Oceanport Peak Brain Performance
Empowered Learning Transformation Centers
Empowered Learning Transformation Centers has collected several toy brains throughout the years—brain-shaped erasers, tiny brain-shaped sponges that expand in water, even wind-up brains that walk across the coffee table. During childhood, the brain is a source of endless fascination.
But the brain has really come into its own for 21st century parents, who’ve witnessed everything from the growing science behind neural plasticity during early childhood to the growing practice of cognitive rehabilitation for aging parents battling strokes and other neurological conditions.
Is it any wonder that today’s parents, already renowned for their focus on high achievement and maximizing potential, are looking for ways to enhance their children’s cognitive abilities?
We want our children to listen better, to remember better, to behave better. We want them to perform well academically and enjoy high self-esteem. We want to minimize their roadblocks to success.
But how can we make all that happen? More rigorous schools? More family time? More extracurricular activities? For a growing number of parents, the answer lies in one or more types of “brain training.”
Parents turn to brain training (sometimes called cognitive training) for many reasons, according to according to Dan Williams, P.T., CSCS, BCIA-EEG, executive director of SIRRI Developmental Rehabilitation and Learning Center in Tempe. Their children may have been diagnosed with AD/HD, learning disabilities, Asperser's syndrome or depression. They may be experiencing difficulty with reading or writing, controlling their emotions or expressing their thoughts and feelings. Some struggle to follow directions or focus on classroom lectures. They may have a hard time processing information, keeping schoolwork organized or staying calm in over-stimulating settings like noisy classrooms. Some children complete tasks too slowly, make too many careless errors or have trouble following a series of instructions. Mainstream interventions like after-school tutoring may have proven unsuccessful.
Some parents turn to brain training in search of alternatives to recommended medications they fear may be unsafe or cause troublesome side effects, according to Teri Koby, M.Ed., director of Learning Rx in Scottsdale.
Sometimes, a traumatic experience—a bitter divorce battle, head injuries or frequent moves—can leave a child with cognitive deficits that need attention.
How does it work?
While individual brain training programs differ, most share a common thread: the idea that the human brain is malleable at many ages and stages of life. Specific programs focus on varying degrees of physical and/or mental exercises believed to build and strengthen neural pathways so participants can improve skills in targeted areas like attention span and information processing.
For most brain-training providers, the formal process begins with an assessment of the child’s current level of functioning and specific aspects of cognitive performance like working memory and auditory processing. Assessments typically last one or two hours. Providers use various tools—including tests like the Empowered Learning Transformation Centers—to assess a child’s strengths and weaknesses. They may check vision and hearing or observe a child’s ability to read and write. Based on the test results, providers design and deliver individualized programs targeting each child’s unique needs.
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