What is Cognitive Training?
Computer based exercises that engage sight, hearing and memory, are the most widely accepted forms of cognitive training among researchers. Other brain building activities ranging from playing PING PONG to Mindfulness Meditation, are gaining acceptance as more evidence is released by respected neuroscientists.
Cognitive training is very different from traditional learning in that you don’t have to “study” to be successful.
Instead, participants engage in increasingly more challenging visual and audio exercises on the computer, building brain capacity over time. Here’s the GOOD NEWS. Higher brain capacity ups the ability to retain, recall and utilize information, improving overall measures of INTELLIGENCE.
How Cognitive Training Works
Think of engaging in cognitive training exercises as taking your brain to the gym, developing robust circuits or pathways rather than muscles. Similar to body building, success is contingent on targeting weak areas, consistency and discipline.
Technology capturing images of the brain, before and after participating in a cognitive training program, show physical changes in the brain’s circuitry. Neuroplasticity is the scientific term describing our ability to rewire the brain; building and strengthening the physical pathways that underlie all of our skills and abilities. A growing body of evidence validates that we can get SMARTER just as our bodies can get stronger, with the right plan.
Typically the best results come with a personal trainer directing, motivating and holding the mental athlete accountable.
Since 2012 we have created 15 separate training programs at the following schools. Most of the schools have asked us to return to operate programs in subsequent years.
- Thames Academy at Mitchell College
- The Greenwood School
- Winchendon School
- The Wolf School
- The Kildonan School
- Oxford Academy
- Cheshire Academy
FA Learning Solutions is unique in offering customized school based cognitive training programs. Sometimes, we train a group of students, sometimes a class, or even an entire school. We create stand-alone programs, as well as programs that are integrated into regular classes, such as science or psychology.
We train faculty so they have the skills and understanding necessary to support the work that we do on campus. We conduct student, parent and faculty meetings / webinars, and provide an ongoing flow of material between all parties.
FA Brain Boot Camp
To create neurological changes and experience results, you need to engage in a cognitive training regime that pushes your abilities. Below is an example of one of the training schedules that we use:
- 6 weeks
- 5 days a week
- 25-40 minutes a day
We at FA Learning Solutions are constantly vetting the many available programs, books and research, flooding the marketplace. Depending on your profile we will choose the correct science backed digital products and design an individual program that will s t r e t c h your cognitive abilities incrementally, day after day.
Our job is to educate and coach you through the process. We monitor your progress and provide motivation, along with strategies and techniques that get results. Keeping you accountable and consistently working at the limits of your abilities is our job.
Take Your Brain to the Gym
Based on our work with hundreds of clients, we know that it’s not that you train but how you train. Many people sign up for nationally advertised programs that promise to improve all aspects of their mental abilities, only to find that they use them for only a week or two. It’s like that gym membership that was supposed to get you to your ideal weight, give you washboard abs and reinvigorate your love life.
Think of us as personal trainers for your brain. We develop a personalized training program for you that targets and strengthens your weaknesses. Understanding the types of tools and exercises that you need, along with the order and intensity is just part of success. We know that success is the best motivator and as coaches, we constantly monitor your progress and make adjustments so that you are consistently stretching the limits of your abilities.
Some of the Tools we use:
Cogmed Working Memory Training- Cogmed is the premier intervention for improving working memory and attention. This program focuses like a laser on visuo-spatial memory and also uses exercises that strengthen auditory memory. The effectiveness of Cogmed is supported by dozens of gold standard research studies. Unique to Cogmed is that the program provides very detailed metrics that tell us exactly how each client is training. Remembering that, it’s not that you train but how, we are able to use this information to help people train for maximum benefit.
Cognifit- Cognifit is a suite of exercises that targets many aspects of cognition, including visual perception, eye-hand coordination and processing speed. All of the exercises have a time component and improving the speed at which one completes the exercises is instrumental to success. In actuality, if you want to get faster, you have to go faster.
Posit Science- The BrainHQ program was developed under the auspices of Dr. Michael Merzenich, who did much of the pioneering work documenting brain plasticity. His research was also instrumental in the development of the cochlear ear implant. The BrainHQ program is a comprehensive package of exercises that targets many mental skills. We use a specific group of exercises that allow us to target and improve auditory skills. Our clients do a series of exercises that improve their ability to recognize and discriminate between sounds, and to remember longer sequences and passages.
Diet/Exercise/Meditation/Mindfulness/Music/Rest- Improved cognition does not happen in isolation. We encourage all of our clients to adapt their lifestyles and activities in ways that will support improved mental skills and abilities. While we are not mindfulness specialists, we are mindful to provide rest and relaxation strategies as part of our cognitive training program. A healthy brain and a healthy body go hand-in-hand.
Our clients include schools, children, adolescents, young adults and working professionals. People of all ages can benefit from cognitive training. Many people with highly developed skills engage in training because they want to take it to the next level.
Many people know exactly where they or their children need help. In other cases, we will review testing that has already been done or do our own pre- testing to assess the most important areas that need to be targeted. We always work to understand the specific goals and benefits that our clients hope to reach through their training.
Children and Adolescents– Challenges with core abilities are at the root of many students’ learning difficulties. In order to learn and to be successful in the classroom, students need to be able to understand what is being presented, retain it, and then access it in the future. Auditory processing, working memory and processing speed, all affect a student’s ability to do this.
Young Adults & Working Professionals– Many people are able to work through or around their challenges as they go through school and start their careers. Often, it is not until graduate school, or the point in one’s career where responsibilities and demands are ramped up, that many hit the wall. Cognitive training helps graduate students and professionals acquire improved memory and processing speed skills necessary for success in life.
We are bombarded daily with an unimaginable amount of information and distractions. Improved focus and the ability to screen out extraneous information while remaining on task can be the key to attaining our full potential.
Before You Go
We live in an exciting time where we no longer have to live with the brain we were born with. You can have the brain you want, all it takes is training which involves effort and consistency along with the right strategies and techniques. Most interesting is the long lasting benefits of an aggressive program.
When reviewing your cognitive training options make sure you understand the tools available, how to use them to maximize your gains and please remember that not all cognitive exercises and coaches are created equal.
Research suggests that restful sleep, eating healthy, Mindful Meditation, playing a musical instrument and engaging in Ping Pong, also contribute to maintaining a healthy brain. Now we know for sure, it’s never too late to get going.
Contact us about creating an individual or school-based program.
The Learning Brain, Memory and Brain Development in Children, Torkel Klingberg, MD, PhD
Smarter, The New Science of Building Brain Power, Dan Hurley
Working Memory and Academic Learning, Assessment and Intervention, Milton J. Dehn
Soft-Wired, How the new science of brain plasticity can change your life, Michael Merzenich PhD