Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Sharper Minds Reviews & Testimonials
Below is a small sampling of what teachers, parents and kids have to say about the Sharper Minds program.
Our staff have worked with over 1700 children and adults since 1999 with very good results. As you read the following, remember that most of the time we work with children and adults who have fairly severe processing challenges (bottom 10th percentile), for which conventional tutoring, special education and brain training exercises have not worked. Many had little hope before finding the Sharper Minds program. As the program is a FAMILY program, often multiple children and parents would do the program together, all reaping benefits.
Download Case Studies and Reading Improvement Graphs document
Jump to: Adult examples
(2018) Sharper Minds saved our son and has had a HUGE impact on our homeschooling family of six children. Our son was diagnosed with dyslexia and reading three levels below grade. His anger, frustration, lack of confidence and total avoidance of schoolwork was disrupting the school day and requiring 90% of the teacher’s time (Mom). Ed Meelhuysen evaluated our son, confirmed that the Sharper Minds Program would engage our son’s brain, and agreed to include all of our children in the training. Unbelievable results; our son is not only reading at grade level, but his attitude toward all his school subjects has improved 100%. Additionally, all our children have at least doubled their reading speed and comprehension. Our oldest son has actually hit 2000 words per minute in the program. Note: the program does take commitment, tenacity, and drive to implement. The drills are unorthodox and more than once you will question, "Really, we have to do that?" Yes, do what Ed directs and your child’s life will be changed forever – there is hope, it’s Sharper Minds.
Natalie O. (Texas)
(2018) This past Sunday my kids and I completed the Sharper Minds program for learning disorders. I think it is one of the hardest things I have ever done, but is something that will be pivotal for the future of my children. My son began to show signs of difficulty in learning in the second grade when he could not read and encountered major challenges with math. We noticed that he began to suffer from low self esteem and calling himself, “stupid.” He even said he would like to go to bed and die in his sleep. Well-meaning people had solutions for us like the use of Ritalin. I, however, knew that medications were only a band-aid
with potential side effects and wanted to find a method that was outside of the conventional box. Those who know me best know I would rather get to the root of a problem. At the time we enrolled him in high school, the principal of his school suggested we try the Sharper Minds program. We discovered that the program entailed brain exercises that took a little more than an hour a day. The exercises themselves are not daunting, but what was a major challenge for me was to coax my children to do them when they had no desire to do so. Somehow, with a lot of persistence on my part and encouragement and guidance from our Sharper Minds trainer, we completed the program. Throughout the time we did the exercises, it was beyond exciting to see the remarkable changes I would see in my son (and daughter). We started from having to help him with every assignment that came home from school to hardly ever seeing homework because he was completing it in school. His grades are gradually on the rise and I see the program affect changes in more ways than just academic. His reading speed started at about 90 words per minute and presently is spiking up to about
360 words per minute (460 words per minute for my daughter.) We have decided to continue the program for a few more months by doing a simple reading exercise that takes about 12 minutes a day. As long as my son continues this, his brain will continue to reap the benefits and his reading speed continue to increase. Eventually, I plan to do the program for myself. (Who wouldn’t benefit from faster brain processing?) I unreservedly recommend this program to anyone who understands the gut-wrenching heartache of seeing one’s child struggle with school. It has made such a difference in our lives.
From the time our daughter Gina first started school, we watched her wilt. Normally vivacious, cheerful, and full of life, she became withdrawn, timid, and unsure of herself. She started talking and acting like a baby. By the middle of first grade, she no longer enjoyed school. Other kids were teasing her because her handwriting wasn’t very good and she couldn’t spell very well. We knew that we needed to do something soon before she lost all self-confidence. We had already tried everything we knew to help her and it just wasn’t working. We felt helpless and very frustrated. When we learned about the Sharper Minds Program, it sounded like just what we needed. For the first time in many months, we felt hope!
Editorial Note: The above photo shows Gina with her "reward puppy" for completing the Sharper Minds program.
I just wanted anyone who has a child or children who might be struggling in school to know that Sharper Mind Centers has helped my 12-year old son, who was diagnosed with ADD and Dyslexia, become a better reader.
Math is so much easier for him to grasp now. He gets so excited when he does a problem for me and it doesn't take nearly the time it used to. He does better in all his school work; he just gets it so much quicker, thanks to the Sharper Minds and Mr. Meelhuysen [our trainer] who was there for me and my son. Mr. Meelhuysen had such a heart to see my child become successful and through this program my son has.
I know it's worth the money because my investment in my child returns to me every time I see that smile come across his face saying to me, “I did it, Mom.” You can't put a price on that.Thank you, Ed for all your hard work that you put into helping my child through the Sharper Mind Centers program. My son thanks you, and so do I.
I hope you don’t mind the updates. I’m just so pleased with everything that I want to share with you our good fortune. ... I cannot even begin to tell you how amazed I am with the memorization that they were able to do. ... This 6-8 weeks with this exercise has definitely been the favorite and less fuss. My jaw would drop with their effort and hard work.
I can honestly say I have a new son. His confidence has increased two fold. HE can see the difference and that is making the biggest difference of all. What progress!
Donna Russell (Dallas)
[and later with an accompanying photograph]
We were doing our reading exercise. We finished at a good part of the story. Charles CHOSE to go to the couch to finish the chapter on his own so he could read the rest of the good part. He ended up finishing the chapter! Can you believe it?!
Editorial Note: Charles at 8 years old could not read at all when he began the program, even though his mother was a teacher and had put in a lot of work with him. And the final letter she sent:
cannot express my gratitude and support for Sharper Mind Centers.
years ago we had a frustrated, angry, non-reader at 7 years old. I was certainly
concerned about the future and what it would hold for Charles. One and half
years later we have a happy, confident, improved reader.
hums now. This may sound odd, but when he was a toddler, he LOVED to hum. He
would hum in the car, while taking a bath, to go to sleep and everywhere in his
life. At about 5 years old it stopped. When he started school and saw kids were
able to do things he could not, the humming stopped. Well, as I write this, he's
at the stove cooking some lunch and guess what? He's humming while stirring his
noodles. How great is that!
Minds is challenging for both parent and child. I'll admit many days I did not
want to wake up to take the battle that lay before us, but we did. We did it
every day no matter what, faithfully and I'm glad we did.
It takes discipline, consistency, endurance, grace, love and forgiveness.
We have a new son and I'm confident the teenage years will be easier. Not
perfect, but easier since the anger issue has resolved itself in the elementary
you, Ed for your commitment to us as a family. Sometimes I would look forward to
our phone calls and sometimes not. Sometimes we had a GREAT two weeks and
sometimes complete failures of a two-week time period. You were there to support
us and encourage us along the way.
this is what it takes NOW to help him LATER, then it was worth going the extra
mile. I'm encouraged and ready for him to continue to show results from the
program. I know his brain will continue to develop and grow over the course of
the next 10 years. I am intrigued by the future and what it holds.
to you Ed and the other people who find this program.
let me know how I can help or encourage other families through this.
OH MY GOODNESS!!! I could not be prouder of Jonathan if he were my own child! I just graded his final exam for Science! He made an 85!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He only missed 15 questions out of 100. WOW WOW WOW WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am soooooooo proud!
Just thought you would want to know! Also Jonathan’s 6 week average is a 70. This exam grade is really going to help his semester average!!!!!
Editorial Note: This message came by e-mail from a teacher to a family that had enrolled in the full long distance program. The boy was basically failing in his classes prior to joining the Sharper Minds program. His teacher was astounded at the rapid positive changes that took place in him.
Johnny and his parents have had an awesome experience with Sharper Minds. He has been dedicated and made amazing progress with schoolwork and behavior. His self-esteem has come a long way in a short period. He is also experiencing a much better relationship with his parents, cousins and grandparents and making new friends.
Rick & Heather Davison (Oregon)
When Austin was 7 years old, he was diagnosed with A.D.H.D. We placed him on Dexedrine, but we weren't very comfortable medicating him. We noticed that Austin was different. He wasn't our same little boy. Not the Austin that we knew. . . . Since going to Sharper Minds, he is much happier. He has shown great improvement in his schoolwork. And his attitude and self-esteem is high.
After just the first 3 months of the Sharper Minds program, we found that Austin had:
It's just been really wonderful to see the improvement that our son has gone through since going to Sharper Minds.
Dale French (Washington)
This past week, Spencer was challenged at school to learn as many digits of PI as he could. The student who learned the most would win a t-shirt with PI on it. He recited 67 digits and won! He competed with 1st-6th grade students. He practiced while using [some of the Sharper Minds] exercises. He learned these in 3 days. To add to the progress we are seeing, he and his dad were outside last week throwing a baseball. In the past, he has not been interested the least to toss or catch any type of ball. Now he is asking everyday to play catch! Amazing!
Please share this with anyone who would be interested in our story.
We see substantial improvement in behavior - obstinacy and defiance is almost entirely gone. My child is better at writing, balance, and has better hand-eye coordination. L.M.S.
Before the evaluation and diagnosis at the Sharper Mind Centers, my son and I would battle constantly over getting dressed for school (3rd grade/4th grade), and keeping his backpack, desk and homework organized. I was at my wit's end and finally a fourth grade teacher suggested we have the school psychologist test him (a highly recommended school psychologist). They did a series of tests and immediately decided my son Ryan had a mild form of ADD and should be put on medication. I sought a second opinion at Sharper Mind Centers.
After 10 weeks in the program, I noticed that my son Ryan was able to make better decisions with his behavioral choices. When he did the program and work correctly, he was able to maintain A's in spelling. His tracking and reading have improved tremendously. The program has helped us personally and professionally. I feel it is a program that could benefit our education program in the U.S.
The trainers have been more than helpful and have gone above and beyond the call of duty.
P.S. Ryan received a "Citizenship Award" - Best Behavior at the end of 5th grade.
In the beginning I thought it was not helping, but now that I'm done, I think that it has helped a lot. I mean, I used to get C's in spelling and now I get A's. Plus now I can follow directions way better than I could before I finished the program.
Ryan Trapp (10 years old)
Editorial Note: Ryan and his mom Kathleen had to work against the constant negative influence of his dad (his parents are divorced) who did his best to derail Ryan's progress in the program. In spite of this stressor, Ryan progress was remarkable.
Our son has come a long way since we started the program. It has been work, but we are very happy with his outcome. I think he is starting to see the difference and it is helping with his confidence and outlook on how he sees himself. He never would draw before we started the program and now he is getting very creative.
I have seen a noticeable improvement in my son after starting the program. The program is helping link his brain and body together.
Editorial Note: The Pauliny's boy was significantly developmentally delayed. Lacking proper left-right brain integration, he had drawn very little growing up. As he went through the program, his right brain (the creative side) became more connected and developed and he has found a love for drawing. He progressed remarkably well and is able to carry on a decent conversation now.
This is the start of our 12th week in the program. I was pretty much hopeless with Marcus' ability to process in a school setting. He scored 10% on two IOWA tests given in the 6th grade. Both times he was in the 10th percentile. The last year and half, he's been home taught trying to help with basic reading skills. After 8 weeks in the [Sharper Minds] program, he took the Iowa Test again (August 13, 2002). He needed a certain score to be able to play basketball in school. His score was at the 23 percentile, a huge gain! Two weeks later, we found out 23 was the exact score necessary for his eligibility. There's no way he could have improved that much without this course. We have great hopes for the future and hope for similar gains next summer on the Iowa Tests.
The trainer has been very good working with Marcus. He understands how important basketball has been to us. It would have been much harder working with someone without a sports background.
I am thrilled and my son already is becoming a better speller and doing better in his home schooling and basketball.
Before, I was very frustrated. But I am doing better since I started the
program about 6 months ago. I am doing better with doing more than one thing at
a time. And, also my throwing and catching [has improved]. Yes, I really like
the staff, they are great, they are really nice, good and helpful.
We came to Sharper Minds hoping the program would allow our adopted children to be free from medication for ADHD, and help with some learning difficulties. All 3 children [foster kids that were later adopted] were fetal alcohol affected and came from severely abusive homes. Behaviors included the usual inattentiveness, but also included developmentally delayed social behaviors, extreme temper tantrums (lasting a couple hours), cutting on things, stabbing people with forks and pencils, defiance, and general aggressiveness towards others. The schools encountered speech, reading, and math difficulties, giving them IEP's for these and behavioral issues. However, the teachers and counselors were unable to solve the problems. Though in a much more stable environment, life for these kids was still filled with a lot of anger, frustration, and self-defeating behaviors. We needed something more to get them off medication and give them a better start in life.
We have been doing Sharper Minds for 4½ months and are seeing results without medication. One child hated reading, being 3 - 4 years behind his grade level. He now states that he enjoys reading, and will ask to do that rather than some of his other chores. He is starting to stay on task and follow directions better. Though most people like him, he wouldn't put himself out to make friends, inviting them over or asking to visit them. He now has 2 friends that he asks to visit and likes to play with.
The girls have really started to blossom. Schoolwork is done in a timely fashion, with very few reminders to quit talking. Math has become much easier and is no longer the hated subject. Behaviorally, they have calmed down. Other people who have known the kids, including one child's best friend, have commented that they are easier to talk to and be around. At home, I am starting to feel safe enough to allow them to solve their own disagreements without interference. Imposed consequences for inappropriate behaviors have reduced. We're starting to feel like a family rather than a bunch of angry individuals who are stuck together.
. . . Our therapist is very supportive, with suggestions on ways to break tasks down or do differently to make it less stressful. He is always available by phone to help solve problems. The kids like him a lot.
The administrative staff has also been very good to us. At the beginning of the program, we had family and financial difficulties. Ed was very patient and worked with me to keep everything on track. Sharper Minds is well worth what we paid for it.
Editorial Note: The Phillips family progressed so far in the program that they have made the commitment to bicycle together as a family across the USA! This is no small feat as the kids were only 8, 10, 10, 12 at the time. They practiced bicycling 10-20 miles a day, rain or shine. And they succeeded taking about 1 1/2 months to do the journey from the Oregon Coast to Florida! Marianne also sent us a delightful Christmas Card thanking us for doing what it took to get the Sharper Minds program up and running. Her case worker, who was initially skeptical, is now very impressed with the progress the kids have made. All are off of medications with no indication that they would need to go back on.
Before starting the Sharper Minds Program, our son was doing very poorly in school. He was making bad choices in life and had an “I don’t care” attitude. We were on an emotional roller coaster. We were angry, frustrated, disappointed, and definitely stressed. Some experts told us that our son needed to be tested for ADD/ADHD. We didn’t feel comfortable medicating him. When we turned to the Sharper Minds Program, we felt a glimmer of hope.
Our son has been in the program 5 months, and we are seeing
a big difference. He is able to
grasp information faster and his focus has improved considerably.
His grades are going up. A
positive change in his attitude and communication with us is beginning to take
place. Even his athletic skills have improved. All of your staff have been helpful in getting us started in
the program. Steve has been a real
encouragement to our son.
Editorial Note: Carol's 15-year old son, while a pitcher for his baseball team, always had the typical pitcher's poor batting average. After just a few months in the program, he became one of the best batters on his team and ended up helping his team win the state championship and go to the regional playoffs. Since the beginning of the 2002/2003 school year, his grades have been consistently in the A/B range with an occasional C+. Before he started the program, his parents received calls from the school nearly daily complaining of his behavior - This school year, the few calls they have gotten have been positive ones reporting the excellent progress he is making.
I met with Carol and Nick about 9 months into the program. They shared the comparisons between Nick and his cousin who had similar issues. The cousin's parents had elected to put her on Ritalin. They stated that she was still doing poorly in school and was a "basket case!" What a difference dealing with the root cause makes.
Update on Athletic improvements: Sharper Minds and its predecessors have had at least 4 students who improved so dramatically that they played a significant role in helping their teams win their state championship in their class and division (usually basketball or baseball). As sports is often mental, as the brain processes much faster and hand-eye coordination and peripheral vision improves, athletic capabilities can often take a huge stride forward.
Adult examples (ages listed are those at the time the person started the program)
In a 2001 my family and I were involved in a rollover car accident. We sustained some head injuries. I was no longer able to balance a checkbook or write checks for business. I struggled with playing the piano and organ. The doctor told me that whatever improvements I might expect would occur within the first year after the accident. I felt very discouraged after a year feeling like there was no hope. The Sharper Minds program gave me hope for both myself and my adult sons. After a year in the program, I feel like my brain is no longer foggy. I’ve been able to begin entering check information and balance our business checkbooks. I’ve begun playing the organ again and can do well with songs with multiple flats and sharps. Overall, I’ve been very satisfied with the Sharper Minds program, as the results have far exceeded my expectations.
Anita Dugan (60 years old)
When I first entered the program I was struggling a lot. I had trouble with reading comprehension. I struggled with hearing instructions and understanding what a person was saying to me. Now I understand a lot better and I'm able to sort things and information at a much higher rate.
Stephen Dugan (38 years old)
I noticed some substantial improvements after going through the Sharper Minds program. Most of all was my reading speed. I also noticed a big improvement in my self confidence. I now know that I can do most anything I put my mind to. Wendy (my trainer) taught me that your mind believes what you tell it to believe. If you tell your mind “I can’t do something,” your mind believes you. If you tell your mind “I can do something,” your mind believes that as well.
Lance (46 years old)
Editorial Note: Lance was promoted to be the Quality Control Manager / Safety Administrator at the company he works for after completing the program
My name is Lynette. My reasons for enrolling in the Sharper Minds Program were probably somewhat unusual. I signed up when I was 59 years old hoping to deter severe dementia as I age, since it is prevalent in my family. …I live in Utah, so I signed up for the Home Training System. I sincerely appreciate the guidance Ed Meelhuysen [my trainer] gave me in the form of phone visits, technical support via email, etc. He is very knowledgeable, encouraging, understanding, and patient.
Ed says you should only look back to see how far you've come.
These are some things I've noticed as I look back after completing the
Coordination and Balance -
Several times in the past few months, I have amazed both
myself and others by snatching things that I've dropped in mid-air before they
land. One day as I was
exiting a store, the wind blew my receipt out of my hand. I reached out and grabbed it as a stranger coming in the door.
They said, "Wow! What a catch!" I
did not have reflexes like that before starting the program.
An interesting side benefit was that both during and after a
recent cruise, I did not experience any rocking motion on land as I have
with other cruises. I
attribute this to improved balance because of the Sharper Minds Exercises.
(My husband kept "rocking" for two days after we got home.)
Memory - I have learned a terrific method for putting things into my brain so they will be there later and I can remember them if I consciously make the effort. …I have also greatly increased my vocabulary and spelling capabilities.
A couple of weeks ago, I was driving in rush-hour traffic and
listening to my radio. All of a
sudden, I heard birds singing in the middle of John Denver's recording of Sunshine
On My Shoulders and thought "I've never noticed birds in that song
before". I saw several birds
in the trees along the street, but was pretty sure the birds were actually
singing in the recording instead. Just
to be sure, I went and bought a John Denver CD--guess what?!
No birds! There is no way
I would have ever heard birds singing above noise of traffic and a radio playing
a few months ago!
As I began my handwriting exercises, my left hand literally
shook so bad that I had trouble putting the pencil on the starting point. …My
right hand also trembled, though not as much.
It is amazing to look back at my worksheets and see the improvement!
…The shaking has essentially disappeared.
Self Discipline -
One of the most important things I've learned is the quality
of tenacity. At the time I signed
up, Ed told me the program required a lot of self-discipline.
I determined then that I would never skip an exercise for any reason, but
would make it up if things got really crazy one day and I simply couldn't do it
all. I always did a little more and
worked a little longer than what I was "required" to do.
It wasn't always easy, fun, or convenient, but it has really paid off!
Since my goal was not to correct a problem, but to prevent
one, I will have to wait a few years to see the total results.
I do know that I have grown and done things I would never have thought
possible a year ago. If you're serious about improving your mind, no matter what
your age or circumstances, I would highly recommend the Sharper Minds Program.
Lynette Gittins (59 years old)
Editorial Note: The adjacent graph shows Lynette's reading improvements. She went from about 225 wpm outloud to 500 wpm silently. These are not unusual improvements and do not include the improvements that were made from the beginning of the program until the time she began doing the reading exercises, which is typically a 30-50% jump.
We have many more examples of how the Sharper Minds program has helped with head trauma, autism, seizures, for athletics and more. Read more in this document: How the Sharper Mind’s Program Has Positively Affected Lives.
What might you or your child's story sound like? Why not begin
that story of transformation today? Once you have finished going
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