Linda Narun, M.A., CCC-SLP
We are at an exciting time in the world of education, where the technological revolution is crossing paths with a newer educational revolution. Educators are beginning to understand that you can’t unlock every door with the same key: each brain is wired differently and benefits from different teaching methods. Educators in many fields have predicted that the computer will be the primary means of teaching in the 21st Century because programs can be individualized to meet these needs. These methods are particularly helpful for students with ADHD and Learning Disabilities who benefit from different approaches to learning, and who need different ways to demonstrate what they have learned.
Through the use of radiological brain measures like the FMRI and PET Scans, we know that the brain is plastic and that the brain never stops learning. It can be stimulated to process information faster and more efficiently, thus enabling it (and the student) to do better in many academic areas. We can literally make the brain grow. It stands to reason that a more efficient brain will help a student perform better academically. We can use this information to teach more effectively.
There are programs to assist learners improve their learning in both oral and written language (reading and written expression). As always, we will provide intensive programs for students who face some academic challenges. These programs are used in conjunction with educational and language therapy.
As technology continues to place endless amounts of information at our fingertips, working memory has become even more essential to our ability to function successfully since it allows us to focus our attention, organize and prioritize activities that are completed routinely.
Working memory capacity is a good predictor of your cognitive performance. Cogmed training improves your working memory. Your strengthened working memory allows you to perform better. The training creates the cognitive foundation you need to prepare for success.
When you improve your working memory capacity, the change generalizes to your behavior. In other words, the change is translated to other tasks other than just working memory. The research breakthrough is that by training a tightly defined cognitive function you create a cascading effect of improvements. You will be better able to pay attention, resist distractions, self-manage, and learn.
The Cogmed training method consists of 25, computerized training sessions, each 30-45 minutes long. Each session consists of a selection of various tasks that target the different aspects of working memory. The training is done on a computer at home, at the providers office, or at work. The training program is five weeks long with five sessions every week. It is a rigorous program designed to improve working memory through intensive and systematic training.
The complete program includes:
- Start-up session—The Cogmed Coach plans and structures the training together with the user/family.
- Five weeks of training with weekly coach calls—The user is training at home and talks with the Cogmed Coach on a weekly basis to get advice on how to get the most out of the training, hear feedback, and increase motivation.
- Access to the Cogmed Training Web—Both the user and the Cogmed Coach review and monitor the results of each day’s training, using our online system
- Wrap-up session—About one month after the training is completed, the Cogmed Coach summarizes the training together with the user and provides data from rating scales and the Cogmed Training Web.
- Six months follow-up interview –The Cogmed Coach documents training effects again, with more time elapsed and the effects fully emerged.
- Cogmed Extension Training– When the intensive five week training is completed and the training has been wrapped-up, the user gets access to 100 sessions of training with software, to use over a 12 month period. Cogmed Extension Training is optional and no extra fee involved for the first 12 months.
Training: The Interactive Metronome (IM) uses a patented auditory guidance system to systematically exercise and thereby improve a person’s timing and capacity to plan action. The IM enables improvements to be clearly measured and it progressively challenges the trainee to enable continuing progress. The standard protocol includes 15 one-hour training sessions performed 3-5 times/week where the trainee performs a series of physical exercises guided by the computerized metronome program.
Benefits of Interactive Metronome:
- Motor Control/coordination
- Balance & Gait
- Language Processing
- Control of aggression and impulsivity
Academic Performance: A white paper was recently released that showed a strong relationship between IM score and Academic Performance. Using data from several research studies, IM scores were shown to track closely with academic tests within The California Achievement Test. The strongest correlations were found with vocabulary, reading, spelling, language, mathematics, science and social studies. It also showed that IM score was related to the ability to pay attention.
The Fast ForWord software products have been designed by neuroscientists to provide the most comprehensive series of learning interventions available. The program is a reading intervention designed for K-12 education institutions and clinical specialists worldwide whose students are reading below grade level. Each of the ten intervention products provide different but coordinated levels of cognitive training of memory, attention, and processing.
“ForWord Products are: Efficient. Effective. Enduring. Averaging a one to two grade level reading gain in 8-12 weeks. When the brain’s processing skills become more efficient, substantial and quick gains in reading skills are often the outcome.” - www.scilearn.com
Training: The programs consist of a specific set of tasks that are performed on a computer five days a week for one to two hours. The intensive intervention programs (Language/Literacy and Language to Reading/Literacy Advanced) are blended with the reading programs (five levels) and/or the Reading Assistant. Each day the child has an individual protocol which is adjusted daily as tasks are mastered.
Goals: The research based programs are designed to enhance the brain’s processing efficiency by:
- Improving perception
- Sharpening phonological representations
- Enhancing oral language abilities
- Improving listening, working memory and auditory processing
- Strengthening reading, writing and spelling
The five reading programs target vocabulary, spelling, comprehension, phonemic awareness, and decoding. The Reading Assistant promotes accelerated reading success by enhancing fluency, comprehension, vocabulary, phonics, and phonemic awareness.
Following much independent research, the programs have been used successfully in many schools and rehab facilities.