Summer Intensives

Does Your Student Struggle With School or Homework?
Next Year Can Be Dramatically Better!

Summer Intensives Program Will Make a BIG Difference For Your Family.

If your son or daughter is bright and struggles in school, there is a reason…and it’s NOT because they are lazy!

It’s because they are missing some skills. And it isn’t the obvious skills. It’s the underlying skills. Things like auditory processing, memory, attention, or any of dozens more.

In fact, about 30% of ALL students have either weak or missing underlying skills. We call those the “learning skills” because they make learning easy.

The effect on students and families can be devastating! Kids try really hard, but get accused of being lazy. Often schools say there is “nothing wrong.” Parents are baffled and tear their hair out trying to figure out the right things to do.

It can be miserable for the whole family.

The Bad News: Schools and tutoring DON’T actually fix those skills. They are focused on mastering curriculum. When you decide to hire a tutor, you are getting “more of the same.”

The GOOD News: Learning Skills can be FIXED…permanently, but only by using programs that are focused on training those skills. That means that, even though it is hard work, it’s not like school. Building underlying learning skills takes some very specific attention. But it can be done and it doesn’t have to be a “forever” process.

That’s why so many families decide to do an intensive session. And Summer is the perfect time because students aren’t trying to juggle homework in addition to working on skills.

If…

You have had enough. If you are at your “wit’s end.” If you just count the days until you don’t have to sit with your kid spending 4 hours to do 15 minutes worth of homework. If you’re tired of how your son or daughter feels about themselves. If you’re worried about their future…

Then it’s time to make a change.

There is only ONE Reason to spend the time and money to do an Intensive Program this summer – Because it will make a SIGNIFICANT difference in the life of your student and your family next school year.

There are 5 Things you need to have for a successful Summer program that will actually change the skills to a degree that you will feel the difference next year:

  1. Focus on the right skills – You can’t be working on regular schoolwork and expect the skills to change. You have to find out which skills are not working and “attack” them. That way, when school starts in the Fall, your student will have much better tools to allow him to learn more easily.
  2. Intensity – Training learning skills is a little like going to the gym. To make real progress, you must work with some intensity. Lifting a 5 lb. weight will NOT make you very much stronger. Lifting 50 lbs. will grow the muscle. The same is true of learning skills. The process literally will form new neuro-pathways in the brain so that the skills will be automatic and your student more independent.
  3. Repetition over Time – You can’t run a mile just once and expect it to have any lasting change. It takes repetition over a period of time. Summer sessions allow you to compress the time so that the skills are built faster.
  4. One to One – There is just no way to make the kind of growth you want to see when the clinician is splitting attention between your child and someone else. Sessions are delivered with one clinician and one student so that adjustments can be made continuously as skills are developed. That’s how to make the fastest growth possible.
  5. Sessions need to be fun – There is no way for this kind of intense program to work if kids aren’t having fun. Don’t misunderstand…no one would mistake sessions for a trip to Disneyland. Students work hard. But it’s the kind of work that they enjoy.  They see the progress they are making each hour. They can feel the new skills becoming automatic. Students that can’t sit still in class for more than 15 minutes find themselves fully engaged for 3 hours each day (yes, there are short breaks at the end of each hour).

And it makes next year much different than it would have been.

Here is a quick summary of Summer Intensive Sessions:

  • Choose between a 5 week or 10 week session.
  • Come 2-3 hours per day, 2-4 days per week.
  • It doesn’t take all day – Plan fun summer activities after sessions are over.
  • Doesn’t take all summer –there’s still plenty of time for family vacations and down time.
  • Savings…..special pricing for Summer Intensives
  • Make up to 20 weeks of progress in just 5 weeks.
  • Make a tremendous difference in your life…yes next year can (and should) be better! Stop the pain and frustration.
  • Summer is easier because you can focus on the learning skills when you aren’t trying to keep up with regular schoolwork…you’re not trying to do 2 things at once!

“Does that mean when the 6 weeks are over my child will have no more learning challenges?”

Each student is different. For some, that’s exactly what it means. But for most students, the answer is, “No.” There is usually more that needs to be done.

The Goal of a Summer Intensive is to make a big impact on next year. It is a huge start in the right direction. And it is a difference that will make your life and your child’s life better when school starts again in the Fall.

Please know this – If we don’t think we can make a huge difference, we will tell you!

Everything we do is designed to make permanent changes.

  • It’s time to stop living with learning problems.
  • It’s time to stop taking hours to do short homework assignments.
  • It’s time to stop trying to find ways around learning problems and start solving them.
  • It’s time for parents to stop feeling guilty.
  • It’s time for families to live without the strain and stress of learning issues.

Are you ready to get started?

Call us and let us help you change the lives of your child and your family. Next year really CAN be better.

Contact us today or see our Summer Program 2015 page for more information.

 

 

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Exercise Your Body, Energize Your Brain

Small Changes, Big Results Series

Part IV:  Exercise Your Body, Energize Your Brain

The upcoming generation is known as Generation XXL due to the growing childhood obesity epidemic. Adding only a half hour of exercise to a child’s daily routine has not only benefits for weight management but brain function as well.

 

How Exercise Affects the Brain

Have you ever sat in a long meeting or seminar and found yourself getting sleepy, antsy, and dying for a break so you could get up and move around?
Exercise for Your Brain

Research shows that physical movement can enhance clarity, attention, and readiness for learning. Physical movement increases oxygen flow to the brain, improving alertness, concentration, and receptivity. Adding movement or physical action to a learning activity increases recall.

At the Learning Enhancement Centers, we find that integrative movements that cross the midline of the body are extremely helpful in bringing students to a calm, alert, and mentally and emotionally ready state for learning. We use the Brain Gym activities with our students. The movements can be easily integrated into the classroom or home. Here are two books that are great references:

  • Brain Gym Teacher’s Edition by Paul E. Dennison and Gail E. Dennison (www.braingym.com)
  • Hands On: How to use Brain Gym in the Classroom by Isabel Cohen and Marcelle Goldsmith (www.braingym.com)

Periodic brain breaks that involve movement throughout the school day and homework time will also improve learning, productivity, and attitude. Breaking up learning with Brain breaks help to keep the pupils in the most receptive state for learning. These short exercises increase oxygen supply, release stress, and allow learners to refocus.

Finally, deep breathing and water are also great brain energizers. Deep breathing immediately brings more oxygen to the brain and encourages relaxation, improving thinking and focus. Water improves the electrical transmissions in the brain and nervous system, providing energy for learning and attention.

 

How to Add Exercise to Your Child’s Life

Here are some links for fun, quick movement exercises that can be easily integrated into the classroom, clinic, or home:

This week, try adding some movement into your and your child’s day. My personal strategy is to work for 25 minutes and then move for 2-5 minutes. Do you notice a difference? Are you better able to focus? Do you notice that you have more energy for the task at hand?

 

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Protein for Improved Focus and Attention

Small Changes, Big Results Series

Part II: Protein

“Is your child eating protein as a regular part of their diet?”  This is a question I often ask parents, because few people understand how important protein is to our brain function and learning.  High-quality protein foods allow optimal brain function so that a child feels motivated, energized, and focused, not hyperactive or inattentive.  Here is how it works.

How Protein is Processed in the Body

Foods with high-quality protein have amino acids, which provide the building blocks for neurotransmitters.  Neurotransmitters are the chemical messengers that allow the brain cells to communicate with each other.  Two of these neurotransmitters are serotonin and dopamine.  Serotonin improves feelings of well-being, hopefulness, organization, and concentration.  Dopamine is responsible for attention and focusing.  It allows you to maintain an action plan, regardless of other things trying to divert your attention. It also motivates and stimulates you to engage in life.

When protein enters the stomach, it is digested and exits the stomach as tryptophan.  Tryptophan aids in the production of dopamine and serotonin.  Tryptophan cannot cross the blood/brain barrier independently – it requires the assistance of carbohydrates/insulin – like a limo service to open the door and allow entrance.  Once in the brain, tryptophan converts to serotonin and helps us in organization, feelings of well-being, and satiation.   In fact, a study published in the September 2011 issue of Behavioral and Brain Functions showed that children with ADHD appear to have 50 percent lower levels of tryptophan.

(Although our brain needs carbohydrates to complete this process, they must be the right types of carbs.  We will discuss this topic in the next Small Changes, Big Results article, Choosing the Right Carbohydrates.)

The Small Change

As much as possible, increase protein at all meals.   Protein increases dopamine and serotonin and can stabilize blood sugar, whereas a high-carb meal increases insulin and can make your child feel foggy and have less energy.  Many children go to school after having a sugary carbohydrate breakfast, and many teens choose to go to school with no breakfast at all.  A low sugar breakfast and lunch with 12-20 grams of protein can make a vast difference in a learner’s performance.

Breakfast High in ProteinSome great sources of protein are:

  • Greek yogurt (be careful as dairy can often be an allergen)
  • Lean meats – chicken, turkey, and other lean meats
  • Eggs
  • Nuts and nut butters
  • Fish
  • Plant-based protein sources – beans, barley, brown rice, broccoli, potatoes, spinach, etc.
  • Protein shakes

Often times, asking students to reduce carbs/sugar can be difficult, so a great baby step is to add a high protein food item to their meal.  For instance, if they are having a waffle for breakfast (carb), they could add a hard-boiled egg.  They could also have an apple or celery with peanut butter.  It is a great compromise, and one that can help your child feel more focused.

Remember the goal is to balance your food consumption to provide optimum brain function.

Do you find it hard to get your child to eat protein? Have suggestions of things that you found that your child likes and have been easy to implement? As always, we would love to hear your thoughts.

 

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Healthy Fats For Healthy Brains

Small Changes, Big Results Series

Part I: Healthy Fats

Every January, many adults make resolutions to get healthy by eating better, exercising more, and getting more sleep.

We seem to know that these things are important to our own health. And yet, the impact that diet, movement, and sleep have on attention and learning is frequently overlooked. As a parent or teacher, it isn’t too late to think about adding these things to your student’s daily routine (or even yours). Small changes today could bring about major changes in your child’s life.

In this series of blog posts, Small Changes Big Results, we will discuss some small changes you can make that can positively impact your child’s learning and behavior.  We will begin by looking at the importance of healthy fats to your child’s brain.

Feeding Your Brain

Studies have shown that what we eat affects how we feel, how we think, and how much energy we have. Memory, thinking, and attention are strongly influenced by food. Optimal nutrition is the most important factor in keeping your brain healthy.  Because of this fact, small changes to our children’s diet and nutrition is a great place to start making big impacts.

Let’s Look at Healthy Fats First

Healthy Fats positively impact the brain

Believe it or not, the most important nutrient for the brain is fat because the brain is actually made up of fat. Omega-3 fats, EPA and DHA, are essential for brain function. In fact 60 percent of the brain is made up of DHA. DHA is essential for the brain cells’ ability to transmit signals to one another. This is what makes learning and memory possible.

Studies have shown that dopamine activity, which is critical for brain function, is improved with essential fatty acid consumption. A study from UCLA published in the May 15, 2012 edition of the Journal of Physiology showed that fatty acids can counteract the disruption in memory and learning causing by diets high in fructose. Another study published in Plos One in June 2013, showed that lower levels of DHA were linked to poorer reading and working memory performance as well as behavioral problems in healthy school aged children. Research has also shown that children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are more likely to have low omega-3 fat levels.

In the last 150 years, our fat intake has greatly changed. We need to make sure that we are consuming the best fats for brain health. For instance, if the majority of our fat intake is from trans fats and beef fat, our cell membranes become stiff and hard like lard. This makes it difficult for information to pass from one cell to the next. However, if they are made from omega-3 fats, our cell membranes will become fluid and flexible, allowing easy communication between cells.

Where Do We Get Healthy Fats?

Omega-3 fats come from wild things, which can be hard to find in today’s society. Our bodies can’t produce enough DHA, so we must supplement through diet. The best sources of DHA are cold water fish (salmon, sardines, herring, halibut), walnuts, omega-3 eggs, and flaxseed. Dr. Daniel Amen, author of many books, including Healing ADD Revised Edition: The Breakthrough Program that Allows You to See and Heal the 7 Types of ADD, recommends supplementing dietary intake of omega-3s.

It is important to realize that not all supplements are created equal; it is important to choose quality products. Third-party testing for independent verification of active ingredients and contaminants is crucial. Also, consider from where the products are sourced.

I would love to hear your thoughts. Do you already take essential fatty acids? Are you considering adding them to your diet?

Fats are just one piece of the “nutrition puzzle.”  For Part II of the Small Changes Big Results series, we will look at the importance of protein to brain health — Protein for Improved Focus and Attention .

 

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