Learning starts with the development of strong processing and cognitive skills. The level of these skills varies from one individual to another having a significant impact on each person’s ability to learn.
Weak progressing and cognitive skills may be the result of a brain injury, a learning disability or the normal aging process. If learning problems cannot quickly be resolved with a little extra help then usually there are deficiencies in the underlying learning skills required to make learning easy, efficient, and fast. Brain training can help and PACE (Processing and Cognitive Enhancement) training is a specific type of brain training that has demonstrated significant results.
If your child or student is having difficulty learning in one of the following ways,
- paying attention
- learning to read or spell (struggles to sound out words)
- slow with math facts
- does not complete assignments
- comprehending or understanding
- working too hard for what is achieved
PACE training may be able to help.
Five steps to help your child.
- Poor instruction - If tutoring and additional homework does not quickly solve the problem then the cause of your child’s difficulties is something else.
- Lack of motivation - Motivation is seldom the reason for difficulty when a child first starts school, but with continual struggle and failure, most children lose their motivation and start to avoid hard tasks. This avoidance then adds to learning problems.
- Lack of underlying learning skills - If learning problems cannot quickly be resolved with a little tutoring then there are deficiencies in the underlying learning skills. These are required to make learning easy, efficient, and fast.
Applying the PACE model will show you what happens during the act of learning. It pinpoints areas where your child’s skills are weak.
Lack of any one of these skills can affect one or more academic areas as well as the ease and speed of learning. Learning skills are like the members of a team.
Follow along with me as I review the steps we take to learn, the role learning skills have and the problems created when individual learning skills are lacking.
Sensory Input is the gathering of sensory information by sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell. Of course in academic learning, sight and hearing are predominant. This sensory information must be received easily and clearly by the processing system.
The Active Processing System is the part of the learning system that does something with what is seen or heard. It works just like your computer processor with a program loaded. It attends to new information, analyzes it, links it with past experience, and determines the value of the information entering. It's in this area that most learning problems occur.
Motor Output is the response to the information that we have both received and processed. It include actions such as running, writing or speaking.
Studies point out that only 10 to 15 percent of learning difficulties are due to input or output problems and approximately 85-90 percent are due to poor processing skills. Let's examine this system more closely.
The skills most needed for good learning
In the model below, the lower section is called the active processing system, which represents what the mind is occupied with at any given time. The upper section represents additional mental skills that are available to be used and interact with any incoming information.
The active processing system includes attention and working memory (the ability to retain the information until it is further analyzed). It is the work center. As the incoming information is worked on, other mental skills come into play and interact with it.
For example, long-term memory is used to compare incoming information with past experiences, so that we can determine if it is new, old, or a modification of information we have stored in the past.
Visual information requires visual processing skills to discriminate and analyze information. Likewise auditory input requires auditory processing skills to analyze and process sound information. Problem solving activities require logic and reasoning skills and listening and reading will also require comprehension skills for understanding.
This whole process is governed by a planning function, which may tell us that the information coming in is useless, and thus we should ignore it and not attend to it. It may determine that the information is useful, and something we should pay particular attention to.
The degree to which all these individual mental skills are developed and the efficiency in which they work and integrate with each other, will play heavily in the overall ability of the active processing system to handle information accurately, quickly, and efficiently.
How deficient skills affect specific learning tasks
Although this learning system is far more complex than I have described in our model, it is helpful in describing how deficiencies in any of these skills will affect learning.
It is also important to note that these skills do not work individually. Most work on every input, so the strength or weakness of one skill affects the effectiveness of other skills.
For example, reading comprehension is dependent on many skills, including; the ability to create mental pictures and images, attend to what is read, and the fluidity of reading (which itself is dependent upon the auditory processing system).
Yes, learning is a complex process...
However, by evaluating these underlying mental skills, it is possible for us to determine the real causes of learning difficulties and what skills need to be improved to make learning far better.
Let's look at how we do that by looking first at testing and then at the training.
Your child has probably taken achievement tests. These tests measure how well a child is doing in an academic subject.
Intelligence (mental skills/cognition) tests measure the underlying learning skills the child has. Unfortunately, these test results are very often misinterpreted. If your child has been tested in the past or labeled as Learning Disabled (LD) or dyslexic, please click here for a short but important discussion of these test results.
Most intelligence/cognition tests look at all of these mental skills in our model and although most give a total “IQ” score, we are far more interested in the individual test scores of the different mental abilities that are being tested.
The “IQ” score is just an average of the separate mental skills being evaluated. It tells us nothing about the individual strengths and weaknesses of the underlying skills that would be important for reading, math calculations, comprehension, or geometry etc.
But by analyzing the individual test scores and comparing them with the child’s achievement levels in different subject areas, we can determine a cause and effect relationship between the underlying mental skills required and the achievement area affected.
For example, poor sound blending, segmenting, and analysis (the CAUSE) will result in difficulty in reading and spelling (the EFFECT). When these underlying skills are developed, reading and spelling will improve.
After testing has confirmed or pinpointed the underlying cause of a learning problem, the next step is to institute a program to correct the deficient learning skill.
Telling you how to swing a golf club will not make you a good golfer. Drill and practice will.
Telling you how to play the piano will not make you a good pianist. Drill and practice will.
Many studies show that passive, undemanding instruction does not significantly impact deficient learning skills and mental abilities. However, intense, challenging procedures provided one-on-one with careful sequencing and immediate feedback do.
PACE (Processing And Cognitive Enhancement) was developed by a multi-disciplinary team of professionals to quickly and significantly build those underlying mental skills that are so vital to academic success. PACE procedures are done one-on-one with a trainer. But like a video game, the training consists of many small steps and immediate feedback.
This gives maximum improvement in the shortest time.
As a child progresses through a procedure, tasks are added to it requiring greater attention and forcing new skills to become automatic. Also, once the child achieves a task, distractions are added again forcing greater attention.
PACE achieves maximum results in the shortest period of time, stretches abilities, makes skills automatic, and builds tremendous concentration.
Warning, This takes work!
To get these significant improvements requires work on the child and parents' part. PACE requires at least six hours of intense training per week. (Three hours at home and three hours with a trainer). Yes, big results require big effort!
Here are six questions you should be able to answer before making any significant investment of time, money and effort.
- Does your child have difficulty learning?
- Do these difficulties presently, or will they in the future, have a negative impact on any of the following: your child’s self esteem, school advancement, parent-child relationships, vocational opportunities, friendships, attitude?
- Does it appear that the major cause is deficient underlying learning skills? (This may require testing to confirm.)
- Is it reasonable to assume that if the deficient skills were improved, learning would be faster, easier, and better?
- Does working one-on-one with intensity and feedback to achieve large, fast results make sense to you? (Watching our PACE introduction video will allow you to answer this better.)
- If the PACE program was provided to your child, what changes would you expect to see?
Although all these questions need an answer, you may not have enough information to fully answer them now. For additional information, take the following step:
Contact us and get started today! Your child’s education determines their future.