To learn means to "gain knowledge and become aware of information by observing it" and to think means to "direct one's mind actively to connect ideas". At Cerebral Matters we are proud to say that we teach the processes to Learn to Think and to Think to Learn. We specialize in bringing transparency in learning by helping children connect ideas of learning needs to the "gestalt" or the "Big-Picture" of learning.
The executive function training at Cerebral Matters focuses on the learner's metacognition and introspection abilities. The metacognitive or self-observation process allows the learner to get to the knowledge and beliefs concerning roadblocks to learning and being strategic thinker.
These Programs offer a great opportunity to all students to instill the necessary cognitive and learning skills that enhance executive-proficiency in academics. The programs focus on developing organization, language-competence and self-correction skills that act as a stepping stone for higher-order thinking as well as critical reasoning essential for cognitive integration.
The process involves multiple two-hour group sessions over multiple weeks during which the students take part in a variety of learning exercises in an intimate setup with interesting and challenging segments. Each program incorporates peer and student evaluation via written and video feedback. Students are assigned and expected to complete homework that reflects that session's learning. The output is monitored for quality and consistency.
Parents are encouraged to schedule an hour-long parent-training session during which they will receive suggestions to carryover to compliment the therapeutic process. Parental participation and follow-through is necessary as it allows their children to maximize the benefit of this training process. It is my observation that a positive approach to learning and perseverance yields the best results. A discussion regarding expectations and the need for hard work also helps change a child's mindset about the effort required for new learning.
At Cerebral Matters, the scope and complexity of the executive function training goes beyond paper and pencil exercises. It is designed to transform the thinking ability by using a metacognitive process.
The treatment or training processes operate in modules and they range in complexity and depth. Below is a list of the few such areas that focus on a variety of underlying cognitive operatives that enhance learning and thinking:
- Metacognitive Training
To improve understanding of one's self as a learner, learning needs and strategic strengths and weaknesses that can be directed towards self-guided learning
- Attention Regulatory Training
To improve attentional focus, tolerance for distractions, sustain mental effort and to successfully switch mental sets
- Memory Training
To improve strategic memory processes including encoding, retention and retrieval
- Information processing and abstractio
To identify main ideas, determine the relevance of information, and connecting facts and details to formulate the "big picture"
- Language Competence Training
To understand lexical relationships through processing same versus different, part-to-whole relationships, how to classify or categorize objects, and the difference between cause and effect
- Organizational Training
To develop knowledge of schema and recognize hierarchy in information and their schematic structure and to apply that to reading and writing
- Time Management Training
To develop understanding of how to conceptualize time, manage tasks and bring efficacy in working with long-range planning needs
- Higher order concept formulation skills
To develop the complex ability to abstract the essence of information, determine opinions, formulate judgments and understand the underlying complex reasoning
- Visual-spatial concept formation and processing skills
To improve visual analysis and synthesis skills
- Self-Advocacy Training
To develop the ability to seek help, to communicate needs in an effective manner and to utilize resources to yield success
- Social-Pragmatic skills
To improve social appropriateness through topic initiation and maintenance skills, turn-taking and listening without interruption and finally recognizing finer nuances of communication such as facial expressions and tonal quality