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Cheryl Chia

12

Years

of Brain Fitness Training

FIT BRAINS LEARN BETTER! A Chronicle of 12 Years of Brain Fitness Training at BrainFit Studio by Cheryl Chia (cheryl.chia@brainfitgroup.com) First Edition March 2013 Published by Brainfit Group Pte Ltd Designed by Timoer Design (meeawulan@gmail.com) Copyright 2013 Cheryl Chia All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in articles and reviews. Requests for permission should be addressed to: BrainFit Group Pte Ltd 193-197 Thomson Road, Goldhill Centre Singapore 307633 www.brainfitgroup.com ISBN: 978-981-07-5808-0 (hardcover) ISBN: 978-981-07-5799-1 (softcover) ISBN: 978-981-07-5800-4 (e-book)

support, who has helped to develop my limbic system as I have helped to develop his frontal lobe....

my beloved husband & pillar of

To

Vy ,

Table Table of of Contents Content


INTRODUCTION INTRODUCTION CHAPTER CHAPTER 1: 1: Neuroplasticity Neuroplasticity & & Brain Brain Fitness Fitness Training Training CHAPTER CHAPTER 2: 2: Social-Emotional Brain Fitness Auditory Brain Fitness

The brains ability to reconnect by rewiring itself throughout life. The brains ability to reconnect by rewiring itself throughout life.

08 i 01 22 34 09 50 17 68 29 92 45

Our social-emotional brain fitness is the part of our brain Our auditory brain fitness is about how we process sound that causes us to develop feelings and attitudes towards any information in the brain, and is associated with our listening, activity or person. language, reading and comprehension abilities.

Unknown to many people, our sensory-motor brain fitness is CHAPTER 6: working continuously, supporting our daily lives and learning performance. Social Emotional Brain Fitness Our social-emotional brain fitness is the part of our brain that causes us to develop feelings and attitudes towards any CHAPTER 7: activity Fitness or person. Brain for Students with Learning

CHAPTER 6: Sensory-Motor Brain Fitness

CHAPTER 3: 3: CHAPTER Attention Brain Fitness Visual Brain Fitness


through our eyes.

Our attention brain fitness helps us to remain focused on a Our visual brain fitness determines our ability to quickly and task without being easily distracted. accurately interpret and understand information that comes

Difficulties CHAPTER 7: We explore the relationships between learning difficulties and Brain Fitness for Students the various brain fitness systems. with Learning Difficulties We explore the relationships between learning difficulties and CHAPTER 8: the various brain fitness systems. Brain Fit Babies
Listening, language and reading skills, attention span, CHAPTER 8: emotional responses can all be shaped and motor skills and strengthened from the moment your baby is born. Brain Fit Babies Listening, language and reading skills, attention span, motor skills and CHAPTER 9: emotional responses can all be shaped and strengthened from the moment your baby is born. Brain Fitness in Seniors We can improve our brains at any age!

CHAPTER 4: Auditory Brain CHAPTER 4: Fitness

Sensory-Motor Brain Fitness information in the brain, and is associated with our listening, CHAPTER 5: Visual Brain Fitness CHAPTER 5:

Our auditory brain fitness is about how we process sound

Unknown to many people, our sensory-motor brain fitness is language, reading and comprehension abilities. working continuously, supporting our daily lives and learning performance. Our visual brain fitness determines our ability to quickly and Attention Brain Fitness accurately interpret and understand information that comes Our attention brain fitness helps us to remain focused on a through our eyes. task without being easily distracted.

CHAPTER 9: Brain Fit Seniors CHAPTER 10: We can change our brains at any age! Conclusion: Our Dreams for the Future CHAPTER 10: do. We have big dreams and big goals.
do. We have big dreams and big goals.

Our brain is our most vital organ that controls everything we

Conclusion: Our Dreams for the Future

112 105 138 119 160 135 170 145 182 157

Our brain is our most vital organ that controls everything we

Introduction | 9

A better understanding of the brain is certain to lead man to a richer comprehension both of himself, of his fellow man, and of society, and in fact of the whole world with its problems.
Sir John Carew Eccles (1903 1997, Neurophysiologist and Nobel Laureate).

Introduction
BrainFit Studio is a 12-year-old company built by the hopes and joys of children and their parents, whose lives have changed dramatically through the understanding of how brain fitness training works.
Most of us understand the importance of physical fitness for good health. Unfortunately, many are less familiar with the importance of brain fitness in determining our ability to pay attention, have good memory, be less careless and more motivated in learning. Many people think of our brains in 2 ways either it is normal/ smart or abnormal/ challenged. Hence when a normal, bright child underperforms in school, we usually attribute it to laziness or a negative attitude towards learning. That is far from the truth. Brain fitness is very much like physical fitness. We do not think of people as either fit (competitive sportsman standard) or unfit (complete couch potato). Most of us fall between these two extremes. We may have good running stamina but poor flexibility. We may have strong arm muscles but a flabby tummy. Brain fitness should be understood like physical fitness. Most of us have brain fitness that lies between normal and abnormal. We may have strong communication skills but poor attention span. We may excel in solving visual problems, yet fail to remember information well. These gaps in brain fitness can create underperformance in learning, which is not a result of laziness or bad attitude.

Recent discoveries from brain research have brought us powerful new insights on the potential of the human brain to learn and improve, at whatever age we may be. This awesome potential of our brain to make new connections and learn, known as neuroplasticity is the basis behind our work here in BrainFit Studio. As we celebrate our 12th anniversary of the company, this book commemorates our journey with neuoroplasticity, the lessons we have learnt and the many success stories we have experienced. We welcome you to learn more about how the brain works and how you can accelerate learning with brain fitness, the crucial brain foundations without which successful learning is impossible. Understanding brain fitness in the areas of SocialEmotional, Attention, Auditory, Visual and Sensory-Motor functions can help you to better appreciate the strengths and weaknesses in your childs (and indeed your own!) personal learning profile, unique for each individual. Our brain is a highly complex organ and there is still much to be learnt about it. What we have done here is to simplify this complex information to help parents better understand your child. Learning about brain fitness can help to shed light on the many questions parents often ask us: Why does my child put in so much effort yet school results are not great?, Why does my child excel in one subject but not another?, How can I build more motivation and enthusiasm for learning in my child?. These are all important questions. By sharing our lessons on brain fitness and neuroplasticity, we hope to answer some of these questions and bring home the message about the importance of brain fitness in impacting learning, behaviour, and performance. Enhancing and strengthening your childs brain fitness for learning is perhaps the best gift that you can give to your child. Teach him how to learn and enjoy the process of learning. Trust that your child once given the foundations to explore, acquire and retain information; will crave for more. This is the true meaning and goal of education.

Cheryl Chia Paediatric Physiotherapist Founder and Director BrainFit Studio

...By sharing our lessons on brain fitness and neuroplasticity, we hope to answer parents questions and bring home the message about the importance of brain fitness and its capability to accelerate learning...

Introduction | 11

Every man can, if he so desires, become the sculptor of his own brain.
Santiago Ramon y Cajal (1852-1934, Neuroscientist and Nobel Laureate)

...My initial focus on brain development in infants shifted to that of schooling children when I returned to UQ in Australia to pursue my Masters degree in Paediatric Physiotherapy....

BrainFit Studio
We were founded in 2001 by a group of therapists passionate about unlocking human potential and enhancing lives through brain fitness training. Previously known as TherapyWorks and KidzGrow, we renamed ourselves first Brain Revolution and then BrainFit Studio, to better represent the work that we do. BrainFit Studios initial focus on helping children with learning difficulties has also expanded to help any child, with or without a learning difficulty, accelerate learning with brain fitness.
As a founding member of the company, my personal journey with the brain started after my undergraduate studies in University of Queensland (UQ), Australia. Equipped with my Bachelor degree in Physiotherapy, I returned to work in KK Womens and Childrens Hospital in Singapore, which had awarded me the scholarship for my undergraduate studies. As a young graduate in the hospital, I was tasked with caring for the developmental outcomes of premature infants in the neonatal ICU, whose often delicate brains were vulnerable to neurological insults. Those were rewarding years as I leant tremendously about early brain development and the importance of early intervention.

My initial focus on brain development in infants shifted to that of schooling children when I returned to UQ in Australia to pursue my Masters degree in Paediatric Physiotherapy. University of Queensland has an interesting research clinic, which is dedicated to studying the relationship between movement and learning in children, and to improve the learning abilities of children through physiotherapy. A school-based research conducted by this clinic in the 1980s had seen physiotherapy improve academic results in students which I had found fascinating. I spent much of my postgraduate time there, learning how to assess and treat children with movement and learning challenges.

Introduction | 13

Lives Transformed
we aim to share our experiences and lessons learnt from brain fitness training over the past 12 years in this book
After my return to Singapore, together with some fellow colleagues in the Occupational Therapy and Speech-Language Therapy fields, TherapyWorks was born. Our vision was, and continues to be, to provide scientific and evidence-based programmes to improve the learning and lives of children. From the onset of the company, we have emphasized the importance of measuring results to evaluate the effectiveness of our work. As such, we developed tools to allow us to track our results and this has also helped us to improve our programme delivery over the years. We are now able to share some of our experiences and results due to our consistent efforts in collection of data and documentation over the last 12 years. Today, BrainFit Studio uses a combination of programmes from the USA and Australia, as well as our own proprietary programmes to accelerate learning in students through brain fitness training. We have seen the power of neuroplasticity as we witness improvements in our students lives after attending our brain fitness programmes. Some of the improvements we have seen have come rapidly (within 6-8 weeks) and have been life-changing. Non-readers have become lovers of books, students who procrastinate in doing homework have become self-driven and conscientious, self-esteem and motivation for learning have been boosted and very importantly for parents, examination results have dramatically improved. When we first started BrainFit Studio, we never dreamed of opening multiple centres. We had just one focus and that was to implement programmes that work, so that we can impact the lives we were working with. That to us was, and is always, our most satisfying reward! However, as parents started seeing the positive results in their children under our care, we were frequently asked to make our programmes available outside of Singapore. As a result of these requests, we systematized our brain fitness training approaches and methodologies. We needed to ensure that our programmes are robust enough to be implemented in a foreign country without any compromise in our results. When we grew out of Singapore, we continue to monitor and track our students results closely, ensuring that we maintain our ability to impact these young lives. Seeing the gains in all our students has been immensely rewarding. Twelve years on, we are now in 10 centres throughout Southeast Asia. Our flagship centre is in Novena, Singapore, with the other centres located in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.

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Introduction | 15

We are consistently humbled and awed by both the commonalities and yet uniqueness of each human brain we train. While differences in nationality, race, language, ability and temperament exist in all of us, we are fascinated by what unites us as one human race the unlimited potential of our brains to improve and the resilience of our spirits to constantly strive for the best for ourselves and those we love.

Sculptor of Our Own Brain


Santiago Ramon y Cajal, neuroscientist and Noble Laureate from the nineteenth century, has so eloquently said, Every man can, if he so desires, become the sculptor of his own brain. While this was said long before our modern times of sophisticated brain scans and fMRI technology (functional magnetic resonance imaging, an advanced brain imaging technique that enables movie-like visual feedback on what areas of the brain are getting activated), Santiago has accurately described the powerful potential of neuroplasticity long before our time. Indeed, we can sculpt our childrens brains and help them become more effective and enthusiastic learners through enhancing their brain fitness. The question is no longer, Can it really be done? but rather How do we deliver brain fitness training to achieve the best results? The latter question continues to be the research subject of many neuroscientists worldwide. We will share with you here the latest methodologies recommended by neuroscientists and our personal experiences with them. We hope you will enjoy reading about our journey as much as we have enjoyed our amazing 12-year journey!

..we can sculpt our childrens brains and help them become more effective and enthusiastic learners...

Introduction | 17

Besides learning about our brains and behaviours from neuroscientific studies, our students are other most important teachers. THANK YOU to all our students, without whom BrainFit would not exist. We are grateful to you for teaching us so much about your little lives, about what makes you smile, about your pressures at school, your desires to do well, your hopes for the future. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to be able to make a difference in your lives. THANK YOU!
Cheryl Chia, Founder and Director, BrainFit Studio

The BrainFit Studio Student


Our hearts are filled with immense gratitude for the opportunities to be able to work with so many children and their parents. Whether they are students from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, or Philippines, as we work hard to help our students build their brains and enhance their lives, our own lives have in turn been touched by them.
To be able to be involved in the transformation of our students - from one with little confidence and motivation to one with a bright spark and zest for challenges; from one who dislikes books to a voracious reader; from one with few words and little communication to one who now verbally connects and reaches out to their families and friends these moments are without doubt the greatest rewards we enjoy as brain fitness trainers.

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Student Data
Since mid-2005, about four years after the inception of our company, we started conducting systematic computerised data collection of our students. This was driven by a need for us to better understand our students, monitor their progress and measure the results of our programmes.

Gender An analysis of the gender of the students we have trained in each country shows that the ratio of boys to girls is about 3-4 to 1. This is, interestingly, similar to the reported gender ratios of many learning difficulties.

Number of students ~5.400 (20052011)

percentage of male to female students

Student Numbers Since mid-2005, our records show that we have trained more than 5,000 brains in the various countries where BrainFit Studios are located. A breakdown of the percentage of students we have trained in each country is seen here.

Having tools that help us track our students progress is important. We need to ensure that in whatever country we are located, students who attend our BrainFit Studios will receive the highest quality of brain fitness training. We want to ensure that not only positive results are achieved but also that these results are measurable.

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Introduction | 21

Parental Concerns AGES OF STUDENTS When each student first attends our centre, we ask the parents which aspect of their childs development they are most concerned about. The responses from the parents are relatively similar throughout the different countries. The top five concerns of parents, in order of prevelance, are:

Indonesia (2006-2011)

Singapore (2005-2011)

8% 22%

5% 38%

TOP 5 PARENTAL CONCERNS 1) Learning & academic performance ie. speed of learning, ability to grasp concepts and memory 2) Social-emotional competence ie. confidence levels, emotional regulation abilities and social skills 3) Attention and focus 4) Organisational skills ie. planning abilities and being independent 5) Fine motor control ie. handwriting and copying skills

Thailand (2010-2011)

Malaysia (2005-2011)

27%
Learning & Academic Performance Socio-Emotional Competence Attention

Ages The ages of the children we have trained in each country is shown here, with the highest number of students from the 7-11 year-old range in most countries.

Organisational Skills Fine Motor Control

Philippines (2011)

01

Neuroplasticity & Brain Fitness Training

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Neuroplasticity & Brain Fitness Training | 25

Everything having to do with human training and education has to be reexamined in light of neuroplasticity.
Dr Norman Doidge, Psychiatrist, Author of International Best-Seller, The Brain that Changes Itself.

The BrainFit Studio

SMART brain fitness training protocol


We have incorporated these neuroscientific laws within the SMART protocol that we apply to brain fitness training:

etting of personal goals easurement with CognitiveMAP (a brain profiling tool)

A NEURON

Neuroplasticity
There are as many neurons in our brains as there are stars in the universe.
Our amazing brain consists of hundreds of billions of brain cells. The ones that process information are called neurons. Neurons are all inter-connected in a vast and complex neural network. One neuron may be connected to as many as 10,000 others!

DENDRITE

We have learnt more about the brain in the last 10 years than in all of human history.
The research behind lifelong neuroplasticity (the brains ability to reconnect its neurons throughout life) and lifelong neurogenesis (the brains ability to generate new neurons throughout life) indicates that targeted activities can improve cognitive abilities. The power of neuroplasticity has been understood only in the last 15 years or so, made possible by the invention of powerful brain imaging tools like the fMRI. This means that all of us, whether children or adults, can improve the mental abilities we are born with. Whether 4 months or 84 years, its never too early or late to enhance our cognitive abilities. Brain fitness training works by building the neural connections in our brain to form more efficient neural networks. When brain fitness activities are conducted in a way consistent with the laws that govern neuroplasticity, cognitive abilities can be improved.

dapting brain fitness training activities to the individual ewiring through focused repetitions and practice ransformation for peak performance

CELL BODY

MYELIN SHEATH

NODE OF RANVIER

AXON

Neurons talk to one another through the release of brain chemicals, or neurotransmitters. These points where neurons meet and where neurotransmitters flow are called synapses. Billions of these neurons are grouped together into clusters responsible for various functions. Although each of these clusters serves different functions, they are all inter-connected, implying that improving one brain fitness area (e.g. movement coordination) can improve another (e.g. attention and focus).

We will describe each of these steps in further detail.

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Neuroplasticity & Brain Fitness Training | 27

S M A R T Brain Fitness
S - Setting personal goals Setting personal goals which are measurable and achievable is the important first step in our brain fitness training process. Just like a sedentary person setting a goal to run a full marathon of 42km within 2 months may be an undesirable goal, setting a goal of say an improvement of 5 grade levels in reading after 2 months of brain fitness training may not only be undesirable, but even detrimental to the students motivation and well-being. A measurable goal helps us to evaluate programme efficacy and also focuses our attention and efforts in achieving it. An achievable goal builds motivation and boosts self-esteem as students are able to experience sweet success after all their hard work. Our brain fitness trainers help parents in the goal-setting process by understanding their own personal desires for their child, be it to enhance attention in a struggling learner, to achieve better academic grades or to improve handwriting in an already highperforming child. M - Measurement with CognitiveMAP Measurement of a students brain fitness level is the next important step in our training process. Just like measuring how heavy a weight your arm muscles can lift before embarking on a physical training programme, measuring a students brain fitness level helps the trainer to understand the mental weights the student should be lifting and helps the trainer to determine the most optimal programme for the student to embark on based on his unique profile. CognitiveMAP is a proprietary process that BrainFit Studio uses to measure the brain fitness level of a student prior to brain fitness training. Besides allowing us to identify areas These 5 systems are important because whether you are learning to play golf, play the piano or solve a Math problem, they form the foundation of our engine for learning. For example, to be successful in the activities above, accurate listening (auditory brain fitness) to the coachs instructions, the tune of music from the piano or the explanation from the teacher about the new Math concept is vital. Our visual system (visual brain fitness) further supports our listening system as we watch the coachs golf swing closely, look at the music scores line by line or study the Math diagrams the teacher has drawn on the blackboard. for improvement, this analysis of ones cognitive skills also enables us to exploit the key mental strengths for success and peak performance.

CognitiveMAP evaluates a students cognitive skills in the 5 brain fitness systems of:
Social-Emotional functioning Attention and Memory Auditory and Language processing Visual and Spatial processing Sensory-Motor coordination

Teachers remain vital

Does brain fitness training replace teachers and teaching in school? Absolutely not! Teachers are vital to impart knowledge to our students. What brain fitness training does is to maximize the teaching efforts of our teachers by helping students to pay better attention, remember more, comprehend faster and enjoy the learning process. Learning is accelerated with a fitter brain, a desirable outcome for all individuals!

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Neuroplasticity & Brain Fitness Training | 29

Our emotional system (social-emotional brain fitness) keeps our anxiety at bay and our motivation high as we learn these tasks for the first time, so that our attention system (attention and memory brain fitness) can work effectively to keep us focused on the task at hand and our memory system can retain the information for future use. Finally, we need our motor skills (sensory-motor brain fitness) to execute the new golf swing, manipulate our fingers swiftly on the keyboard to play the tune or control the pencil to copy the Math diagram accurately onto our workbook. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of these 5 brain fitness systems means understanding the health of our learning engine. At Brainfit Studio, we use internationally recognized standardized tests to evaluate our students brain fitness levels. We are all familiar with the idea of tests in school. A standardised test is another kind of test. It is used to measure a childs ability in a particular area (in this instance brain fitness) compared to other children of the same age. Standardised tests are universally conducted and scored in a consistent manner, allowing a wealth of statistical data to be collected. CognitiveMAP thus enables us to determine the fitness level of a students cognitive abilities by comparing his standardised tests scores against the data of his peers. We can then identify which of the 5 brain fitness systems require enhancement and craft a brain fitness programme that addresses those needs. Using standardised tests is important to us as it also helps us ensure uniform standards among all our trainers and across different centres. In addition, the tests allow us to evaluate progress as each student will receive re-evaluations of their brain fitness profiles at critical intervals of training.

A - Adapting to the individual For brain fitness training to be effective, it must be conducted at the optimum level of difficulty. If activities are too easy for the individual, the brain will not be adequately challenged to build new, stronger and better connections; too difficult, the participant will lose motivation, interest and confidence.

November 2007

There are brain games for entertainment and there is cognitive training that changes brain function There is room for both, but people should know which is which. - Newsweek, 17

The 80/20 Rule


BrainFit Studios personalised programmes are fully customised to each individuals unique brain abilities and follow neuroscientific principles for maximum impact and efficacy. Our programmes adapt themselves to improvements in brain ability, ensuring that brain fitness training is continuously conducted at the most optimum level. Neuroscientists recommend that this optimum level for building neural connections is where the student is able to accomplish 80% of the task but is challenged to complete the remaining 20%. This 80/20 rule allows the student to experience success and yet challenges the brain to build new connections over the 20% material which they are learning to master. Our small group size further enhances our ability to ensure full customization for each student.

Mental exercise has to be consistent, and it has to be challenging. Just like you have to keep increasing the weights at the gym to make it challenging, you have to do the same with mental activity. Washington Post, 20
December 2006

Due to the need for careful grading and customisation, the computer is a tool that has been used extensively by scientists to deliver effective brain fitness training programmes. It is important for

Neuroplasticity & Brain Fitness Training | 31

Is brain fitness Training for everyone?

Absolutely! At BrainFit

Studio, we have worked with students from both ends of the spectrum, those with weakness in brain fitness (often manifesting as learning difficulties like dyslexia, autism or attention deficit disorder), as well as gifted students with high IQs. Many bright students may be performing well, but need to put in great amounts of effort to keep up their performance. Others may have difficulty with neat effortless handwriting or maintaining good posture at the desk. Some students with high IQ may even suffer from low self-esteem as they are uncoordinated in PE class or fail to excel in sports.

parents to understand that brain fitness training programmes designed based on neuroscientific principles are distinctly more advanced and superior to other off-the-shelf games that purport to improve the brain. Such products are typically not personalised nor finely-leveled and as such, fail to provide brain fitness enhancement to users. R Rewiring through focused repetitions and practice Once the optimum training level is determined for the student, the next step involves rewiring of the neural connections through intensive repetitions and practice of the cognitive activities. This repeated lifting of mental weights in our mental gym builds the mental muscles we are targeting. Neuroscientific research tells us that frequency and intensity of brain fitness training has a significant influence on training outcomes. At BrainFit Studio, our programmes typically run for 50 minutes per session. In order to achieve maximum results, we ensure that each student is continuously engaged over the entire 50 minutes, with short rest breaks in between. Our data tells us that in a typical brain fitness training session, our student may be engaged in up to 500 to 1000 repetitions of the cognitive tasks they are working on. The exact number of repetitions varies, depending on the specific programme the student is on, as well as the ability of the student. As one can see, brain fitness training is much like physical fitness training, where effort is needed for gains to be seen. How does one make a young child go through 500 or even 1000 repetitions? Herein lies another important feature of a well-developed brain fitness training programme for children the activities must be fun and motivating. Hence at BrainFit Studio, we often call our programmes games, as they have a game-like fun element but with serious neuroscience underpinning them. An engaging programme motivates a student to go through many repetitions of cognitive tasks to allow neural networks to be connected, or our brain to be rewired.

T Transformation for peak performance With all the ingredients in place: a measurable and achievable goal set, measurement of the students brain fitness abilities, adaptation of the cognitive activities to the students abilities, and rewiring of the brain through focused repetitions and practice of engaging tasks; we have come to our last and most important step - expectation of a transformation in the student towards peak performance.

...brain fitness training is much like physical fitness training, where effort is needed for gains to be seen...

Can brain fitness training make every person a genius? With our current understanding of brain fitness, probably not. For us at BrainFit Studio, it is not about turning each child into a genius but more importantly, it is about bringing out the maximum potential in each child, whatever that potential may be. That, we know, is an outcome we can expect with brain fitness training.

...think of each brain fitness system as clusters of neurons forming complex networks that serve unique functions vital for learning...

sensory motor (parietal lobe) VISUAL (occipital lobe)

ATTENTION (frontal lobe)

5 Brain Fitness Systems


There is much more to your brain than just the left side and the right side!
Over the next few chapters, we will delve more into the five brain fitness systems of Social-Emotional, Attention, Auditory, Visual and Sensory-Motor functions. Rather than thinking of these brain fitness systems as occupying distinct regions in our brain, one should think of them as clusters of neurons forming complex networks that serve unique functions vital for learning. Our intention is for you to gain an understanding of how each of these brain fitness systems impacts our lives and in particular, how they impact learning in our children. We will share success stories and objective data of improvement following our brain fitness programmes. We will also discuss tell-tale signs which can indicate weakness in a brain fitness system so parents or teachers can pick them up early, as well as some practical tips on strengthening each of these brain fitness systems. AUDITORY (temporal lobe)

SOCIAL EMOTIONAL (limbic system)

02

SocialEmotional Brain Fitness

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Social Emotional Brain Fitness | 37

Underlying motivation, hope and optimism is an outlook psychologists call self-efficacy, the belief that one has mastery over the events of ones life and can meet the challenges as they come. Developing a competency of any kind strengthens the sense of self-efficacy.
Dr Daniel Goleman, Psychologist and Author of International BestSeller, Emotional Intelligence. It is easy for us to understand how children can always do better if they were more interested, motivated or had more confidence. However, what is the underlying driver increasing our motivation or confidence in one task, yet diminishing motivation or confidence on another task? Why does Jane love Math and is motivated to complete every Math worksheet while Ben, her brother is totally the opposite, with poor motivation and laziness for Math?

Children can always do better if they were more interested, motivated or had more confidence.

What is social-emotional brain fitness?


Many parents believe that the root causes of their childs under-performance in school is due to their laziness, disinterest, lack of motivation or low confidence.
This is the realm of social-emotional brain fitness the part of our brain that causes us to develop feelings and attitudes towards any activity or person.

NATURAL SENSE OF PRIDE Motivation for any task (e.g. learning Math) is best developed when one can complete the task successfully (i.e. doing well in Math) most of the time. This achievement builds a natural sense of pride, which in turn develops confidence and motivation for that activity.

Social-Emotional system (Limbic system)

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Social Emotional Brain Fitness | 39

It is like flying. If we do not have wings, even the best motivational coach or technique cannot help us develop the confidence or ability to fly!

If you cannot understand Math concepts easily or struggle with Math homework, it is easy to become lazy or uninterested in that subject, simply because the effort required from you is too great. On the other hand, if you can listen and absorb quickly, pay attention without huge effort, have strong memory power, write fast and draw accurately without being careless, and not need to study 10 hours a day just to get a B+, how much easier is it to be passionate about learning? Interest, motivation and confidence is best built by enhancing a child's mental capabilities or brain fitness. By having strong visual, sensory-motor, auditory and attention brain fitness - the solid foundations needed for learning - a child is able to acquire and retain knowledge more effectively and perform more successfully. With the experience of success comes a natural development of pride for their personal achievement, which is the best confidence-builder. With increased confidence, interest and motivation naturally develops. Once a child gets to such a state, you will find that in the place of laziness, she is craving to learn and excel, because now, excelling is within reach. It is like flying. If we do not have wings, even the best motivational coach or technique cannot help us develop the confidence or ability to fly! On the other hand, if we have strong wings, nothing can stop us from soaring to explore the world! As Dr Daniel Goldman, renowed psychologist explains, developing a competency of any kind will improve a childs sense of self-efficacy, essential for developing motivation and optimism in the child.

Optimism and Happiness


While strong brain fitness can help enhance motivation and optimism, research has also shown that children can be directly taught optimistic thinking patterns which can set them up for a happier life. The benefits of optimism have been well proven by research. People who have an optimistic outlook of life enjoy better health and increased longevity over those with a pessimistic outlook, experience less stress, and achieve more in life. Optimism and pessimism are explanatory styles of thinking about events in life ie. positive versus negative mindset. People with optimistic mindset generally feel happier and are more energized to cope with obstacles, seeing them as challenges and opportunities for learning rather than failure experiences. Optimists are more likely to believe that setbacks are temporary, then are able to develop plans to remove obstacles to their goals. Pessimists are more likely to view life problems as personal failures, blame themselves, feel unhappy and give up trying to change. Optimism is a state which correlates with but is not identical to happiness. If you are a person who is looking forward to a life half-full rather than half-empty, you will have a better chance of obtaining more life satisfaction and happiness. It is possible for us to learn to have an optimistic outlook of life which can then contribute to greater happiness and satisfaction.

D o h a p p ie r p e o p le h a v e r o s ie r li v e s ?

You may think that life is rosier for people who are happier. Research, however, shows that happy and unhappy people generally have the same number of adverse events in their lives. The difference is in their interpretation of unfortunate life events. Optimistic people are willing and able to make positive life action plans to counteract negative events in their lives, while pessimists are more likely to do nothing, then find themselves sinking into negativism, lethargy, perhaps even depression.

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Social Emotional Brain Fitness | 41

...Social skills often are the ways others determine our status, consider our potential as friends, and for employment or promotions in the workplace.....

Social Relationships and Happiness


One of the strongest findings in happiness research is the positive correlation between social relationships and happiness. Similar results are seen across research conducted on adults, adolescents, as well as children. Happy people tend to have more friends and more social support. On the other hand, loneliness has a negative correlation with happiness, and a positive correlation with depression. Good social skills help us to communicate more effectively with others, and build more successful relationships. Social skills are most often thought of as a set of skills that allow us to communicate, relate and socialize with others and include both verbal and non-verbal forms of communication. They often are the ways others determine our status, consider our potential as friends, and for employment or promotions in the workplace. Verbal communication skills include being able to determine the appropriate thing to say at the appropriate time and being able to communicate in ways that are engaging. Being a good listener and having the ability to give compliments are other signs of good verbal communication skills. Examples of nonverbal communication skills include body postures, making eye contact and smiling appropriately.

Social-emotional brain system


The chart below provides a summary of our social-emotional brain system and describes potential problems in the presence of weaknesses.

Subsystem:
1 OPTIMISTIC THINKING The ability to look for the good in any situation and have positive healthy thoughts.

Needed for:

Signs of Weakness:
Negative outlook of life Lack of motivation Low self-esteem Lack of confidence Easily anxious Worrisome Moody and unhappy

-Positive thinking -Personal motivation and drive -Resilient when faced with set-backs

SOCIAL LIFE SKILLS

Poor communication skills -Understanding feelings Difficulties with interpersonal relain self and others tionships -Effective communications skills -Empathy Unable to fit in Lack of empathy Anxious in social situations Lonely and unhappy

The skills that give us social competence and help us develop successful relationships.

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I learnt how to be more assertive!

International Results S M A R T EQ
SMART EQ aims to build emotional intelligence in children from 8 to 16 years old. Vital social-emotional brain fitness is strengthened through proven methodologies based on the successful Learned Optimism (USA) and Aussie Optimism (Australia) programmes. Research has shown that children can be taught effective and enduring patterns of positive thought processes and social skills for healthy self-esteem. A child becomes happier and more motivated as he develops a self-reinforcing cycle of positivity. Attitude towards school, homework and learning new subjects will improve, while interpersonal relationships with family and friends will be enhanced. Through fun games, group discussions and role plays, the student learns and practises techniques and strategies to generate accurate, helpful positive thoughts, manage stressful situations or set-backs, regulate feelings, communicate effectively, build social skills and solve interpersonal problems. The result is a more resilient and happy child with a confident outlook in life. Parents play a vital role in helping their children develop better emotional intelligence. In SMART EQ, they also attend sessions to learn how to support their childrens social-emotional development at home in daily situations. Together, we can raise happier and more resilient children! Led by Dr Clare Roberts, the Aussie Optimism Team from Curtin University, Australia, has been awarded a number of grants from the Department of Health, Australia, to engage in research projects to evaluate the effectiveness of the Aussie Optimism programme. The programme has been evaluated over many years with more than 5,000 children and 400 teachers from over 100 schools. Results revealed that the programme has resulted in reductions in depression and enhanced self-esteem in students making their transition to high school, and reductions in anxiety up to three years after the programme. Parents have noted reductions in their childrens anxiety, depression and behaviour problems at home, while teachers have reported improvements in social skills, problem solving and self management skills at school. Students, parents and teachers have rated the programme as informative, enjoyable, and as providing useful skills to deal with the stresses and strains of the teenage years.

..Parents have noted reductions in their childrens anxiety, depression and behaviour problems at home, while teachers have reported improvements in social skills, problem solving and self management skills at school....

9-year-old girl, after attending SMART EQ

....A child becomes happier and more motivated as he develops a self-reinforcing cycle of positivity....

I learnt how to be a happier person from SMART EQ. It is great that the teachers are all so patient!
10-year-old boy, after attending SMART EQ

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Our Success Stories


Parent of 10-year-old boy, after attending SMART EQ: I think this programme is EXCELLENT and feel that every school child should have the opportunity to go through it. My son knows a lot in theory but does not apply in real situations. The role-playing in SMART EQ is very helpful for him to learn to apply emotional management in a practical way. It is great that topics that are otherwise hard to deal with (e.g. anger and fears) are explored among the kids and are addressed in a fun and positive way. As a parent, the greatest benefit of SMART EQ for me is to open up the communication channels with my son to allow us to discuss about different topics related to emotional management. My son really enjoyed attending this programme and it helped him to face some issues he did not like to discuss. Parent of 8-year-old boy, after attending SMART EQ: Parent of 8 and 10-year-old boys, after attending SMART EQ:

What I have really learnt from SMART EQ is to give my son more room for his opinions. This programme gave me useful ideas for activities to de-stress, as well as how to handle a negotiation. I really like the parent handbook for SMART EQ, which gives me an opportunity to refresh what I have learnt even after the classes.

As a parent, the greatest benefit of SMART EQ would be to help me understand my childrens behaviours better. I learnt a lot about how to help my children relax using the relaxation techniques. I really like the fact that the activities are able to help my children in real-life situations.

SMART EQ taught me how to negotiate a fair deal and the part of the programme I enjoyed most was learning how to cope with problems. I have learnt how to identify feelings in others and what I enjoy most about the programme are the fun games and activities.

9-year-old boy, after attending SMART EQ

12-year-old boy, after attending SMART EQ

SMART EQ taught me what I should do when I am scared. What I like most about the programme are the fun games.

I have learnt about the importance of doing things that I enjoy in my life. I really enjoyed playing the fun games in the SMART Emotions classes.

8-year-old boy, after attending SMART EQ

11-year-old boy, after attending SMART EQ

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Shawn, 6 years old (Philippines) I cant tell you my name, its ugly, he whispered. This was Shawns normal response to people whenever his name was asked. Catherine Duyongco narrated that it has been a year since her 6-year-old son started whispering and exhibiting inhibitions towards others. He thinks his voice is ugly as well. Whenever the family goes out in public, Shawns voice automatically turns into whispers. While at school, he would not socialize with others. Mrs. Duyongco, a full-time mother of three young boys, had tried so many methods to help Shawn with his concerns. She knew her son can do much better if only she could find the proper approach to address it. I thought maybe it would help him with his self-confidence. Mrs. Duyongco yearned when she enrolled Shawn into the abridged version of the SMART EQ programme held at Fully Booked in Bonifacio High Street. In the 6-session workshop, Shawn and the other participants learned how to manage their emotions and express themselves more positively. Seeing how this has positively affected Shawn, his mother decided to enroll Shawn with his younger brother in the other programmes at BrainFit Studio namely, SMART Moves and SMART Listening. Mrs. Duyongco expressed that there were significant improvements with her boys, particularly Shawn. He stopped the whispering habit he had for more than a year. He started expressing himself, or explaining his side of the story whenever he had to. He can also now stay on task longer and he reads better too. Mrs. Duyongco also noticed that Shawns penmanship has improved and how hes now able to control his impulses to redo his writings. The biggest change she noticed about Shawn is the improvement in his social and emotional skills. Before, he would get easily frustrated whenever something bad happened or if he commits a mistake, but now, he easily moves on! She could see that Shawn is becoming more positive and gaining self-confidence.

Before, he would get easily frustrated whenever something bad happened or if he commits a mistake, but now, he easily moves on!
mrs. catherine duyongco, shawns mother

Shawn

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WHAT CAN PARENTS D


Extracted from Aussie Optimism Parent Workbook

Parents, you can help your child practise

Doing things we en joy is important!

O?

assertive skills by acting out common situations involving school, friends and family. For example, role-play with your child scenarios such as asking for help from a friend, saying no to an unreasonable request from a friend or apologising to someone you offended.

1 2

ild h c ur yo h it w s ie it v ti ac le b R eg ul ar ly d is c us s en jo ya

and plan to do a fun activity that you both enjoy each week. Discuss ways of relaxation that each of you use regularly and
thin k of add ition al way s of calm ing your self, so that thes e

Teach your child assertive communication!


Regularly engaging in enjoyable activities helps people of all ages feel happier and protects against the risk of stress and depression. The pressure we face in our lives can lead us to forget to engage in activities we enjoy regularly. Even young children face a number of challenges in their daily lives. Being able to relax and stay calm is an important skill. Through relaxation, we can learn to be more alert in our daily lives and feel calm when faced with difficult situations (e.g. sitting for an examination or speaking up in public).

strategies can be incorporated into your daily lives. Develop assertive communication
Help your child to develop assertive communication by using three simple steps:

3 4 5

Passive: Being passive means not saying how you feel, ignoring the situation or giving in to the other person. Aggressive: Being aggressive means attacking the other person, overreacting or being rude. Assertive: Being assertive means saying how you feel and speaking up for yourself in an honest and friendly way.

Praising Your Child

6 7 8

Describe the situation... (Eg. When you take my book without asking) Say how you feel... (Eg. I feel angry) Say what you want... (Eg. Please do not do that anymore)

Parents can help your child by praising them for speaking up for themselves and encouraging them to express their opinions and feelings assertively rather than passively or aggressively.

03

Attention Brain Fitness

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Wisdom and understanding can only become the possession of individual men by travelling the old road of observation, attention, perseverance, and industry
Samuel Smiles (1814-1904, Scottish author & reformer)

...ability to filter unnecessary and unimportant information also falls within the realm of our attention brain fitness...

Attention system (Frontal lobe)

Strong Attention Essential for Learning We all understand the importance of having a strong attention span for learning success. Without paying adequate attention, it is impossible to acquire information accurately or execute without error. Our attention brain fitness supports our visual and auditory brain fitness in absorbing and retaining information and our sensory-motor brain fitness in giving an accurate motor response.

What is attention brain fitness?


This is probably the most well-known and easy to understand brain fitness system. Our attention brain fitness helps us to remain focused on a task without being easily distracted. It also helps us control our impulses so that we do not rush into a task without giving it due consideration.

Furthermore, not only do we require a good attention span, but we also need to have strong attention stamina in order to sit through 2 hours of classes without losing focus. At the same time, we need to remain attentive even with noises in the background and movement in the classroom. This ability to filter unnecessary and unimportant information also falls within the realm of our attention brain fitness.

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The important sub-skills that have been identified within our attention brain fitness are:

Time on Task
Time on task is the ability to start and complete an assignment within a given amount of time. The ability to complete our homework or an assignment within a designated time-frame is a good example.

Discriminatory Processing
Discriminatory processing means that a student can filter out distractions while paying attention to the teacher. Increasing this ability reduces the effects of distraction at home, school, and the workplace.

Attention Stamina
Attention stamina is the ability to remain focused for a sustained period of time. Attention stamina is essential to help the student maintain focused over the entire class period or to concentrate throughout an examination.

Impulse Control
Impulse control is the ability to control ones impulses and not be driven to act before due consideration is given to the action and its consequences. Our brains executive control system helps us to pay attention and also control our impulses so that we are able to attend to and evaluate our options instead of rushing in.

Short-Term Memory
Short-term memory helps us perform tasks, take multiple step directions, and remember names for a short period of time. As one of two main memory types, short-term memory is responsible for storing information temporarily and determining if it will be dismissed or transferred on to long-term memory. This process takes your short-term memory less than a minute to complete. For example, it is helping you right now by storing information from the beginning of this sentence, so that you can make sense of the end of it.

Together with the other brain fitness areas, our attention brain fitness forms the vital foundation for learning, without which success in school and learning becomes impossible.

I n a t t e n t iv e b e h a v io u r

Many parents come to us with the suspicion that their child has a weakness in his attention brain fitness. It is important to remember that weaknesses in a childs visual, auditory or sensorymotor brain fitness may also result in inattentive and easily distractible behaviour. Hence it is vital that a detailed evaluation is conducted at the onset to help us determine which brain fitness area may be responsible for an inattentive behaviour.

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Attention and Working Memory

....All children regardless of background or environmental influence can have the same opportunities to fulfil their potential if working memory is assessed and enhanced...

Our attention system is closely associated with our working memory system.

Working memory is a newer concept than short-term memory. The two are often used interchangeably; however, working memory emphasizes the brains manipulation of information it receives, while short-term memory is a more passive concept. Working memory is often thought of as the brains scratch pad or mental workplace that keeps information a number, name, or whatever else on hand just long enough to use. We now understand that our attention system is closely associated with our working memory system. To act as a mental workplace, working memory seems to require the simultaneous storage and processing of information using our visual and auditory brain fitness systems, also known as the visuospatial sketch pad and the phonological loop respectively. However, the central executive control of our working memory appears to lie within our attention control system, much like the conductor of an orchestra coordinating different musical instruments to ensure a synchronous piece of music. This conductor ensures an optimal working memory system by helping us to focus attention on task-relevant information and ignoring distractions. Dr Tracy Packiam Alloway, Director of the Center for Memory

and Learning in the Lifespan at the University of Stirling, UK, reported results of her research, which showed that working memory at the start of formal education may be a more powerful predictor of subsequent academic success than the students IQ. Her study also found that, as opposed to IQ, working memory is not linked to the parents level of education or socio-economic background. This means all children regardless of background or environmental influence can have the same opportunities to fulfil their potential if working memory is assessed and enhanced.

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Attention & Video Games


In a recent study published in the scientific journal Pediatrics, researchers from Media Research Lab at Iowa State University followed a group of more than 1,300 school-age children who, assisted by their parents, logged their TV and gaming hours over a year. They then asked teachers to answer questions about how the children behaved in school -- whether they had difficulty staying on task, for instance, or often interrupted others.

Attention & memory brain system


The chart below summarises the subsystems within our attention brain system, as well as its close affiliate, our working memory system.

Subsystem:
1 Time on task The ability to start and complete an assignment within a given amount of time. 2 Discriminatory Processing The ability to filter out distractions. 3 Attention Stamina The ability to stay focused for an extended period of time. 4 Impulse Control

Needed for:
Completing homework or an assignment within a designated timeframe

Signs of Weakness:
Difficulty completing work on time Poor concentration/ focus

Results showed that those who watched a lot of TV or played a lot of video games had slightly more problems concentrating on schoolwork. Specifically, those children who spent more than two hours per day in front of the screen (the limit recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics) are 67 percent more likely than their peers who watch less to have greater-thanaverage attention problems.

Lack of motivation for school

Remain focused in the Easily distractible presence of distractions Unable to sustain attention Drifts off after some time Impulsive, Rushes in On the go Hyperactive Behavioural problems (e.g. difficulty staying still, disrupts class) Forgetful Mental storage, processing and manipulation of information. Slow/ Difficulties in learning, thinking and problem-solving May appear as inattentive Lack of motivation to learn

Just as TV viewing has been linked with shorter attention span, the instant nature of text messaging and micro-blogging on twitter has also caused them to be associated with activities that cause a weakening in attention span. However, other recent researchers have also reported cognitive enhancements such as improved visual attention and decision-making abilities following playing of video games. Those found to be useful include action-packed games and games that involve strategy and planning. It appears that computer games can offer both beneficial or undesirable effects to our brain. The important considerations seem to be the type of games that are played as well as the length of time children are playing them. Well-selected games played in moderation, built into a schedule that includes lots of physical activities and social interactions, can certainly provide benefits to our brain.

Sustain attention over a long duration

-Maintain calm and The ability to control ones impulses optimal learning state and not be driven to act before due -Evaluate options consideration is given to the action before making a decision and its consequences. Working Memory The brains scratch pad or mental workplace that keeps information a number, name, or whatever else on hand just long enough to use.

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Students participate in SMART Focus twice a week for 50 minutes each session for maximum results.

S M A R T Focus
SMART Focus uses a combined protocol utilizing both the Play Attention Learning System and Jungle Memory to strengthen your childs Attention and Working Memory brain fitness. The Play Attention Learning System uses neuro-feedback technology to build focus and attention. This system adopts an advanced and patented technology that NASA astronauts and U.S. Air Force pilots also use to stay attentive in the cockpit.

The Play Attention Learning System consists of a sensor-lined helmet that resembles a bicycle helmet. The sensors monitor the students attentive state and thinking process, which is fed into a small interface system that attaches to the computer. The student completes a series of video game-like exercises that are controlled by the brain alone. The student can see and hear real-time feedback on how he is progressing on focusing, finishing tasks, increasing memory, and filtering out distractions. Feedback is continuous and immediate. With Play Attention, the students mind becomes the mouse or joystick while he plays computer games that teach necessary skills and improve behaviour.

W h a t is J u n g le M e m o r y .. ?

A work-out for working memory Jungle Memory is an online adaptive brain fitness training programme that focuses on improving working memory. Students remember locations and spatial orientations of letters and words, as well as solve Math problems while getting a working memory work-out. In published research studies, Jungle Memory has been found to improve IQ, working memory and academic grades of students.

The mind as a joystick

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Our Results
Standardised testing on the Integrated Visual & Auditory Continuous Performance Test revealed an improvement of 12 to 14 standard score points in attention and impulse control. Parents report an improvement in their childrens ability to concentrate. There is longer attention span, faster learning speed as well as an improved ability to sit still.

Our Success Stories


Mother of 16-year-old girl after SMART Focus: Parent of a 7 year-old boy, after SMART Focus: When I came home from work last night, my son came running to me waving this piece of homework in his hand. For the first time ever, he was able to complete all his homework during the class lesson without having to bring any work home! This is a great achievement for him, having the attention and focus to complete a task swiftly! We are all so proud! I can see a tremendous improvement. My daughter can sit down to work for much longer periods of time now.

Parent of a 9-yearold girl, after SMART Focus

He has gained more ability to focus on tasks he didnt want to do. He has skills he can call upon now.

Parent of a 12-yearold boy, after SMART Focus

My daughter is much more attentive now. She is more focused when reading and also reads for a longer period of time. Previously, she is only able to focus on her homework for 10 minutes, now she is able to focus for 30 minutes

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Denise, 11 years old and Allen, 9 years old (Philippines) Dr. Beng Wee, an accomplished OB-Gynecologist, chose to be a full-time Mom a choice that has paid off in many ways. As a full-time Mom, Beng has become more sensitive to the needs of her daughters, Denise and Allen, whether these needs are academic, social, physical or anything that will contribute to the holistic growth of her daughters. Denise, 11 years old, has been getting good grades in school, but she takes longer time to finish even relatively simple tasks. Sense of time and being more responsible are areas she wants to be addressed. Mommy Beng knows that Denise can do more if she will just strive harder and be more competitive. Allen, 9 years old, is already a consistent honor student. However, she still commits careless mistakes when she in a hurry or distracted. Also, when Mommy Beng says something to Allen, it would take 2-3 prompts before she would respond to her biddings. She also has the tendency to be impulsive and did not like to wait for her turn to talk in conversations. With these concerns in mind, Beng was convinced after attending a talk by BrainFit Studio at St. Jude Catholic School that her daughters will benefit from the brain fitness training programmes. So last summer, Denise was enrolled to 20 sessions of SMART Moves and SMART Focus, while Allen went through 20 sessions of SMART Vision and SMART Listening. After attending about 12 sessions, both kids, for the first time, won in the summer swimming competition at the Quezon City Sports Club. Denise won the bronze medal in the 50 meters breast stroke while Allen won two bronze medals; one in the butterfly and one in the freestyle competition. When asked what made the difference, Denise said she just found swimming easier this time. This school year,Mommy Beng also observed significant progress in her two girls in terms of academic performance. During the 2nd quarter, Denise finally took the initiative of studying for her lessons on her own when before, Mommy Beng had to stay with her the whole time while studying. It was also noticed that she has a stronger drive to finish an assigned task when before, she used to leave things undone. Denises improvement andefforts led to her being an honor student during 2nd quarter. Allens careless mistakes during tests have been minimized and her handwriting has improved a lot. At home, Mommy Beng implements exercise recommendations from BrainFit Studio. She also incorporated the point system she learned at BrainFit Studio to motivate her daughters in becoming more responsible and organized. Now, the Wee sisters prepare their own food to bring to school, follow the home schedule, and even engage in household chores.

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To improve attention for learning:

WHAT CAN PARENTS D

Include Physical Activities Structured Routine

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Specific Workplace
Establish a specific area for your child for school work and quiet study:

Ensure your child has some time for physical activity in his daily routine. Appropriate activities include martial arts (e.g. aikido, taekwan-do), formal team sports (e.g. basketball, soccer), gymnastics, swimming or dance classes.

1 2 3 4 5

A worktable facing a blank wall away from distraction. Use of green as wall colour may be helpful (not scientifically proven but some suggestions of its benefit have been made) Avoid clutter by removing toys, books, stationary, items etc in the surroundings and worktable.

Set a clear routine for your child. Having a time-table posted up with clear meal/ bath/ play and homework time may help manage your childs behaviours and facilitate development of discipline. If your child is old enough, it is ideal to involve him in the setting of the routine and time-table itself.

Use of an alarm clock or a time buzzer may help your child develop the concept of time and the need to complete specific tasks within the set time frame. Give your child positive reinforcement (attention and praise) when he has persevered through and completed each activity.

Go over your expectations and any household rules with your child so they know what to expect. Pasting up household rules as a visual reinforcement may be beneficial.

Clear and positive communications

Give praise or reward immediately upon observation of your childs positive behaviour. Be specific in stating what exact behaviour is being praised or rewarded. Praise more frequently than punish to enhance the childs positive self-image.

A Chronicle of 12 years Brain Fitness Training


We welcome you to learn more about how the brain works and how you can accelerate learning with brain fitness the crucial brain foundations without which successful learning is impossible. Understanding brain fitness in the areas of of Social-Emotional, Attention, Auditory, Visual and Sensory-Motor functions can help you to better appreciate the strengths and weaknesses in your childs (and indeed your own!) unique learning profile.

About

Ms Cheryl Chia holds a Masters Degree in Physiotherapy Studies (Paediatrics) from University of Queensland (UQ), Australia. She was awarded a full scholarship from KK Womens and Childrens Hospital (KK Hospital) in Singapore to study Physiotherapy at UQ. She has more than 18 years of work experience, with over 4 years of clinical experience in KK Hospital where she held various responsibilities including being the overall co-ordinator for paediatric neurology physiotherapy. Ms Chia was also a lecturer on Paediatric Physiotherapy at the School of Health Sciences, Nanyang Polytechnic.

Cheryl Chia Paediatric Physiotherapist Founder and Director BrainFit Studio

Ms Chia has a keen interest in neuroscience and brain research on learning skills. She is the Founder and Director of BrainFit Studio and has presented at numerous international conferences related to brain fitness development. Currently with ten centres in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand, BrainFit Studio focuses on helping children improve their brain fitness and learning abilities.
After going through SMART Moves and SMART Vision programmes, Fidelia has improved tremendously. She finds it so much easier to understand concepts and her academic results have also improved. Jess Chan, Parent of Fidelia, Singapore. The programmes helped William to be more focused at school, helped him with his reading and handwriting, and improved his learning speed. We thank BrainFit Studio for their professional and personal service, and we are happy to testify to all parents that taking BrainFit programmes is one of the best investments for our childrens future. Endra & Yetri Diputra, Parents William, Indonesia.

Design & Illustration: Timoer design (meeawulan@gmail.com)