Cognitive Skills Training 101
Cognitive skills are those needed to process sensory information. They are important in childhood development and for learning at every stage and grade level. For the most part, cognition requires learning key skills, which help one better remember, analyze, evaluate, and compare information.
Cognitive skills training focuses on these underlying skills. On the other hand, tutoring mostly involves repeating information already taught, without addressing the underlying cause of one’s difficulty.
A weakness in any cognitive skill can trigger struggles with learning and overall performance. Reading tutors, math tutors, and science tutors, can be successful only if they focus on a child’s learning ability and style, rather than just the material itself.
Attention: The ability to focus and concentrate depends on one’s attention span. Children will normally improve their attention span as they get older. Paying attention to single tasks, activities, or conversations develops a skill that is crucial to every stage of learning going forward. Sustained attention enables one to focus for an extended period of time. Selective attention involves being focused regardless of distractions, while divided attention allows for multitasking, yet remembering information in the process.
Memory: From age five and up, children should be developing their short- and long-term memory. This skill is required to build on previous knowledge. Memory includes recalling information from the past and retaining information while using it for a given task, such as proceeding with a project after reading directions.
Thinking: Aside from listening and memorizing, an individual should be able to use logic and reasoning to solve problems and create new ideas. In school, thinking helps with tasks such as solving math problems. At work, critical thinking skills are applied to reading manuals, understanding patterns of events, evaluating ways to solve real-world problems, and brainstorming solutions.
Processing Speed is another important skill. It lets you perform tasks in a timely manner, and do so with minimal error. Visual processing enables you to process reading material, math problems, and maps as visual images in your mind. Important to reading comprehension and fluency, auditory processing skills allow one to analyze, blend, and segment disparate sounds.
Accommodating Different Learners
Brain Works Accommodates Learners with Differing Abilities (Including Learning Disabilities) Brain Works offers an alternative learning process known as brain training. It trains one to use cogitative skills that are the backbone of thinking and learning. In contrast to tutoring, the training procedures offered are non-academic. A tutor may focus on a single subject or topic. Instead, a cognitive training program targets a student’s core mental abilities, striving to improve memory, attention span, processing speed, auditory and visual processing, and logic and reasoning.
Training Takes Place On a One-On-One Basis
A training specialist is assigned to work with each student privately. The process can work for students of all ages, including those who:
- Want to read, think, and learn at a faster pace.
- Find homework difficult and frustrating.
- Need to improve retention and reading comprehension.
- Have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
- Have a severe auditory processing deficiency.
- Cannot concentrate sufficiently.
- Works or completes lessons too slowly.
- Struggles with creating mental images.
- Demonstrates poor memory skills.
Gain a Mental Edge
Cognitive skills training can also help anyone looking to gain a mental edge. It can provide career professionals with a competitive advantage in the workforce. For example, one can identify employable skills in a job posting, and learn and/or reference such skills in their resume, cover letter, and job interview.
How Does This Work?
- It’s because the brain processes electronic impulses from all the senses.
- Information from sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch arrives in bits and pieces.
- These can only be assembled using mental processing skills, which allow a person to perceive the world around them.
- Strong cognitive skills let us appropriately perceive and respond to stimuli and information.
Targeting Parts of the Brain Involved in Attention
Cognitive training works by targeting parts of the brain involved in attention. If these areas are under-active, proper training can stimulate them. It aims to improve attention cognitively, rather than remove distractions. The skills learned through the program can help at all stages of reading, from recognizing letter sounds and combinations to attaining fluency.
Our Brain Training Programs
Addresses learning problems by recognizing the fact that a complex array of cognitive processes enables the mind to function. In addition to those with ADD and ADHD, this program is suited for children with:
- Central auditory processing disorder
- High functioning autism
- Asperger’s syndrome
- Nonverbal learning disorder
- Sensory integration disorder
- Visual processing disorder
Further integrates cognitive training to facilitate sensory development and behavior modification.
- It works by first stimulating neurological pathways to the point of slight overload.
- Physical activities are used as a kind of therapy, which helps create neurological pathways or replace/repair damaged circuits.
- Cognitive training also gives people an awareness of how their brains obtain/process/store information, while Life Application Concepts: shape one’s attitude and behavior. As a result, they’re taught how to overcome barriers to learning and articulating their needs.
How Does Cognitive Skill Training Differ from Tutoring?
How to improve cognitive function is a key concept in brain training. Tutoring centers often focus on basic techniques—reteaching classroom content, doing so in groups or one-on-one, and teaching classroom content missed due to absence (student or teacher), illness, or relocation. Tutoring is better suited to address such external matters, not weaknesses in how a child’s brain processes information. It only continues to re-teach the same material over and over again.
How Do the Left and Right Sides of the Brain Impact Learning?
Both sides of the brain are needed for learning. The left side of the brain controls thinking and logic more than the right, so left brain learning styles focus more on words, sequencing, mathematics, linear thinking, facts, and logic. The right brain is involved in imagination, rhythm, visualizing feelings, art, and holistic thinking. Although different functions can be found on either side, both hemispheres of the brain are interconnected by numerous nerve fibers.
The functions attributed to one side or another do not necessarily impact learning style. You may be engaged in a logical task or creating something artistic. Both sides of the brain are still functioning and providing input. Even when you are doing math problems, the left brain may be crunching the equations, but the right side enables you to compare data and estimate values.
A choice of left brain vs. right brain teaching techniques can assist a student who may be more analytical or visual, but everyone uses both sides of the brain when learning.
Left brain learning activities may limit auditory distractions, use word lists, include puzzles, or individual study. Right brain learning techniques often involve charts, graphs, and maps to accommodate students with visual and spatial aptitudes. They can also focus on visual reinforcements, study guides like worksheets, creative projects, group activities, and integrating music with classroom instruction.
Brain training, however, doesn’t necessarily target the right or the left side separately. It is focused on cognitive development. The content learned in class isn’t the primary concern. That would be the exercises and processes used to strengthen cognition. This strategy helps get to the root of learning difficulties and address weak cognitive skills head on, so, instead of repeating a process, the results are lasting because the core skill is strengthened.
Results of the Brain Works Programs
Our results are noticeable and lasting because we can measure cognitive skills, and then provide brain training. The process begins with the Woodcock-Johnson Test of Cognitive Abilities. Developed in 1977, the test is in its fourth edition, introduced in 2014. It is a series of tests used to measure numerical reasoning, concept formation, decision speed, pattern recognition, visual auditory learning, memory, comprehension, and other cognitive skills from ages two through adulthood.
The results of the Brain Works programs have been successful. Clients have said children years behind in grade level were able to catch up. For example:
1. Carol revealed her fifth-grade daughter was three years behind—and reclusive—but the program yielded results after three weeks. She began participating in class and, by seventh grade, was tutoring other students in math. She reached a college reading level by eighth grade. By college, she became social, active, and a straight-A student.
2. Sheri, another client, revealed her son had ADD and behavioral issues. However, he became more focused with cognitive training. She used the program with her daughter as well, which helped with her test scores and confidence.
3. Julie revealed her son Craig had always struggled with school, and he lacked motivation. The Brain Works program helped with challenges such as a short attention span and auditory and visual processing disorders. Completing the assignments helped him gain confidence and visualize the world in new ways. The comprehension ability enabled him to complete a job testing and training process, whereas before the program he lacked focus.
For more results of our brain training programs, listen to the testimonials from clients who have witnessed dramatic and lasting results.
Does Your Child Need Brain Training?
If children have difficulties with learning: “it is not their fault!” Nor is the problem irreversible.
We can conduct an evaluation and a comprehensive case history. Following a Cognitive Skills Assessment, we can address weaknesses in brain skills via customized exercises. A cognitive training program can work whether your child struggles, despite help from math tutors or reading tutors, or needs improvement across multiple disciplines.
One-on-One coaching can improve your child’s cognitive skills, academic abilities, and IQ. Schedule a free assessment or contact us online today. To speak with our team, call our Draper, Utah, office at 801-997-1334 to discuss how our programs can effectively help your child overcome mental and cognitive challenges through stimulating hands-on mental and physical exercises.