Monday, November 30, 2009

Why Learning by Doing is the Best.

Ever wondered why learning by doing is so successful? Exciting new research on the rewiring processes that take place in the brain during motor learning now offers some clues. As it turns out, lots of new connections are formed between neurons when we learn a motor task and this learning is not forgotten because this change is permanent. Here is more....

The study led by researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, published in the science journal Nature, reports that new connections begin to form between brain cells almost immediately as animals learn a new task. The researchers studied mice as they were trained to reach through a slot to get a seed. They observed rapid growth of structures that form connections(called synapses) between nerve cells in the motor cortex, the brain layer that controls muscle movements.

"We found very quick and robust synapse formation almost immediately, within one hour of the start of training," said Yi Zuo, assistant professor of molecular, cell and developmental biology at UCSC.

Zuo's team observed the formation of structures called "dendritic spines" that grow on pyramidal neurons in the motor cortex. The dendritic spines form synapses with other nerve cells. At those synapses, the pyramidal neurons receive input from other brain regions involved in motor memories and muscle movements. The researchers found that growth of new dendritic spines was followed by selective elimination of pre-existing spines, so that the overall density of spines returned to the original level.

"It's a remodeling process in which the synapses that form during learning become consolidated, while other synapses are lost," Zuo said. "Motor learning makes a permanent mark in the brain. When you learn to ride a bicycle, once the motor memory is formed, you don't forget. The same is true when a mouse learns a new motor skill; the animal learns how to do it and never forgets."

The study used a noninvasive imaging technique that enabled them to view changes in individual brain cells of the mice before, during, and after the mice were trained in the seed-reaching task.

"We were able to follow the same synapses over time, which had not been done before in a motor learning study," Zuo said. "We showed that structural changes occur in the brain at a much earlier stage than people had believed."

Results from the study suggested that the newly formed dendritic spines are initially unstable and undergo a prolonged selection process during the course of training before being converted into stable synapses.

When previously trained mice were reintroduced to the reaching task four months later, their skill at the task remained high, and images of their brains did not show increased spine formation. When previously trained mice were taught a new skill, however, they showed enhanced spine formation and elimination similar to that seen during the initial training. Furthermore, spines that had formed during the initial training persisted after the remodeling process that accompanied the learning of a new task.

These findings suggest that different motor behaviors are stored using different sets of synapses in the brain.

Understanding the basis for such long-lasting memories is an important goal for neuroscientists.

One of the questions Zuo would like to explore in future studies is how these findings apply to different types of learning. "In China, where I grew up, we memorize a lot in school. What are the changes that take place in the brain during learning and memorizing, and what are the best ways to consolidate those memories? We don't really know the best way to learn and memorize," she said.

What we do know, however, is that knowledge obtained from rote memorization is easily forgotten whereas as learning by doing has been proven to have the best retention rates. Learning through discussion, participation and simulation comes a close second. It is likely that greater involvement of our many different senses during the "doing" process of active learning plays an important role in this phenomenon. Additionally, as the above study suggests, we may be just naturally wired to learn by doing. This would explain why we have such a lot of mental resources devoted to learning through "mimicking". A trait that has been preserved from mice to humans and that is observed as early as infancy.

Reference: University of California - Santa Cruz (2009, November 30). New brain connections form rapidly during motor learning. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 30, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091129153359.htm

Friday, November 6, 2009

Learning Math

The brain has an innate ability for estimating quantity as seen in babies and non-humans. However, the human ability to match specific quantities with number symbols, a skill required for doing arithmetic, is a developed skill. It takes years for children to master the ins and outs of arithmetic. New research indicates that this learning process triggers a large-scale reorganization of brain processes involved in understanding written symbols for various quantities.

It is now known from brain imaging studies that the two distinct circuits are involved during math. One circuit gives names to numbers and carries out exact calculations. This shows up on brain scans as large and strictly left-lateralized activation in the left inferior frontal lobe. A second circuit operates intuitively and is used for estimating quantities and other numerical relationships. This one shows up on brain scans as bilateral activation of the inferior parietal lobule. Research also indicates that the cerebellum plays an important role in single digit addition and comparison tasks of math cognition, but the function of cerebellum in math cognition cooperates with the frontal lobe to perform the simple math task.

While this is true for adults, children, have been observed to recruit more of their pre-frontal cortex and depend less on parietal cortex for math tasks. It is generally thought that the parietal cortex takes time to mature and as it does so mental math becomes earier for children. Interestingly, we also find that math-gifted adolescents show more bilateral activation of frontal and parietal lobes. They are able to recruit the right hemisphere possibly for the imagery required in spatial math problems. The bilateral nature of this activation indicates enhanced interhemispheric connectivity via the corpus callosum. Programs designed to develop the whole brain would therefore be likely to improve mathematical ability as would programs that stimulate the frontal cortex.

The frontal areas of the brain, especially the prefrontal cortex houses cognitive skills as working memory and executive function. Both executive function and working memory have been found to be important foundational cognitive skills for mathematical ability. For instance a study of 141 preschoolers from low-income homes has found that a child whose IQ and executive functioning were both above average was three times more likely to succeed in math than a child who simply had a high IQ.

When math test scores in individuals who had higher levels of working memory with those who had less were compared, it was found that individuals with higher levels of working memory have superior memory and computational capacity. However, in a high pressure testing situation, it turns out that the subjects with higher working memory levels performed very poorly—that is, the subjects with the greatest capacity for success were the most likely to “choke under pressure”. This has important implications for assessment such as the COGAT test. Also, as more schools start emphasizing state-exam based curricula, these studies will become increasingly relevant and important for the development of exams and training regimens that will ensure optimal performance, especially by the most promising students.

The type of working memory involved in solving math problems may be affected by the way the problems are presented. When arithmetic problems are written horizontally, more working memory resources related to language are used. However, when problems are written vertically, visuo-spatial resources of working memory are used.

Resoning ability is another cognitive domain builds the capacity for logical thought, reflection, explanation, and justification. Math is about using logic to explain and justify a solution to a problem. It is the mental muscle necessary to successfully explore puzzles. It can also extend something known to something not yet known. Therefore developing good reasoning skills is also important in math ability.

The fact that executive function, working memory and other cognitive abilitiesare significantly related to early math performance, even in children as young as pre-schoolers, suggests that if we can improve the capacity for these skills, we can improve their academic performance.

Infact, this is exactly what we have demonstrated with Neuropath Learning programs. We recently showed that third grade students graduating our programs perform significantly better on state standardized test of math proficiency when compared to students who have not used our programs. Because Neuropath Learning programs build cognitive skills such as visual-spatial skills, reasoning skills, attention skills, executive function skills and working memory skills we have been able to boost mathematical acheivement without necessarily teaching third grade mathematics. Such is the power of cognitive training! For information on our programs visit us at http://www.neuropathlearning.com/ or send me an e-mail to npl@neuropathlearning.com.


References:

Clancy Blair, Hilary Knipe, David Gamson (2008) Is There a Role for Executive Functions in the Development of Mathematics Ability? Mind, Brain, and Education, 2 (2): 80 – 89.

Beilock, S. L. (2008). Math performance in stressful situations. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 17, 339-343.

Michael W. O’Boyle, et al., (2005) Mathematically Gifted Male Adolescents Activate a Unique Brain Network During Mental Rotation, Cognitive Brain Research, 25: 583-587.

Holloway, I.D. & Ansari, D. (2009) Mapping numerical magnitudes onto symbols: The numerical distance effect and individual differences in children’s math achievement. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 103, 17-29.

Shigang Feng1, Yaxin Fan1, Qingbao Yu1, Qilin Lu1 and Yi-Yuan Tang (2008) The cerebellum connectivity in mathematics cognition. BMC Neuroscience 9(Suppl 1):155.

S Dehaene (1997) The number sense: How the mind creates mathematics New York, NY: Oxford University Press

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sensory Integration

Sensory processing or "sensory integration" is a term that refers to the way the nervous system receives messages from the senses and turns them into appropriate motor and behavioral responses. Whether you are biting into a hamburger, riding a bicycle, or reading a book, your successful completion of the activity requires processing sensation or "sensory integration."

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD, formerly known as "sensory integration dysfunction") is a condition that exists when sensory signals don't get organized into appropriate responses. Pioneering occupational therapist and neuroscientist Dr Jean Ayres, likened SPD to a neurological "traffic jam" that prevents certain parts of the brain from receiving the information needed to interpret sensory information correctly. A person with SPD finds it difficult to process and act upon information received through the senses, which creates challenges in performing countless everyday tasks. Motor clumsiness, behavioral problems, anxiety, depression, school failure, and other impacts may result if the disorder is not treated effectively.

Sensory processing disorder can affect people in only one sense–for example, just touch or just sight or just movement–or in multiple senses. One person with SPD may over-respond to sensation and find clothing, physical contact, light, sound, food, or other sensory input to be unbearable. Another might under-respond and show little or no reaction to stimulation, even pain or extreme hot and cold. In children whose sensory processing of messages from the muscles and joints is impaired, posture and motor skills can be affected. These are the "floppy babies" who worry new parents and the kids who get called "klutz" and "spaz" on the playground. Still other children exhibit an appetite for sensation that is in perpetual overdrive. These kids often are misdiagnosed - and inappropriately medicated - for ADHD. Research by the SPD Foundation indicates that 1 in every 20 children experiences symptoms of Sensory Processing Disorder that are significant enough to affect their ability to participate fully in everyday life. Symptoms of SPD, like those of most disorders, occur within a broad spectrum of severity. While most of us have occasional difficulties processing sensory information, for children and adults with SPD, these difficulties are chronic, and they disrupt everyday life.

Children with poor sensory integration often have poor school achievement, particularly in arithmetic. Parham (1998) investigated the relationship between sensory integration and school achievement in children aged between 6 and 10 years, 32 were learning-disabled and 35 were non-disabled. Sensory integration was significantly related to school achievement and this relationship was retained over a 4-year period, even when children of equal IQ were compared. In fact, research indicates that sensory integrative problems are found in up to 70% of children who are considered learning disabled by schools. It is also very common among children with Autism, ADHD.

Typically, Sensory Integration therapy, provided by occupational therapists (OT), does not focus on training specific cognitive skills. However, significant research now reveals that the majority of sensory integration disorders are caused by cognitive weakness resulting from a poorly connected prefrontal cortex. The most evolved part of the brain known as the Prefrontal Cortex (PFC) is where all of our sensory information is pulled together to allow us to make decisions about how to respond to any change in our environment. The PFC has two way connections to the parts of the brain involved in the processing of visual, auditory and somatic sensory information. Therefore, although traditional therapy exercises may be helpful for general motor skills re-training, any long-term treatment for sensory integration dysfunctions must include targeted, integrative cognitive skills assessment and training. Neuropath Learning programs can facilitate sensory processing ability by developing the wiring/connectivity/functioning of the pre-frontal cortex. The interactive activities in our programs provide visual processing and auditory processing assessment and training necessary to improve these skills. Improvement of one sensory processing mode eg., vision or hearing is known to help improve sensory processing of another modality like touch or smell. This is because our brains are wired for our senses to work together. Within our brain there are some areas that are relatively selective for visual, auditory, or tactile motion processing, but other areas that seem to process various combinations of inputs (mulitsensory areas). We therefore recommend our programs be used in conjunction with traditional OT programs for young children. Visit our website at http://www.neuropathleaning.com/ to learn more.

References


  1. Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation http://www.spdfoundation.net/index.html
  2. Parham, L. D., 1998. The Relationship of Sensory Integrative Development to Achievement in Elementary Students: Four-Year Longitudinal Patterns. Occupational Therapy Journal of Research; 18 (3), page 105
  3. Henk J. Groenewegen and Harry B. M. Uylings (2000) The prefrontal cortex and the integration of sensory, limbic and autonomic information. Progress in Brain ResearchVolume 126, Page 3





Wednesday, August 19, 2009

How Fast Can The Brain Re-wire?

The brain is in various states of readiness to re-wire in response to a particular learning experience. Changes at the chemical level, such as an alteration of neurotransmitter release, uptake, production, are very rapid. Changes at the level of connectivity between neurons such as increase in numbers of synapses (connections), strengthening of synapses and remodeling of synapses is also quite rapid. Re-wiring processes that incorporate newly born neurons into a pathway are somewhat slower to occur – these are the changes that lead to enlargement of brain areas that a heavily used for specific tasks.

Using a new brain scanning technique called Diffusion Tensor MRI, scientists can now trace connections between different brain regions and recent observations demonstrate that the microstructure of the brain can change in mere hours. After subjects were asked to train on a visual/spatial task, structural and functional changes were detected as soon as two hours of training. The spatial learning task involved playing a highly engaging race-track video game, going over the same virtual race track 16 times. Each time the subjects circled the track, the time they took to complete it decreased. At the end of the two hours, microstructure of the hippocampus, motor and visual areas of the brain had changed! These microstructural changes involved changes in connectivity between neurons such as increased synaptic density, formation of new synapses and formation of new dendrites.

But neurons are not the only brain cells that adapt to learning. The other type of cell present in the brain is the “glial cell”. Glial cells are essentially support cells – meaning they support the function and needs of neurons. Scientists recently found that new glial cells, which are produced in the brain throughout life, release a type of chemical that acts as a brain fertilizer - facilitating the growth and connectivity of neurons in the brain. This response of new glial cells was demonstrated to produce improved cognitive function in aging brains.

This all makes sense when you think of the speed at which cognition and attention have been shown to improve with training. We have witnessed some pretty remarkable changes in academic performance, social attitudes and behaviors of children using Neuropath Learning programs in just a matter of months which amounted to a total time of 8-10hours of interaction with our learning system. We have always found this pretty mindboggling to explain but in light of Michael Posner's work, I reported in an earlier post and this recent data we now know that the brain can and does adapt functionally and structurally at a rapid pace producing such dramatic outcomes.


References:

1. American Friends of Tel Aviv University (2009, August 17). Window Into The Brain: Diffusion Imaging MRI Tracks Memories And May Detect Alzheimer's At Early Stage. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 19, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090812145022.htm

2. University of California - Irvine (2009, July 22). Neural Stem Cells May Rescue Memory In Advanced Alzheimer's, Mouse Study Suggests.ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 19, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090720190726.htm

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Response to Intervention: Get in the Zone!

The Response to Intervention (RTI) model gained credibility in recent years as an eligibility model for special education services. But RTI is also a useful approach to providing data-based decision-making for any students who may be in need of extra interventions for improving their performance. Since data driven decision making is one of the key reforms emphasised by the Federal government's stimulus funding guidelines, RTI is currently a hot topic.

The RTI model comprises of 3 tiers, universal interventions (green zone), group interventions (yellow zone) and individual interventions (red zone). At each tier, assessments and interventions are offered within general education classrooms to identify and correct potential learning issues. The goal is twofold: to prevent children from being channeled into special education programs and to help mainstream students already in special programs.

At each zone the following questions are asked:
1. What is the problem?
2. Why does the problem exist?
3. What should be done to address the problem?
4. Did the intervention work and what’s next?

Neuropath Learning programs are designed to help teachers and school administrators implement practical RTI programs in elementary schools. For example, our programs Early Mind Matters and Knowledge First, can help with both assessment and intervention at each level. Since the program does all the work, it is a very practical universal intervention to offer school wide as a preventive measure. The multimodal differentiated instruction and comprehensive assessment covers a broad range of possible learning issues. The programs are able to clearly and precisely define the cognitive gaps that are leading to various learning issues. The cognitive challenges in the learning activities then train the brain to develop the cognitive skills found to be weak. This type of cognitive training facilitates academic achievement and the benefits of this training have been shown to be long lasting. Data is collected in real time as the student interacts with the program and the teacher and principal can view this data distribution in the context of individual performance, class performance and school performance. The students progress through the programs at their own pace, once one program is completed they can move on to more advanced programs. The programs can track individual student progress and measure learning. Whats more, our programs are fully customizable for addressing special needs of certain groups of students with the same learning issue or individuals with who need tailor made interventions. Thus offering solutions for students in the green zone and red zones. This is the power of our technology. We like to think we offer learning solutions and not just sell software to schools. Our goal is to partner with schools to help students reach their full potential and we strive to make sure our programs are used correctly to obtain maximum benefits.

If you are wondering, "well that's great news for learning issues, but what do I do about behavioral issues?" you should read the previous post where I explain how Neuropath Learning programs address both learning and behavior issues at the same time using executive function training activities. Here is the link: http://neuropathlearning.blogspot.com/2009/08/killing-two-birds-with-one-stone.html

Be sure to check out our website, http://www.neuropathlearning.com/, for more information, interactive demos, sample charts and success stories.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

KILLING TWO BIRDS WITH ONE STONE

I just returned from the WASA/OSPI Special Ed workshop and it was interesting to see how educators separate learning issues from behavior issues. And its not just educators, domains of cognition and emotion are often treated as non-overlapping entities across the board. This is quite surprising to me because if you think about it in neurological terms, no such distinction remains since both are controlled by the same brain networks. Both Cognition and Executive funtions (EF) are housed in the prefrontal cortex of the brain. Engaging in tasks that activate the prefrontal cortex can develop both cognition (including social cognition), emotional regulation and behavioral responses. Neuropath Learning Programs offer creative problem solving activities that train cognitive skills plus develop executive function and thus have been shown to improve both learning and behavioral outcomes. Essentially killing two birds with one stone - or blurring the line between them.

Executive functioning refers to our ability to be able to make and carry out plans, direct our attention, focus and also to control our internal states: our impulses and emotions and to be able to switch from one task to another. In other words it is a key part of our ability to self-regulate our behavior, mind and emotions.

However, EF comprises not only effortful control and cognitive focus but also working memory and mental flexibility—the ability to adjust to change, to think outside the box. These are the uniquely human skills that, taken together, allow us keep our more impulsive and distractable brain in check. New research shows that EF, more than IQ, leads to success in basic academics like arithmetic and grammar. It also suggests that we can pump up these EF skills with regular mental exercise, just as we do with muscles.

Studies conducted with preschool aged children showed that those kids educated using techniques that help to develop executive function performed far better than their conventionally educated peers. What’s more the EF groups significantly outperformed their matched peers in all areas including their subsequent ability to learn to read, write and correctly perform mathematical functions when they reached kindergarten.

Here are some examples of the learning activities in the EF curriculum. Instead of keeping the classroom quiet, kids are actually taught and encouraged to talk to themselves, privately but aloud, as a way of helping them exert mental control. In one exercise, for example, the kids have to match their movements to symbols. When the teacher holds up a circle they clap, with a triangle they hop, and so forth. The kids are taught to talk themselves through the mental exercise: "OK, now clap." "Twirl now." This has been shown to flex and enhance the brain's ability to switch gears, to suppress one piece of information and sub in a new one. It takes discipline; it's the elementary school equivalent of saying "I really need to stop thinking about next week's vacation and focus on this report."

Here's another example from the classroom. Children tell stories to one another, but kids being kids, they all want to be the storyteller; none wants to just sit and listen. But the reality is that only one can tell a story at a time, so the designated listeners hold a picture of an ear, a prop to remind them that they are waiting their turn to talk. This helps them learn to control their natural instinct to talk out of turn. Eventually the props and private chatter are not needed, but in the beginning they help cognitively immature children stretch their executive muscles.

Dramatic role playing is a cornerstone of the EF philosophy. The preschoolers, all four and five years old, actually design the play's action by themselves. For example: "Let's pretend you're the mommy and I'm the baby. I'll get sick, and you'll need to take me to the doctor." Then they act it out, solving problems along the way. The idea is that play of this kind promotes the internalization of rules and expectations and demands mental discipline to stay in character—all cognitive challenges. Importantly, these exercises were not tacked on as a separate teaching, but rather were integrated into every activity of the child's day, from reading to math.

This however, is a vast oversimplification of a curriculum that has taken years to develop and is grounded in rigorous scientific studies of children's brain development. Even though the activities may seem frivolous studies showed that preschoolers with sharper executive capability as a result of such a curriculum outperform their more traditional learning peers in basic skills, especially mathematics, when they hit kindergarten. In other words, early exposure to dramatic play and cognitive games better prepares kids for mastery of traditional academics.

This new thinking has the potential to be transformational if the powers that be are willing to embrace the realities of this data. If you think in terms of Executive function there is no difference in interventions for WON'T DO kids and CAN'T DO kids.

Neuropath Learning has long recognized the importance of executive function and has applied this knowledge to designing all its learning and assessment programs. Our learning activities are real world simulations of these same types of EF activity examples. This is why, not only are they successful they are also fun and children love using them. These programs are easy to use at home to complement school curriculum. So get your child on our learning path today!

Ref:
Is EF the New IQ?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Reality vs Virtual Reality?

Neuropath Learning has always made it an point to use real-world photographic images and videos, natural sounds and human voices in a real life context. No cartoons, virtual environments or computer generated audio. This unique feature of our product is one of the important things that set us apart from other educational software and learning systems. However, virtual environments have been frequently used for training and skill improvement. Do real and virtual worlds engage the same brain states in human perceivers? That is what a team of research scientists led by Shihui Han set to find out.

They measured brain activity using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while subjects watched movie and cartoon clips, simulating real and virtual visual worlds, respectively. Relative to baselines using random static images, the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) and the cerebellum were activated only by movie clips of other humans. In contrast, cartoon clips of human and non-human agents activated the superior parietal lobes, while movie clips of animals also activated the superior parietal lobes. Their fMRI findings suggest that the perception of real-world humans is characterised by the involvement of pre-frontal cortex and the cerebellum.
It is important to note that the prefrontal cortex is where most of our cognitive functions such as "working memory" and "executive function"are located in the brain. Our learning programs are packed with hundreds and thousands of images of human faces, especially those of children. Therefore, the Neuropath Learning process must stimulate the developing brain differently from a learning system that uses cartoon and virtual reality. Given that greater stimulation of specific brain regions generally leads to enhanced development of those parts and the functions housed within, our real-world learning system is definite at an advantage when it come to facilitating cognitive development. Use of real-world stimuli is one of the criteria that makes it a true brain based learning program. Which means it is designed around the way the brain is attracted to and retains new and useful information.

Another study, conducted by scientists in Italy, found that watching a video of a real hand moving vs. an animation of a moving cartoon hand stimulated the brain differently.

This team of researchers, led by Daniel Perani, investigated whether observation of actions reproduced in three-dimensional virtual reality would engage perceptual and visuomotor brain processes different from those induced by the observation of real hand actions. Participants were asked to passively observe grasping actions of geometrical objects made by a real hand or by hand reconstructions of different quality in 3D virtual reality as well as on a 2D TV screen. They found that only real actions in a natural environment activated the visuospatial network including the right posterior parietal cortex. Observation of virtual-reality hand actions engaged prevalent visual perceptual processes within lateral and mesial occipital regions. Thus, only perception of actions in reality, maps onto existing action representations, whereas virtual-reality conditions do not access the full motor knowledge available to the central nervous system. They also noted that the degree of realism in the reproduction of the virtual reality hand seemed to have limited effect, in particular in the engagement of right hemispheric structures. This means that virtual reality cannot substitute for reality because they are not processed by the same neural networks.

In other words, if you want to teach someone to tie their shoe laces, you will be far more successful using a real life movie rather than a computer generated graphic animation. Definitely something to keep in mind!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Game Changer

Can digital games, especially well-designed educational games, help reshape our nation’s approach to learning and growing? This question was addressed in a new report by the Joan Ganz Cooney's Center at the Sesame Workshop. The report titled: "Game Changer:Investing in Digital Play to Advance Children’s Learning and Health" specifies how increased national investment in research-based digital games might play a cost-effective and transformative role. It provides recommendations for the media industry, government, philanthropy, and academia to harness the appeal of digital games to improve children’s health and learning.

Digital media have dramatically transformed children’s play. From the preschool years on, millions of American children are actively immersed in play within a new, virtual playground.
Research now offers solid evidence that children learn important content, perspectives, and vital “21st-century skills” from playing digital games.

In their recent review of learning and games, Moving Learning Games Forward, Klopfer, Osterweil, and Salen (2009) categorize different types of learning that are possible with games. For example:

  • Content (from rich vocabulary to science to history)
  • Skills (from literacy to math to complex problem-solving)
  • Creation of artifacts (from videos to software code)

  • Systems thinking (how changing one element affects relationships as a whole)

Research has begun to document a number of powerful potential benefits from digital-media play, including positive social growth (more peer interaction around common interests), cognition (greater motivation to read and solve problems), and health (better understanding of the importance of healthy behaviors, improved self-care skills, more self-confidence and drive
to carry out those skills).

Nine areas of learning and behavior change supported by well-designed interactive games:
  1. Motivation to learn

  2. Perception and coordination

  3. Thinking and problem-solving

  4. Knowledge

  5. Skills and behaviors

  6. Self-regulation and therapy

  7. Self concepts

  8. Social relationships

  9. Attitudes and values
The experts they interviewed said that "our conception of the nature of learning itself needs to fundamentally change". What is literacy and learning today? Is it memorizing a lot of facts, or is it having the capability to maneuver your way through data to find answers to questions that come up in your life? There are so many 9-year-olds who have two or three screens in their personal control at home, and yet at school, we expect children to power down their devices and learn.

When parents and teachers were asked to rate digital media’s potential as an educational tool, they said that they viewed the internet, computer programs, and CD-Roms as having more educational potential than other forms of digital media, likely because they require kids to use their reading and writing skills.

The study concludes by saying " digital games are here to stay and offer the country a rare opportunity to leverage children’s already established enthusiasm in order to reform education and promote healthy development. We know enough about digital games and how they work to recognize their promise. Now we need to invest time and resources to turn this promise into a real “game changer” for America’s children."

At Neuropath Learning we go one step further in providing online computer games for children that foster their critical thinking skills and reinforce important concepts they encounter in the classroom and in the real world. Our interactive learning tools help develop cognitive abilities and executive funtion that is required for success. For more information on our programs, visit our website at http://www.neuropathlearning.com/

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Project Tomorrow

In the mid-90s, Sun Microsystems executive John Gage founded NetDay, which began as a grassroots campaign in California to wire schools but soon blossomed into a national nonprofit organization. Julie Evans has been running the organization since 2000, when it expanded its mission beyond one-day "electronic barn-raising" efforts connecting neighborhood schools to the internet and started helping schools integrate technology effectively into the curriculum. In 2008 Julie Evans was recognized as one of "Ten Who've Made a Difference in Educational Technology". Last year, NetDay merged with a California-based science education group to become Project Tomorrow.

Under Evans' leadership, the group has made its biggest impact through a series of annual surveys, called "Speak Up." These surveys aim to collect students', teachers', and parents' views on science, math, and technology, and how to improve education for the 21st century. Since 2003, more than 850,000 K-12 students and their teachers and parents have participated in the annual online Speak Up surveys, and the surveys' findings have helped shape ed-tech policy at the federal, state, and local levels.

Here are two videos from Project Tomorrow which address LEARNING IN A GLOBAL AGE. The needs of students cannot be confined to the walls of a school building anymore; online learning and even hands on learning outside the school are now necessary to make students sucessful in life. At Neuropath Learning we noticed these gaps a while ago and have been working hard to provide students with opportunities for online learning and testing at an early age.
A new study, Learning in the 21st Century: 2009 Trends Update reports this demand for more online learning by students, as well as the online learning practices of schools today and identifies future needs. Parents believe the goal of science education is to provide critical thinking skills and creative problem solving and this is the goal of our educational products and services also.

This first video identifies a disconnect between students and educators in the use of technology in education and how schools are failing to provide students with life skills. Watch Julie Evans, Project Tomorrow CEO Speak Up in Learning to Change, Changing to Learn.



In this second video students speak up to President Obama about how to improve their schools. They have many great ideas and envision some of the same changes that we believe in need to occur. It is very inspiring to hear what they have to say.



Finally here is a slideshow of the 2007 survey showing what is lacking in science education today and what is needed to prepare and motivate student for careers in science and technology.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Standard IQ Test Undervalues People With Autism

A recently published Canadian study has demonstrated that people with autism use more visual processing to solve questions on a nonverbal intelligence test and can find the correct answers faster than people without the disorder! Hopefully these findings will now change how people with autism are taught. At Neuropath Learning we have always believed that children know more than they are given credit for and because of the existence of multiple intelligences we feel we cannot gauge intelligence by using the same standardized IQ test for everyone. We often meet parents and teachers who believe that the activities in our programs may be too challenging for their child/students. However, given the chance - the children usually prove them wrong. This is because our programs offer visual learning and problem solving activities. This research study once again reinforces that autistic children learn and understand differently than other children. They have a different skill set, but can learn a lot. Even though they are limited due to their disability, autistic children can really surprise you when it comes to how much knowledge they can retain. Here are more details of the study.

FRIDAY, June 19 (HealthDay News) -- The most commonly used test to measure intelligence is underestimating the intellectual potential of autistic people, new research suggests.
People with autism often struggle with the verbal portions of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, the test most often used to measure IQ, researchers said.
But when given another test of abstract reasoning abilities, the Raven's Standard Progressive Matrices, autistic people not only had scores equal to those of their non-autistic counterparts, but they answered the questions, on average, as much as 42 percent more quickly. Study participants were specifically asked to complete patterns in the Raven's Standard Progressive Matrices (RSPM) – a test that measures hypothesis-testing, problem-solving and learning skills". An image from the test is is shown here. On the Raven's test, autistic participants scored, on average, 30 percentage points higher than would have been predicted by their scores on the Wechsler scale, according to the study, in the June issue of Human Brain Mapping.
Also, MRIs done during the testing showed that autistic people had more activity in different areas of their brains than those without autism.
"While both groups performed Raven's Standard Progressive Matrices (RSPM) test with equal accuracy, the autistic group responded more quickly and appeared to use perceptual regions of the brain to accelerate problem solving," said Isabelle Soulieres, a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard University and the study's lead author. "Some critics argued that autistics would be unable to complete the RSPM because of its complexity, yet our study shows autistics complete it as efficiently and have a more highly developed perception than non-autistics."
The researchers said the findings have implications for the way in which autistic children are educated.
"When we do the Wechsler test, which is the one that is done in clinical settings, there is a big chance that we underestimate the education potential of autistics," Soulieres said. "If you underestimate someone's potential, you will have less hope and you will lower your goals for this person. … We should make the bet they are more intelligent than they show us on the Wechsler test."
For the study, 15 autistic people ages 14 to 36 were matched with 18 people without autism. Based on their preliminary results on the Wechsler test, all participants had an IQ between 81 and 131, or generally between the low and high end of the normal range.
Each participant was then given the Raven's Standard Progressive Matrices, a 60-item test of abstract reasoning ability. The questions, which are highly visual in nature, ask participants to identify the next sequence of a larger pattern or the missing segment of complex geometric shapes.
During the test, MRIs indicated that people with autism showed more activity in the left cuneus, a region of the brain's occipital cortex thought to be involved with updating working memory and making comparisons among visual images, according to the study.
Compared with people without autism, autistic people showed less activity in areas of the prefrontal cortex of the brain that are thought to be involved in manipulation and integration of information in working memory, managing difficult tasks and evaluating the correctness of responses.
When it came to their answers, those with and without autism who scored the same on the Wechsler test also had similar scores on the Raven's test. But those with autism answered figural questions 23 percent more quickly and analytic questions 42 percent more quickly.
"This study bolsters our previous findings and should help educators capitalize on the intellectual abilities of autistics," said senior researcher Dr. Laurent Mottron, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Montreal. "The limits of autistics should constantly be pushed, and their educational materials should never be simplified."
Autism is marked by repetitive behaviors, problems with verbal or non-verbal communication and social difficulties. Because the condition has a wide range of symptoms and degrees of severity, autism is now often referred to as autism spectrum disorders, said Brenda Smith Myles, chief of programs for the Autism Society of America.
Previously, many experts believed that as many as 70 percent of people with autism also had cognitive and other learning disabilities. But recently, researchers have been finding that perhaps only half do, Myles said.
Studies such as this one show that people with autism are able to problem solve and that visual learning might be more helpful than auditory or language-based learning.
Still, she said, there's a need for more studies to assess how best to put such knowledge into practice in the real world to help autistic people succeed in school and employment.
"What we need are more studies that take this information and apply it in a classroom or community setting," Myles said. "This does not tell us what a child will do in a third-grade classroom or what an adult will do in a workplace."

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Computerized COGNITIVE TRAINING: Preparing kids for school

Playing special computer games has been shown to help prepare kids for school. Psychologists at the University of Oregon designed games to train the network of brain areas involved in attention which undergoes important development between ages 3 and 7. The team of researchers was led by Dr. Michael Posner is a prominent scientist in the field of cognitive neuroscience.

At issue is "executive attention," or the ability to tune out distractions and pay attention only to useful information. Posner explains, “We human beings can regulate our thoughts, emotions, and actions to a greater degree than other primates. For example, we can choose to pass up an immediate reward for a larger, delayed reward. We can plan ahead, resist distractions, be goal-oriented. These human characteristics appear to depend upon what we often call ‘self-regulation’. All parents have seen this in their kids. Parents can see the remarkable transformation as their children develop the ability to regulate emotions and to persist with goals in the face of distractions.”

“It's important, particularly in child development, for the child's ability to regulate their thoughts and to control their emotions," says Posner. "This executive network, which tends to control the child's emotions, also allows them to continue to work on a particular task." There's great individual variation among healthy children and adults, and problems with this particular attention-paying neural network might be one of many factors involved in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.

What is exciting these days is that progress in neuroimaging and in genetics make it possible to think about self-regulation in terms of specific brain-based networks.

Dr. Posner has been interested in how the attention system develops in infancy and early childhood.

One of his major findings is that there is not one single "attention", but three separate functions of attention with three separate underlying brain networks: alerting, orienting, and executive attention.

1) Alerting: helps us maintain an alert state. This involves the norepinephrine system, arising in the locus coeruleus and activating centers in the frontal and parietal lobes.

2) Orienting: focuses our senses on the information we want. It involves areas of the parietal lobe and frontal cortex, and seems to be particularly affected by the neuromodulator, acetylcholine.

3) Executive Attention: regulates a variety of networks, such as emotional responses and sensory information. It’s called the “executive” because it interacts with many other brain networks in regulating their activity. This is clearly correlated with academic performance. This network involves frontal structures such as the anterior singulate and lateral prefrontal cortex, as well as the basal ganglia.

Note that “executive attention” is different from “executive function”. Executive functions are goal-oriented. Executive attention is just the ability to manage attention towards those goals, towards planning. Both are clearly correlated. Executive attention is important for decision-making (how to accomplish an external goal) and with working memory (the temporary storage of information).

The development of executive attention can be easily observed both by questionnaire and cognitive tasks after about age 3–4, when parents can identify the ability of their children to regulate their emotions and control their behavior in accord with social demands.

Posner and his research team were interested in seeing whether, with a certain amount of training, they might be able to improve the efficiency of the network in children at the age when the network is developing.

The researchers studied groups of children age 4 to 6. Posner and his colleagues recruited 49 kids in the younger group and 24 in the older group. The children received intelligence and attention testing while most of them wore sensor nets on their heads to measure electrical signals on the brain's surface. Then, the children were randomly assigned to receive attention training or no training. Those in the training group were given increasingly difficult attention tasks.

The training was adapted from tasks that increase attention control in monkeys. "Training programs designed to teach monkeys to go into outer space and work on NASA experiments involved teaching those monkeys to resolve conflict between different thoughts. And that's a very important aspect of the executive attention network. So we decided we would adopt those training programs for children," Posner explains.

The children were asked to use a control device, like a game joystick, to move a cursor on a screen to the larger of two groups of objects. But a conflict was sometimes created by making the larger group have a lesser value, for example, the larger group was made up of lots of number 2's, while the smaller group consisted of number 7's. "So there's a conflict between going to the larger number of items and going to the larger digit," Posner says, "and the children are taught to resolve that conflict." In another task, children moved a cartoon cat across a computer screen using a joystick to keep the cat out of expanding muddy areas.

Using caps wired with electrodes the team recorded children’s brain waves at the beginning and at the end of the study. After training, all the children were again tested on intelligence and attention.

Researchers recorded in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that the network became more efficient after just 5 training sessions. These findings have since been replicated in similar experiments by Spanish researchers.

After the training, Posner reported that 6-year-olds showed a pattern of activity in the anterior cingulate similar to that of adults. “Part of the network developed a more mature response, meaning it looked more like the adult subjects that we’ve also run in these experiments.” Posner said.

The researchers found that even this brief attention training improved one measure of IQ involving non-verbal reasoning. They also show clear post-training improvement on the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test (KBIT) and in overall IQ, compared with controls. This suggests that they were not only able to train, but that they were able to get generalization--because the KBIT was different from anything they used in the training.

The brains of the 6-year-olds showed significant changes after the computer training compared with untrained playmates who watched videos. The researchers believe this shows that it is possible to train the executive attention network.

Brain regions activated in the 4-year-olds by attention training overlapped with those previously tied to IQ , Posner says. That neural intermingling toward the front of the brain could explain why average intelligence scores rose 6 points among 4-year-olds after attention training, compared with a 1-point increase for untrained 4-year-olds, he suggests. Trained 4-year-olds displayed a much narrower advantage on an attention test.

Among 6-year-olds, training yielded a slight IQ-score advantage but a marked gain in attention control, also called executive attention. During testing, trained kids in this group showed strong neural responses toward the back of the brain, whereas untrained kids displayed predominantly frontal-brain activity, perhaps reflecting conscious effort.

DNA testing examined a gene that influences transmission of the chemical messenger dopamine. Posner's findings indicated that 6-year-olds bearing one form of the gene displayed the poorest attention control before the training and the most improvement with training. In other words, children who were the most inattentive gained the most from the program. The gene variant had been previously linked to an outgoing temperament.

WATCH A VIDEO OF THE STUDY REPORT

For Posner, the findings hold exciting implications not just for helping children with attention-deficit problems, but for generally improving young children's education. He is now now calling on educators at conferences and in his book, "Educating the Human Brain," to consider teaching attention in preschool.

"We should think of this work not just as remediation but as a normal part of education," said Posner. "Attention plays a very important role in acquisition of high-level skills, and if attention is trainable, it becomes attractive for preschool preparation." Posner says that early childhood educators should pay attention to improving attention. Their research has important implications for schools, which are charged with educating an increasing number of students with attention disorders. If children entering school have better attention skills, then that allows them to absorb information better. That can increase their later attention and things could spiral. So, very small changes might turn out to be really quite important in the life of the child.

This type of cognitive training using computer games is in actual fact re-wiring the brain by building long range connections between different parts of the brain. For example, there is a type of neuron, named the Von Economo neuron, which is found only in the anterior cingulate and a related area of the anterior insula, very common in humans, less in other primates, and completely absent in most non-primates. These neurons have long axons, connecting to the anterior cingulate and anterior insula, which is part of the reason why we have Executive Attention. Neural networks like this are what enable specific human traits such as ‘effortful control’ which is a higher-order temperament factor consisting of attention, focus shifting, and inhibitory control - both for children and adults. A common example of this is how you often may make plans that you do not follow through with. Effortful control has been shown to correlate with the scores on executive attention at several ages during childhood, and imaging studies have linked it to brain areas involved in self-regulation. Good parenting has been shown to build good effortful control, so there are clear implications from this research.

Several training programs have been successful in improving attention in normal adults and in patients suffering from different pathologies. With normal adults, training with video games produced better performance on a range of visual attention tasks. There is no ceiling for abilities such as attention. The more training, even with normal people, the higher the results. Training has also led to specific improvements in executive attention in patients with specific brain injury.

With the global advent of brain-based education, Posner noted, such work has garnered increased support from national and international governments and nonprofit groups.

"These efforts are bringing together a platform where new findings about the brain--in literacy, numeracy and attention--can yield new interventions," says Posner. "We are on the threshold of important developments in education."

Dozens of schools nationwide are already incorporating some kind of attention training into their curriculum. And as this new arena of research helps overturn long-standing assumptions about the malleability of this essential human faculty, it offers intriguing possibilities for a world of overload.

"If you have good attentional control, you can do more than just pay attention to someone speaking at a lecture, you can control your cognitive processes, control your emotions, better articulate your actions," says Amir Raz, a cognitive neuroscientist at McGill University who is a leading attention researcher. "You can enjoy and gain an edge in life."

A parallel line of investigation is based on the close link between attention and memory. "Working memory" is the short-term cognitive storehouse that helps us recall a phone number or the image of a landscape; this type of memory is integral to executive attention. Tapping into this link, cognitive neuroscientist Torkel Klingberg of Sweden's Karolinska Institute devised computer software to improve executive attention by training working memory in teens and pre-adolescents with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Using a training program he calls "RoboMemo," Klingberg has helped children improve their working memory and complex reasoning skills, according to studies published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, among other publications. This appears to pay off in attention as well. The children were also reported to be less impulsive and inattentive by their parents.

Christopher Lucas of New York University, one of the US researchers using Klingberg's software, used the RoboMemo training program to boost the visuospatial memory of a group of children, and found that as this type of working memory improved, they became more focused and compliant. Most encouraging is that this training was associated with an increase in positive behavior above and beyond medication and behavior treatments already in place.

Children differ in their attentional preferences, and in their capacity to regulate attention. Dr. Posner is currently working on a long-term study to train children at age 5 and then follow-up over the years, compared to a control group. They would like to track those kids over time and see what happens. For example, they will examine whether or not an early intervention might translate into a "snowball effect" of higher levels of cognitive and school performance. Posner's team is also studying attention training with preschoolers who have symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Some of their initial findings are reported here. Their experience in is that attention training can be adapted successfully for preschoolers, and has promising evidence as an intervention for children at-risk for or diagnosed with ADHD.

It is clear that executive attention and effortful control are critical for success in school. Will they one day be trained in all pre-schools? Dr Posner says “It sounds reasonable to believe so, to make sure all kids are ready to learn.” And that is what we believe too.

With Neuropath Learning programs you can now make this future a reality! Our programs provide cognitive training of all sorts: attention training, executive function training, working memory training, visuo-spatial training and verbal/auditory training. We have seen improvements of language abilities, academic performance and positive behavioral outcomes result from use of our programs. Register for a free trial today!

References:

1. Training, maturation, and genetic influences on the development of executive attention. Rueda MR, Rothbart MK, McCandliss BD, Saccomanno L, Posner MI. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2005 Oct 11;102(41):14931-6.

2. Computerized training of working memory in children with ADHD--a randomized, controlled trial. Klingberg T, Fernell E, Olesen PJ, Johnson M, Gustafsson P, Dahlström K, Gillberg CG, Forssberg H, Westerberg H. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2005 Feb;44(2):177-86.

3. A randomized controlled of two forms of computerized working memory training in ADHD. Christopher Lucas, M.D., M.P.H., Howard Abikoff, Ph.D., Eva Petkova, Ph.D., Weijin Gan, M.S., Solomon Sved, Lindsey Bruett, Brittany Eldridge, B.A. Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association, May 2008

4. “Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age," by Maggie Jackson. June 2008

2. Posner Interviews:

Video: http://www.livescience.com/common/media/video/player.php?videoRef=attentiontraining

Photos: University of Oregon

Monday, June 8, 2009

Interview with Craig Evans of Autism Hangout

Craig Evans of Autism Hangout invited me for a SKYPE interview last week to share our company's products and services with the Autismhangout community. Here is the recording of the that interview. If you have any questions about anything mentioned in the interview or would like to find out more please e-mail me at sutapa@neuropathlearning.com


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Differentiated Instruction Tools

More and more people are realizing that a one-size-fits-all, group learning approach in schools is not working. So "Differentiated Instruction" is slowly gaining ground as parents and educators are acknowledging different learning styles and the existence of multiple intelligences.

Differentiated instruction is an important consideration in all classrooms but especially so in the special education setting. Although teachers understand this, they often do not have the time and resources to implement it. Neuropath Learning has developed programs that are designed to help teachers offer Differentiated Instruction in both the mainstream classroom and the special needs classroom. These products are computer based interactive software that are accessible online. Multimedia learning tools can pair visual, auditory and written information to teach and reinforce important concepts in language and math as well as promote cognitive development in a way that books cannot. Information is presented in various different ways through many types of "learning activities" in our programs. Students are allowed to interact with the program one-on-one and get immediate feedback and rewards for their achievement. It is important to note that all of the multimedia presented to the children are reality based, natural sounds and pictures - none of it is computed generated, cartoons or fantasy.

Early Mind Matters is our program for ECE (early childhood education) and Special ed. This program guides students through a series of cognitive learning activities and their performance is tracked in real time. The program then generates a report of cognitive abilities and disabilities of each child. This type of information is valuable for developing an IEP (special ed) and to identify and bridge gaps in knowledge or understanding early on (ECE). The program also offers cognitive training through successive rounds of student interaction with these activities to further develop and improve 47 different cognitive skills. Moreover, the Early Mind Matters program can be customized for each child's individual needs - for example if more cognitive training activities are required to correct a particular deficit we provide additional relevant activities from our extensive database. Using this program a teacher can evaluate all of his/her students at the same time and get individual read outs of each child’s strengths and weaknesses. If you'd like to know more information about this program please go to www.neuropathlearning.com. You can register up to 5 students in your classroom for a free trial.

Neuropath Learning also offers a program called Knowledge First that can be used in mainstream classrooms. Both Knowledge First and Early Mind Matters follow the same principles of brain based learning and evaluation. They are based on years of scientific research on how the brain is attracted to and retains new and useful information. Knowledge First assesses both cognitive and academic performance of each child in specific subject areas at the elementary school level. You can find demos of all of our programs on the neuropathlearning.com website. Many teachers have successfully used data coming from the Knowledge First program to address specific learning issues for children in their class. They have also designed their curriculum and teaching methods around the content in the Knowledge First program to further the gains. Knowledge First has consistently helped schools improve state wide test scores significantly year after year. This is due to a combination of cognitive training that brings about "learning readiness", differential instruction, and a better understanding of each child's capabilities and deficits. 

Finally -  for neurotypical preschoolers and kindergartners we have a program called Be School Ready - that again works on the same principles of differentiated instruction and cognitive learning. Our programs can be used in series - Early Mind Matters, followed by Be School Ready and then Knowledge First to help developmentally delayed children integrate into the mainstream classroom.

What sets our programs apart from other educational/assessment software manufacturers is that we continually work with teachers, orienting, guiding, training and supporting them throughout the process. With Early Mind Matters for example, each child's performance data is periodically analyzed and an individualized report for each child is provided to the teacher. We are always working to improve our products and develop new ones. All upgrades are immediately available to users as it is entirely web based.

We believe that there is no such thing as a "standardized brain" so why should there be standardized learning and testing???

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

How does the Neuropath Learning process work?

We now have evidence that our programs are helping children both with and without learning disabilities learn. If you have read the feedback and watched the video testimonials from parents and teachers on this blog, you must be wondering how children on our programs have made such extraordinary gains. The following attempts to explain the neurobiology of how our programs are able to boost cognitive development and produce the amazing results seen. 

How does Neuropath Learning™ improve cognitive function?

Strong cognitive skills are a  pre-requisite for learning.
Cognitive skills are the mental skills required to retain, recall, process and analyze information, focus and apply knowledge. These skills affect both learning and behavior because they are needed for thinking, problem solving, planning, strategizing and reacting appropriately.......(more)

Neuropath Learning™ programs take advantage of the phenomenon of neuro-plasticity.
For a long time, it was believed that as we aged, the connections in the brain became fixed or permanent. Research has shown that in fact the brain never stops changing through learning. Plasticity is the capacity of the brain to change with learning. Our experiences are what shape our brains.......(more)

The two key elements of cognitive function in the brain are working memory and executive function.
The term ‘working memory’ refers to the capacity to store and manipulate information for brief periods of time, similar to a scratchpad. It provides a mental workspace that is used in many important activities in learning......(more)

Cognitive training increases pre-frontal cortex activity.
The part of the brain involved in executive planning and working memory is the pre-frontal cortex whereas the part of the brain involved in learning and memory retrieval is thehippocampus. All the activities in EMM are designed to stimulate the pre-frontal cortex and require the use of the hippocampus.......(more)

Neuropath Learning™ uses a visual, right-brain approach.
In order to connect, the neurons need to be stimulated through activity. All the activities in our programs are designed to stimulate the parts of the brain involved in cognition. Visual stimulation with real world images is a key feature of EMM that sets it apart from other cognitive training programs.....(more)

The neuro-scientific basis of the Neuropath Learning Process.
Our early childhood learning programs are derived from four pivotal, neuroscience-based principles....(more)

What can Neuropath Learning™ do for children with neuro-developmental disorders?
Deficient executive functions such as organization, planning and working memory are considered the primary cognitive deficits of Autism, ADHD and other neuro-developmental disorders even though they vary in behavioral phenotypes........(more)

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD)
 Deficits in critical cognitive skills, known as executive function, can interfere with a student's ability to succeed in school. About 15% of children have some problems with executive functioning, but about 50% of children with ADHD have problems......(more)

Autism
Among the sensory systems that need careful stimulation in children with Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome are auditory processing skills. Most professionals and parents believe that auditory processing disorders are a core component of the attention, memory and language difficulties of these children......more)

Down Syndrome
Mounting evidence suggests that children with Down syndrome display unique developmental characteristics in the areas of speech, language, memory, and auditory processing due to delays caused by reduced cognitive skills.....(more)

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Individuals with FAS exhibit executive function deficits in the areas of cognitive flexibility, planning and strategy use, verbal reasoning, some aspects of inhibition, set shifting, fluency, working memory, and, recently, on tests of emotion-related executive function......(more)

Central Auditory Processing Disorder
A child affected by Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) can often have nearly perfect hearing, but because their brain poorly processes what they hear, a learning disability results.....(more)