Posts Tagged ‘optiminds’

Benefits of Expressive Writing

August 25, 2013

expressiveExpressive writing is personal writing that expresses and explores the personal feelings of the writer. Writing about our personal experiences helps us understand and communicate our own perceptions, interpretations and responses. Expressive writing doesn’t need to be informative or educational and it is not focused on proper spelling, punctuation and grammar. The first person is used and the writing must be directly about the writer.

People have used expressive writing for centuries as a means of personal discovery, catharsis, and giving meaning to their lives. At Optiminds, we have introduced Expressive Writing recently as part of our Cognitive Camp to give students yet another tool to improve their coping skills.

Often used in therapy, expressive writing allows a person to write about traumatic experiences in order to face them and express feelings and thoughts about the experiences. While possibly being difficult or even painful, studies show that in most cases the writing therapy helps increase psychological health and reduces stress.

Writing therapy can also help people with expressive writing disorder or dysgraphia. People with this learning disability may have difficulty writing logical sentences and may also have reading or language disorders.

Common forms of expressive writing include writing in a journal or on a blog, and writing poetry, forms that allow us to  really delve into the psychological and emotional aspects of an event rather than just writing about its superficial or surface qualities.

Expressive writing may work because it helps us make sense of the events of our lives, providing a way to process and think through the meaning of events and how we want to respond. It also can help us express pent up emotions about things that have happened. Sharing our writing with others is a way for us to get positive feedback or have others let us know that they have been through similar circumstances. But there is evidence that expressive writing is helpful whether or not you share it with someone.

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

Study Tips to Take the Stress Out of School

August 15, 2013

The new school year is just over a month away. If you are starting college or high school, you will be dealing with a totally new environment, a load of classes and mountains of homework that could be overwhelming if you don’t have a plan for dealing with it.

One of the biggest stressors is not having enough time to do everything, which can dramatically affect your ability to process what you learn in class.

Here are some practical study tips from Anne Crossman, author of Study Smart, Study Less for students of all ages:

  • Learn to manage your time. Map out a daily schedule, including school, sports or music practice, study time and free time.
  • Determine what time of day is your best in terms of studying, block it out and commit to it. Maybe your best time is right after school, or maybe you need a break first before you can hit the books again. Best not to put study off until it’s late and you are getting tired.
  • Create a study environment that is most efficient for you. Turn off your phone, don’t get on the Internet or get involved in social networking if it’s your designated study time. Turn off television and music. Contrary to what most students think, the brain works faster if it does not have to block out noise or images. Don’t study on your bed, either; your brain is programmed for sleeping and relaxing there.
  • As soon as you can after a class or lecture, find a quiet place where you can rewrite your notes and structure them in a way that makes sense to you.

If you feel that learning is still a struggle, consider enrolling in an Optiminds’ brain fitness program. We will customize a program for your specific needs that is designed to strengthen nerve cells and stimulate targeted areas of the brain to improve your cognitive and concentration 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.

90 May Be the new 80

August 5, 2013

A small but growing body of evidence suggests that improved nutrition, vaccinations, health care and intellectual stimulation are leading to a better quality of life for the elderly.

New80Researchers in Denmark reported study results recently showing that people born in 1915 were almost a third more likely to reach 95 than those born a decade earlier, and on average they performed better on mental tests and in daily living tasks.

While the two groups were about the same in terms of physical strength, those in the 1915 group had a better “daily living score”, which was based on being able to walk around the house, get upstairs or live alone. Authors suggest the group was also aided by technology such as walking aids, threshold ramps and swivel seats.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the cognitive skills of people 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.

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.

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.

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.

Exercise as a Non-Drug Treatment for Kids With ADHD

May 25, 2013

We’ve talked about exercise helping seniors prevent dementia. But researchers are also finding that a few minutes of exercise can also help children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) perform better academically.

A recent Michigan State University study shows for the first time that kids with ADHD can better drown out distractions and focus on a task after a single bout of exercise. The results are important because they suggest exercise as a possible nonpharmaceutical tool for preventing ADHD.

While drugs have proven largely effective in treating many of the 2.5 million school-aged American children with ADHD, a growing number of parents and physicians worry about the side effects and costs of medication.

The study had 40 children aged 8 to 10, half of whom had ADHD, spend 20 minutes either walking briskly on a treadmill or reading while seated. The children then took a brief reading comprehension and math exam similar to longer standardized tests. They also played a simple computer game in which they had to ignore visual stimuli to quickly determine which direction a cartoon fish was swimming.

The results showed all of the children performed better on both tests after exercising. In the computer game, those with ADHD also were better able to slow down after making an error to avoid repeat mistakes—a particular challenge for those with the disorder.

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 and ADHD 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.

Get Moving to Delay Dementia

May 15, 2013

Reducing Alzheimer’s risk factors like obesity, diabetes, smoking and low physical activity by just 25 percent could prevent up to half a million cases of the disease in the United States.

Experts believe that if you do only one thing to keep your brain young, it would be to exercise. Higher exercise levels can reduce dementia risk by 30 to 40 percent compared with low activity levels. Physically active people tend to maintain better cognition and memory than inactive people, and also have substantially lower rates of different forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.

Working outweighttraining1 helps the hippocampus, the region of the brain involved in memory formation. The hippocampus shrinks as we age, leading to memory loss. Research suggests that exercise can reverse the shrinking process.

Experts recommend 150 minutes a week of moderate activity, but even as little as 15 minutes of regular exercise three times a week can be beneficial to the brain.

One study found that older women who participated in a weight training program did 13 percent better in terms of cognitive function than women who did balance and toning exercises. Researchers believe that resistance training may increase the levels of growth factors in the brain.

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.


%d bloggers like this: