Posts Tagged ‘Creative Thinking’

A Milestone in Language Processing!

Thursday, February 4th, 2016 by admin

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Yesterday one of our students made a clear transition from Autism to Language Processing! You’re probably wondering how this could happen!? Well, in autism, individuals have little to no comprehension and do not really understand riddles, puns, or jokes. This student was taught the joke:

Why was six afraid of seven?

Answer: Because seven ate (8) nine!

When he first heard the joke, he took it literally. “I know 7, 8, 9!” But when asked, “Can seven EAT nine? “, he started to laugh!!! And now he tells everyone his new joke!

Riddles are a wonderful method for teaching this transition! Find your old joke books or search online for children’s riddles and jokes to enhance your child’s cognitive skills!

Let the Kids Play!

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013 by admin

(Your child’s success may depend on it!)

In 1955, Mattel was the first company to advertise a toy before the Christmas holiday season. Overnight, children’s play became focused on THINGS instead of activities, more specifically, their own, imaginative play. In the second part of the 20th century, there was more concern about safely, so parents moved toward safe play environments, like adult-moderated classes providing their children with enriched lives and improved self-esteem. These changes in how children play have led to changes in their cognitive and emotional development.

Psychological Researchers, back in 1940’s, conducted a series of tests on children, ages 3, 5 and 7. Standing still was one of these activities. The 3-year-olds could not do it at all; 5-year-olds for about 3 minutes; and the 7-year-olds could stand still as long as the scientists asked them to. In 2001, Dr. Elena Bodrova at Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning repeated the experiment and the results were drastically different.

The 5-year-olds were acting at the level of 3-year-olds sixty years ago; 7 year olds were barely approaching the level of the 5-year-olds. The children were less likely to have self-regulation skills. This is the ability to control emotions and behavior – It’s a key component of a broader set of skills called Executive Function. Kids with good self-regulation are not impulsive; they have self-control and discipline. Good self-regulation is a better predictor of success in school than a child’s IQ.

Self-Regulation predicts effective development in virtually every domain, says researcher Laura Berk, from Illinois State University. She found that make-believe is a powerful tool for building self-regulation. While in imaginative play, children engage in private speech. They use this speech to say what they are going to do and how they are going to do it – laying out the rules of play for themselves.

Private speech has been found to be predictive of Executive Function. Adults engage in private speech as well; we use it to surmount obstacles, master cognitive and social skills, and to manage our emotions. The more structured the play, the more children’s private speech declines. Kids are not getting the chance to police themselves. When they have the opportunity, the results are clear: self regulation improves.

Yale psychological researcher Dorothy Singer found that teachers and administrators are starting earlier and earlier in basic fundamentals. Because of all the testing, kids are working on educational skills and drills, and playtime is being squeezed out. In the rush to give children every advantage — to protect them, to stimulate them, to enrich them — our culture has accidentally compromised one of the activities that helped children most. Make sure your child gets time to work his imagination in his own creative way!

The Science of Smarter Thinking!

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013 by admin

Dr. Sandra Bond Chapman, founder and leader of the Center for BrainHealth at UT Dallas, studies ways to get the most out of our brains – this applies to your children, too! She describes ways to increase the blood flow to our brain’s command center, the Frontal Lobe, which acts as the CEO of our brain. Check out these interesting strategies for improving function of your child’s BRAIN POWER:

1. Brain Power of ONE – Be Single-Minded! Think of one thing – focus on ONE THING – no distractions – for a designated period of time. Play “I Spy” with your child – focusing on that one thing, asking yes/no questions to determine the specific object. Is it bigger than a loaf of bread? Do we use it every day? Am I able to pick it up?

2. Brain Power of TWO – Determine the TWO most important things that will make the most difference to your day! Spend your time doing those! “When you’re hunting elephants, don’t get distracted chasing rabbits!” Work with your child to make a TO DO list; help him determine what is most important. Once you have determined that together, your child can break down the task into smaller parts. Provide positive feedback or a small reward for accomplishing those two items on the list.

3. Brain Power of DEEP – This is the most transformative, because it requires the MOST EFFORT. It means taking in information from all sources, and blending it with the knowledge that’s already in there – and synthesize! Work with your child as he learns new information at school. Ask, “What do you ALREADY know about this topic? What do you need to find out?” This will help draw on prior knowledge and build bridges to the next block of knowledge.

4. Brain Power of LESS – Reduce the amount of information. Big data freezes our brain. Teach your child how to do a “Brain Dump” – get all unnecessary items onto paper, into a phone, or saved on a computer document – what is taking up brain space that can be cleared before studying or homework time.

5. Brain Power of INNOVATIVE THINKING – Our brain is wired to be inspired! It dislikes the status quo or automatic pilot. Think outside the box! Make available creative materials for your child as he works on his homework. A standing table, a white board, big chart paper, markers, and crayons will help provide OPTIONS for creative ways to think about his work.

And finally, EAT & SLEEP & MOVE YOUR FEET!
If you do these POWERFUL strategies, you will have a stronger, smarter, snazzier brain!