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Brainskills Available to Idividuals Again


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Brainskills will be me available to the individual user again!!!! Just received the following email from them:



We plan to offer the BrainSkills program to individuals starting the first part of January. If you are still interested please let me know.

It is good to have the student that needs work do the Gibson Test of cognitive skills first, which will be available at no cost through December 31, 2008. Thereafter it will be $29.95 per test. Please go to www.gibsontest.com to register and take the assessment.

Once registered, please let me know the User ID and I will set up access to the BrainSkills exercise program through December 31, 2008 at no cost so you can review the program to make sure it will meet your needs. If it does, you will be able to purchase the program the first week of January at $495 per student for one year of access.

To achieve optimal results, it is important that parents introduce the program to their children and supervise them on an ongoing basis.

To view an introduction to the program from a parent’s perspective, please visit the following link and run through the PowerPoint presentation, http://www.brainskills.com/Parents/index.html.

To view a tutorial on each exercise, please visit, www.brainskills.com/tutorial.html.

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I am a homeschool mom whose daughter and husband have been through PACE with such success that I became a PACE trainer. My initial intent was to help other homeschoolers on limited budgets learn about and gain access to BrainSkills. Unfortunately, shortly after becoming a trainer, the paper version of BrainSkills was discontinued.


The good news was that an individual with a strong desire to help low income and disadvantaged individuals partnered with the original creators and began developing the on line version of BrainSkills. It was originally to be made available only to urban and disadvantaged schools.


Given my interest in this subject and the recognition that many of us are on a single income (hence often financially "disadvantaged") I approached them about making this product available for homeschoolers as well. I have been advocating this position for about 1 1/2 years. The original version back then did not include any auditory analysis activities either, so it was a good start but not a replacement for the paper BrainSkills or PACE.


In the interim they have added a number of activities as well as an auditory section. On Christmas day I received an email from the online BrainSkills computer genius inviting me to help do the one thing I have wanted to do all along - help make this product available for homeschoolers.


I have had the pleasure of being able to access the entire program and have spend over 6 hours working through the exercises and scrutinizing it to determine if I could justifiably recommend it to our community.


I can honestly say that I can. There are some limitations because of the computer nature of the program, but this has been recognized by the developers and their hope is that people like me can offer some hourly consultation advice so the absolute most can be derived from the program for the children enrolled. Even without this additional and supplemental support, the program is good and sound in its principles.


Over the next few weeks I will continue to work with them to finalize arrangements to help make this product readily available for anyone interested.


Please note that the auditory section of the current version includes the 17 sounds and 18 codes presented in PACE and the original paper BrainSkills but does not yet incorporate the entire phonics sound to code system available through Master the Code. This portion is intended to help "upgrade" the auditory hard drive of the brain for subsequent installment of the full phonics code system.


If you would like further information or would like to call me for more details, I would be more than happy to hear from any and all of you. In the event my cell goes to voice mail (or calling long distance is not within your budget) please leave me your name and number and I will call you back. Just let me know you are calling about BrainSkills so I can be prepared to answer any questions or take appropriate notes so I can field questions I don’t know the answer to directly to the creators of the program.


I saw that a number of people noted the price for the program was steep. I understand that finances are tight all around, but compared to trainer driven programs, this is a great deal. Budgeting and saving now would be well worth considering. I have also researched many other home study and/or computer training programs, and none of them have yet to meet the level of professionalism and attention to detail seen with this program - especially the auditory portion and the fact that many skills are addressed simultaneously giving a well rounded and full approach to the many of the underlying learning skills that hamper our kids.


Hope you all had a blessed Christmas, and here's wishing you a wonderful New Year.

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Thanks for your questions. I will try to address them as best I can.


First off – which do I like best paper or computer? That is a little tough. I liked the paper version because it had, well –paper. I’m kind of old fashioned and I like the feel of paper. Having said that; I like many of the new components in the online version. The bigger question is which one would your child like the most and which one is available?


From my experience, many children with learning challenges (especially as it relates to reading and spelling) have what I would call an “allergy to paperâ€. Also, some children with paper aversion may still have computer aversion issues. My DD would still need to have had me physically present to encourage her along the way or she probably would be inclined to just get up from the computer and walk away if the going got tough.


I like the auditory component of the new program online. In the paper version there was a greater chance a parent/trainer would mispronounce a sound (thereby inadvertently reinforcing bad habits).


There is, in my opinion, a need for parents to be involved when the child is working with the online program (this is not a babysitter or an opportunity for anyone to focus on another child). In addition to encouraging the child through the program, there is a need to require output from your child verbally.


In the computer version the responses are keyed into the keyboard or selected with a mouse and do not require a verbal response for passage to the next level. I will be recommending, to those I consult, that a verbal response also be given (on beat) before passage to the next level to help improve the verbal output responses and rapid naming issues so many face. This applies to the auditory, the directional arrows activities, as well as some of the numerical memory components of some of the activities. This is a very easy and common sense supplementation and just good parenting/teaching practice.


When a child needs to repeat a section there is a non-judgmental comment stating what percentage they got correct and a prompt to try again. It is very cleverly worded to avoid judgment while encouraging at the same time to improve accuracy and completeness. When a student meets set goals for passing a section they get fire works (visual and sound). Watch out for any auditory sensory defensive kids when this happens! My DD about jumped out of her skin the first time and quickly learned to turn the volume down a bit just before the rockets red glared.


I love the tracking component of the new online program as it lets you see where they have worked the hardest, where they have blasted through without difficulty and where they have quit, etc. A great feature that is done for you and eliminates the paperwork-tracking sheet that was laborious in the paper product.


The biggest difference I have seen is a significant increase in the number of logic and reasoning activities (executive functioning skills) in the online version over the paper version. This was one area the paper product fell short of the PACE program in my opinion.


Many kids will really get into the games and activities that appeal to their strengths. Just encourage them as much as possible and see to it that those activities are privileges after devoting time on the more challenging sections.


If you want your student to have good typing skills (QWERTY versus hunt and peck) you may want to require their auditory skills answers be selected using the mouse rather than the key board. If you are willing to take a little more time with finger placement, you may get an added advantage of starting some good “home base†and typing skills while you are at it!


I am still a proponent of one-on-one training with live bodies. Having said that, the computer approach WITH THE LIVE BODY SITTING RIGHT NEXT TO THE STUDENT is a good alternative. As such, I would encourage anyone who is going to get this new product to be actively involved in the training. Sit along side your child each and every time they are doing a scheduled training session. This is still a labor and time intensive program, but the results are undeniable. We are talking 1 hour a day 5 – 6 days a week for about 12 weeks. Not for the feint of heart.


If you are really curious about the science behind the approach to BrainSkills, PACE and LearningRX activities, I would encourage you to do your own research. The book “Unlocking the Einstein Inside†by Ken Gibson gives a good overview. You may not give it much credibility as the developer of the programs writes it. Nonetheless, I have found it to be accurate.


If you would like something a little meatier, and from someone not having a vested interest in the programs, and that talks about the science of neuroplasticity and how it all works, I would encourage you to check out the book, “The Mind that Changes Itselfâ€, by Norman Doidge MD.


Be aware that this book does make references to Freud and covers some rather disturbing topics such as sexual preferences, fetishism, and Internet pornography. Regardless of the topic, the way the brain responds is a wonder. Although it is very scientific, the author has done a truly remarkable job of presenting this subject in terms that are as close to layman’s understanding as possible. It is not a quick read, but really helps to understand that not only is there a need to create new neural pathways when there is a deficit, but a need to unlearn and dismantle pathways that are inconsistent with the new goals you are setting.


You may also want to check out the success stories my daughter and husband had going through PACE and Master the Code training. Although PACE does have more activities than either the paper or online BrainSkills, the science and principles track one with the other. You can find this information on my site by clicking on the link that is titled “Why We Do What We Doâ€


If anyone would like more details or have other comments please feel free to call me, as I cannot possibly address everything in a written format or it would be a book. Maybe I will add a running commentary under the blog section of my website - after all I have been a bit remiss in working on that lately


Hope this helps some.


I am also attaching a copy of the letter I posted on this link or one of the dyslexia yahoo groups back in August of 2007 as a separate post (it would have been too long otherwise:tongue_smilie:. Interesting how things come full circle!

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My previous post to either this forum or a dyslexia yahoo group forum from August 2007 (current comments added in bold)



I did contact Gary and put in a plug requesting he consider letting homeschoolers test drive the product. I did mention how homeschoolers are often precluded from, or have only woeful access to, public school services of this nature.


I too have been keeping an eye on this site. I’ve noted that there is no auditory processing part to the program. (*note this has been changes and auditory is included in the new program). As this is often a crucial issue for kids with dyslexia there would still be a need for a program to address that element.


I am guardedly optimistic that this program will help. I would like to see it improve cognitive skills and hope for its unparalleled success in doing this while reaching the largest group of people possible. Since the program is produced in conjunction with the parent company that created PACE, BrainSkills and Learning RX, it has a built in credibility, unless or until is does not live up to expectations.


Food for thought: From my personal observation many kids who have LD, however, still need the human reassurance they are succeeding. They have come to believe they just "can’t,' or worse, are "stupid". They need experiences that help them to replace this thought process with the new truth that they "can " all during the time their new learning skills are emerging. Their self-esteem is often shot, and unless these former beliefs are replaced with the new truth that they "can", their lie based thinking from the past will hold them back from making the gains they really could. I am not personally convinced that many of the children I see would gain as much on the psycho-social side of cognitive training through computer training. (so the side-by-side support and instruction is needed IMOA)


I also think of those broken parent-child relationships that are repaired when one-on-one interaction takes place in a training environment. It is a joy to see a parent fall in love all over again with a child who has become self-hating and acting out. For a parent to see that “little child†come alive again is a true miracle. To be intimately involved with the training can undo years of damage to the relationships within a family, and can make a lifelong difference. I hate to admit that my kids enjoy electronic gizmos as much as they do. I am cautious about letting a computer be the savior of my child’s cognitive skills without me being a vital part of that activity. I don’t defer or delegate on many matters of importance, like faith and education, so I am reluctant at heart and may just be an alarmist.


In the meantime, I am all for seeing how well it works and advocating for its ready and prompt availability to homeschoolers, concurrently with the public school kids. I will make every effort to see what can be done to encourage a discussion that embraces those of us who are not neatly fitting within a structured academic system for implementation of this program. There’s nothing that says it has to be a stand-alone program. We can always add TLC to the ROM and DVD!

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