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Our Brain’s Ability to Modify, Change, and Adapt

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You may believe that we must make do with the “brain cards” we have been dealt, as we make our ways through life, however, is that really the case?

After speaking with Dr. Amy Moore, a Cognitive Psychologist and Director of Research for LearningRx, we learned that there are ways, in fact many ways, in which we can train our brains to improve or change our “brain cards.”

How can we train our brains?

Brain Training is a multitude of games, drills, and activities that are curated to strengthen the brain’s ability to learn and improve its thinking skills. The best way to think of it as a personal training program that you would do in order to exercise your body, but it’s for your brain!

Brain training targets and strengthens the brains core thinking skills. There are 7 core skills:

  • Attention
  • Visual processing
  • Long-term memory
  • Working memory
  • Processing speed
  • Logic and reasoning
  • Auditory processing

Through sharpening these skills and engaging in repeated cognitive tasks, individuals can improve cognition and build fundamental skills that are used for activities such as reading, writing, and math.

How does LearningRx Approach Brain Training?

With over 35 years of research, testing and practice, LearningRx offers custom brain training programs that are tailored to each individual clients needs and goals. They believe that there are 7 keys to effective brain training:

  1. Individual Training Plans – Every LearningRx client receives custom training plan.
  2. One-on-One Learning – Their brain trainers work one-on-one with clients to ensure that they receive the attention they need.
  3. Concentration & Intensity – While brain training can be hard work, it shouldn’t be overwhelming. LearningRx works with each client to ensure that a balance is obtained.
  4. Repetition and Practice – To build new brain skills it takes time, commitment, and practice. Therefore, LearningRx has clients practice multiple times a week for several weeks.
  5. Step-by-Step Progression – In order to properly improve cognitive skills, they need to be approach step-by-step. LearningRx works on firstly building a foundation of core skills and then progressing towards more complex brain exercises.
  6. Multitask Activities – To build strong internal connections, LearningRx introduces clients to exercises that use multiple skills at the same time so that these skills individually become more automatic and intuitive.
  7. Positive Reinforcement – Like any exercise program, brain training can be fun, but it is hard work. The brain trainers at LearningRx offer immediate feedback and encouragement throughout their training programs to help learners stay focused, inspired, and optimistic!

Who is LearningRx and Brain Training for?

Everyone! After performing brain training on over 101,000 brains the research team at LearningRx learned that cognitive training is a universal intervention, as Dr. Amy Moore mentioned in her TEDx Talk. Whether you are a young child developing your early learning skills, an older child experiencing difficulties with homework, an adult wanting to improve their memory, an individual with learning differences, or an individual recovering from a brain injury, we all rely on our brain to learn new information and process the world around us. Therefore, we can all benefit from brain training!

More about Dr. Amy Moore

On top of being a renowned neuroplasticity researcher, Dr. Amy Moore is also our Wednesday Webinar guest for April!

Photo of Dr. Amy Moore from her website.

With over 25 years of experience working with struggling learners through being a teacher, a child development specialist, and an education administrator, Dr. Moore always felt as though there was something missing in efforts to help children struggling with learning. Due to her interest in finding a solution, Dr. Moore went back to school to obtain her PhD. While in her doctoral program, she was writing a paper on neuroplasticity. During her research she learned that the World Headquarters of LearningRx was in town, so she interviewed one of the vice presidents. Dr. Moore was enthralled in the concept of brain training, and ever since she has been devoted to her work at LearningRx.

In preparation for the webinar, we met with Dr. Amy Moore to learn as much as we can about LearningRx. To highlight the amazing work, she and LearningRx are up to, we want to bring to light a few more ins and outs of their impressive endeavors.

LearningRx, in a Little More Detail

LearningRx – What Do We Actually Do??

Photo Sourced from learningrx.com

We dove into how brain training is a universal intervention. Dr. Amy Moore spoke about how brain training works with different age groups.

Those who are young are in an age of trying to create new neural pathways or ways to accelerate their neural pathways. Affecting change for these individuals typically happens relatively quickly, because these children are attending school outside of brain training in which they are continuing to use their newly built neural pathways. This tactic taps into the well-known quote: “Neurons that fire together, wire together.” - Donald Hebb, illustrating the importance of continuing to practice freshly trained skills.

When individuals are recovering from a brain injury, they are working on remediating neural pathways or working around damaged ones, therefore the mechanism of brain training is different and tends to require a longer program. Brain injuries inflict pathological changes that cause persistent cognitive changes and ongoing neurodegeneration within the brain.

“When we’re working against pathology, whether it’s an age-related cognitive decline, early Alzheimer’s or dementia, then we’re swimming upstream, and it takes longer to affect change.'" – Dr. Amy Moore

So that LearningRx can effectively measure these changes that take place, they perform a battery of tests when individuals begin the program and then again when they finish it so that change can be quantified. Beyond measuring cognitive changes, LearningRx also ensures to look at how their clients are doing within their real life too. Dr. Amy Moore mentions that this is the “beauty of the intervention being delivered by a human.” A brain trainer can listen to what the client’s personal goals are and help them to revisit and check in on their hopes and dreams throughout the program.

Brain Training Exercise Example

To enlighten us even further on how complex and effective brain training exercise can be. Dr. Amy Moore administered a quick example on us called an Arrows Chart.

Picture1-Apr-12-2022-01-25-44-53-PMArrows Exercise from Edublox

With this simple chart there are a variety of brain skill that can be exercised. To run through a quick example, the brain trainer would have the client read the top row of arrows as the direction of the arrows.

“Left, Left, Right, Left, Up, Down, Up, Left, Down, Right.”

To increase intensity, the brain trainer would then have the client read the top row of arrows by alternating the direction of the arrow with the color.

“Left, Blue, Right, Green, Up, Blue, Up, Green, Down, Green.”

Complexity will continue to increase by adding in a metronome to list the arrow directions or color to a beat, or by the brain trainer listing numbers while you list the arrows and then the client must provide the sum at the end of reading the row.

This exercise is only one of many that clients undergo when attending a brain training session.  

April 20, 2022

On April 20, 2022, the Power of Patients Webinar Wednesday is excited to be hosting Dr. Amy Moore to speak about LearningRx and how brain injury survivors could benefit from their personalized brain training programs.

Be sure to register for the webinar, here.