourish your brain with good food. The brain weighs only 2 percent of body mass but consumes over 20 percent of the oxygen and nutrients we take in. The benefits of eating well extend to your brain as well as your body.
  • Your brain benefits from physical activity. Physical exercise enhances neurogenesis, which is the growth of new neurons in the brain.
  • Think positive, future-oriented thoughts. Eventually, they will become your default mindset. Stress and anxiety can kill neurons and subdue the growth of new neurons.
  • Challenge yourself mentally. The point of having a brain is to learn and adapt to new environments. Once you grow new neurons, where and how long they survive in your brain depends on how you use them.
  • Aim high. Always keep learning. The brain keeps developing , no matter your age, and it reflects what you do with it.
  • Be an explorer and traveler. Adapting to new locations forces you to pay more attention to your environment and make new decisions.
  • Don’t outsource your brain to media personalities, politicians or other people. Make your own decisions and your own mistakes—and learn from them.
  • Develop and maintain stimulating friendships. Humans are social animals and need social interaction to thrive.
  • Laugh often, especially to cognitively complex humor.

Above all, practice. Practicing these suggestions every day will turn them into internalized, unstoppable habits.

Concerned about maintaining your mental capacity? Check out our Optiminds Brain fitness programs that take brain performance to new levels by strengthening nerve cells, plus improving cognitive and concentration power. Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has been helping to improve the cognitive skills of clients of all ages. Call us today at (248) 496-0150 or email us at: jstewart@optimindsct.com. And be sure to visit our website at www.optimindsct.com.

Sign Up for Optiminds Summer Cognitive Camp

March 8, 2013

We know it isn’t even the first day of Spring yet, but we are already planning our Optiminds Cognitive Camp schedule for 2013.

Of course, our sessions will include our core areas of focus:

  • Cognitive Training
  • Math, Science, Language Arts, & Social Studies
  • Social Skills
  • Reading Comprehension
  • PCI© Reading Program
  • Orton Gillingham© Phonics
  • FAST© Phonics Program
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving Using Puzzles & Games

And new for 2013, we will be including “Expressive Writing: Stories and Poetry.”

Cognitive Camp runs from June 24 to August 9, from 9 a.m. to 12 Noon. (No camp on July 4) Camp location is at Addams Elementary School at 2222 W. Webster Road in Royal Oak. Camp fees are $50/day and $200 /week.

We are also currently organizing a Cognitive Camp with Activities that would be a full-day program, running from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Addams Elementary. But we need a commitment of 10 students per week to make this happen. So if you are interested, please let us know as soon as possible. The cost: $100 a day or $400 for the week.

Some of the fun activities we hope to offer in the Cognitive Camp with Activities are:

  • Dancing
  • Cooking
  • Cheerleading
  • Crafts
  • Sports

Also new this year—Ask us about our Early Drop Off service.

We can’t think of a better way to keep your brain in shape over the summer!

You can register for Optiminds Cognitive Camp online by clicking on the “Cognitive Camp Registration” link on our home page at: optimindsct.com.  Or you can contact Jane Stewart Ph.D. at (248) 496.0150 or jstewart@optiminds.com. Please return your application with a $50 deposit to: Jane Stewart, 2127 Marywood, Royal Oak, MI, 48074.

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.

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.


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