Two years ago, G1 took a cognitive skills test at myBrainLab where some of his cognitive weaknesses were identified. He went through the BrainRx program and his trainer helped him to work on his weaknesses. The results of the training were far better than I could ever have hoped for.
At that time, G2 was too young for the program so he had to wait…
Lately, we have had concerns that G2 might have trouble with attention and focus. It is sometimes difficult to identify these issues when the only other comparison we have is a sibling. If that sibling happens to be on the extreme end of normal – how do you decide where normal ends and a problem exists?
Identifying and Understanding Weaknesses
The GIBSON Cognitive Skills Test measures the following cognitive skills:
- Processing Speed – weaknesses in this area often result in difficulty with basic reading skills, written expression, math calculations, and handling complex problems. These children often have slower performance and frequently require instructions to be repeated.
- Working Memory – weaknesses in this area often result in difficulty remembering names and completing problem-solving operations. These children often require instructions to be repeated.
- Long-Term Memory – weaknesses in this result in difficulty recalling information for tests, such as math facts, word definitions, names and facts. These children often require more practice and repetition than others.
- Visual Processing – weaknesses in this area result in difficulty with rapid sound/symbol processing and copying tasks. These children struggle to recognise whole words, they read slowly, they are less creative, and they have problems understanding information from graphics.
- Auditory Processing – weaknesses in this area often result in difficulty with phonetic reading activities and beginning spelling skills development. These children have poor listening and reading comprehension/language and vocabulary acquisition.
- Logic & Reasoning – weaknesses in this area may result in difficulty with math (including algebra, statistics, and geometry), and transfer and generalisation of learning. These children have trouble following rule-bound reading systems, they are slower on their feet when required to cope with a new situation, and they have poor creative writing.
- Visual/Auditory Memory Balance – identifies the child as a “visual” or “auditory” or “balanced” learner. Children with an imbalance tend to rely on their strength, which further compounds the problem of the weaker side.
- Work Attack – weaknesses in this area often result in not knowing the sound-letter relationships required to read and spell, resulting in less fluid (choppy) reading and poorer comprehension.
G2’s Cognitive Profile
To understand G2’s cognitive profile, we sent him for the Gibson test of brain skills. The results revealed that he had weaknesses in Long-Term Memory, Logic and Reasoning, and Auditory Memory. The latter was the most significant problem he had and it brought our attention to his real problem. When given visual instructions, G2 would be able to complete the task quite quickly. If the instructions were verbal, he would take a while to process the instructions before he could complete the activity. Because most of the instructions he is given (by us and by his teacher at school) are often verbal, we assume that his inability to immediately comply is because he lacked focus. Once we understood that he had a weak auditory memory, it made so much more sense.
BrainRx at myBrainLab
The BrainRx program is tailored to each individual based on their cognitive profile. For G2, that meant more focus on developing his weaknesses – Long-Term Memory, Logic and Reasoning, and Auditory Memory. When I recalled how painful it was getting through G1’s training program, I confess I did not look forward to it. Nevertheless, I had to be fair to both boys. Surprisingly, G2 took to his training with a great deal more enthusiasm. He truly is my “glass half full” boy. Even when the training became challenging, G2 was far more compliant in persevering and continuing with the program.
At the end of his 75 hours of training, we saw improvements across most of his cognitive skills, including all three areas of weaknesses identified at the beginning:
- Long-term memory increased from the 63rd percentile to 71st percentile
- Logic & Reasoning increased from the 74th percentile to 97th percentile
- Visual/Auditory Memory became more balanced (in the pre-test, he favoured his visual memory)
Unfortunately, his results were not quite as impressive as G1’s, but therein lies the difference between my two boys. G1 is the calm, collected mind that considers the options before acting. G2 is as impulsive and excitable as he is spirited and rambunctious. His clarity of mind is often affected by his emotions. His errors are not always because of inability but sometimes the result of carelessness.
G2 will likely require more brain training in future. For now, we are content with the results he has achieved with the BrainRx program at myBrainLab. Moving forward, I believe he will benefit from mindfulness training and activities that help develop self-regulation so that he might curb some of that impulsiveness.
Disclosure: we were invited by myBrainLab to take the test and try their brain course but rest assured that this has not influenced our review in any way.