14. Can you tell me more about the therapy?
The Sharper Minds program is a very effective therapy program for enhancing mental performance and for overcoming Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ ADHD), various types of dyslexia, vision coordination, cognitive dysfunction, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and other behavioral and cognitive problems. It can also be used to stave off the effects of aging, such as senility and the earlier phases of Alzheimer’s. As a side benefit, there is also notable improvement in athletic performance as well.
It is a whole brain approach that includes elements of physical and occupational therapy, vision and auditory therapy, stroke therapy, balance training, counseling and much more. It also addresses behavioral and social concerns.
To help understand the brain and thus the therapy, permit me to draw a comparison between the human brain and a computer. For a computer to function correctly, it has to have two separate categories working correctly together: the hardware and the software. The hardware is the tangible parts of the computer including the box, power supply, circuit boards, integrated circuits, hard drive, memory, etc. The software consists of the computer programs that you use to do useful tasks. This may include Microsoft® Windows, Word or Excel, games, your Internet browser, e-mail programs, etc. If either the hardware or software has defects, the computer will not run properly and will be frustrating to those who try to use it. Have you ever had a computer or computer program lock up on you? Or seen the “blue screen of death?”
In an analogous sense, for a person to function correctly, both the hardware (the brain and its 100’s of trillions of connections) and the software (the brain’s programs) have to be working correctly. If either category has defects, malfunctions (cognitive dysfunctions) will take place with the resultant frustrations, misperceptions, missed responses, poor behavior, misunderstanding of consequences, anger, withdrawals, etc.
True Attention Deficit Disorder (an irregular mental tempo)
is a problem that some limited MRI and PET scan studies suggest originate in the
frontal lobes of the brain. Dyslexia
is a problem that is usually observed in a region in the temporal lobe above an
ear. These, along with other
organic dysfunctions such as autism and schizophrenia, could be considered
Relating to software issues, the five most critical of the brain’s programs or processes are the ability to discern correctly: size, shape, position-in-space, figure-ground, and directionality (These are explained in more detail at the evaluation appointment). It is very common for children or adults who have ADD-like symptoms to have moderate to severe problems in two or more of these 5 critical functions. When a person is having problems in one or more of these areas, resulting behaviors are quite predictable.
Our cognitive therapy program works on both the hardware and software issues. It first works in promoting proper whole brain function, especially that of brain bilateral function through the use of innovative whole brain exercises. This is done through a carefully structured series of physical exercises involving movement of the major muscle groups, done in conjunction with multi-sensory stimuli. Each set of exercises builds on the previous ones, each resulting in higher levels of mental function.
This portion of the therapy has its scientific validation in studies that demonstrate that the human brain has the ability to generate new nerve cells (in the subventricular zone) and to have those nerve cells migrate through the body of the brain (the corpus callosum) to areas where higher cognitive functioning takes place. This process of brain change is called neuroplasticity. Our program focuses on nerve growth with resultant “permanent” effects.
Secondly, we work on the brain’s program/processes to permit the individual to accurately perceive their environment and surroundings. Thus the problems that a child or adult might have with perceiving size, shape, direction, figure-ground or position-in-space are corrected, improving the behaviors that result from the misperceptions.
As capabilities improve, we add in distractions or the
principle of challenge, increasing performance under stress.
We also incorporate program success skills, essential to common sense
approaches to dealing with the program and life’s challenges.
As many ADD children act out and misbehave, we also provide parents with
parenting tools and techniques which help regain loving control of the child.
How the above methods, techniques and therapy are actually carried out will be taught to participating families at the appropriate times.
As explained earlier, our neural-cognitive therapy is a “permanent solution” for ADD, dyslexia and other learning problems. It is not a mask or temporary fix that wears off like drugs or herbs. It optimizes the productive or realized intelligence of an individual, allowing them to take full advantage of their innate or inborn intelligence and thus enjoy life to the fullest!
Not only is the child optimized, but the frustration and pain that parents have felt are removed as well, bringing a level of peace and satisfaction to parents that many have not previously felt.
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