Posts Tagged ‘Strategies’

It’s Playtime!!

Friday, September 16th, 2016 by admin

TAG!  You’re it!!!  What looks like a simple game for children is boosting your child’s cognitive and social development in so many ways!  Studies have shown that children who are given more time to play and exercise have better brain health and cognitive skills.



Exercise in general helps to boost brain health in the following ways:

1.  Regular aerobic exercise appears to boost the size of the hippocampus which is involved in verbal memory and learning according to a study done at the University of British Columbia.

2.  Exercise reduces insulin resistance, inflammation, and stimulates the release of growth factors.  Together, these results affect growth of new blood vessels in the brain, and even the creation and survival of new neurons (brain cells)!

3.  Individuals who exercise experience improved sleep and mood, and reduced stress.  Sleep deprivation and stress are key contributors to cognitive issues.

Children who are given time for unstructured, child-driven play see a variety of benefits.  Unstructured play gives children a chance to make sense of the world around them through pretend play and games both by themselves or with their peers.  Playing with other children also helps kids learn valuable lessons in sharing, team work, and problem solving.  What seems like “child’s play” is really laying the foundation for our children to be able to cope with unexpected situations that arise in our everyday lives!


So let’s make a promise!  Repeat after me:

1.  I will not schedule every minute of my children’s day.

2.  I will give my children space to solve their own problems and resolve their own conflicts.

3.  I will play with my children, especially when asked, whenever possible.  When given the choice between watching cat videos, and actually pretending to be a cat with my child, I will choose the latter!

You are all amazing parents out there!  Let’s encourage the best in our kids and in each other!



Harvard Health Blog:  Regular exercise changes the brain to improve memory, thinking skills

PediatricsJanuary 2007, VOLUME 119 / ISSUE 1:  The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds, Kenneth R. Ginsburg

Here’s why we need to provide much needed support for children living in poverty!

Thursday, September 15th, 2016 by admin

Imagine living on a street filled with gangs and crime, going to school where teachers have no expectations of your potential, and then coming home to arguing, overworked parents. Unfortunately, that is reality for many children in America. Children living in poverty often have to deal with violence and malnutrition, and these factors contribute to physical changes in the brain regions involved with memory, decision making, impulse control, and judgement.

Why does this happen? Our body’s stress-response system has a direct connection to our brain development. Living in neighborhoods filled with violence and trauma causes the stress hormones, cortisol and epinephrine to be constantly released. These children’s brains are constantly in a state of flight-or-flight! Chronic stress impedes brain development and leaves the brain constantly disorganized.

The GOOD NEWS is there is a way to counter these negative effects!
1.  A strong support system at home and school gives children a sense of security. A child who comes home to loving, supportive parents can learn coping mechanisms and does not have to be in a constant state of stress.

2.  Schools can provide classes in social skills, empathy, and stress-relieving methods

3.  Cognitive behavioral therapy such as Brainjogging, can help to reduce the achievement gap in poorer communities.  Don’t underestimate the plasticity of the human brain.  When the right areas of the brain are targeted, new neural connections can be created!  Now you have a child who can learn and succeed!



Newsweek August 2016, “Growing up poor is so stressful, it can affect brain development” Erika Hayasaki

Planes, Trains, and Autism!

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016 by admin

Traveling with children is stressful!  Traveling with a child on the autism spectrum can be terrifying!  However, with a little planning and preparation, you can have that family trip you have been too scared to plan!


1. If your child gets overwhelmed by crowds, noises, and lights, DON’T have your first trip be to a big theme park! Maybe try an island vacation, or a local beach or even just a nearby city with kid-friendly activities.

2. Start reading about where you are going. If you decide to visit San Diego, get a map and some guidebooks and start planning all the places you will visit. Plan on visiting one tourist site each day and one park or playground where you don’t have to be so structured. Plan your meals too! Children in general like to know what to expect, and children with autism feel a lot more in control and calm when they know where they are going and what is expected of them.

3. Start talking about rules and routines. The airport can be a very overwhelming place even for adults! Draw a picture of the layout of your nearest airport and go through what will be expected from your child at each point. What happens when we check in our bags? What happens when we go through airport security? What do we do when we are waiting at the gate? If you map these routines out for your child, he will know what to expect and will be less likely to have a meltdown! One mom referred to the security check as the “Magic Gate”. Her son knew that when he passed the “magic gate” he would be allowed on the plane!

4. If your child has any allergies or food sensitivities, be sure to take his food along. No amount of planning can stop a hungry and tired child from having a meltdown! Be prepared and be happy!

5. When your child is using his best behavior, PRAISE, PRAISE, and PRAISE him some more! WOW! You were so sweet to wait patiently while mommy checked in our bags! Praising reinforces the good behavior and you are more likely to see that good behavior again!

6. Try to keep a schedule on your vacation that is similar to your routine at home. If you do any at home therapies or your child has any favorite toys. Be sure to bring them a long within reason. Your child will appreciate the familiar activities and toys when he is away from home.

7. Pick your battles! You want your child to listen and follow directions. But parents need to realize that what they think makes perfect sense, doesn’t always make sense to our little ones. Especially when your little one has processing issues, you might have to explain your point another way, or even let it go, if your child is getting visibly upset.

8. Have fun!! If you are on vacation, and you are not having fun, something is wrong! Family vacations are for relaxing with your loved ones. Plan your day and prepare your child, but also be flexible if things don’t go exactly the way you planned. Each vacation will be better than the last! Bon voyage!

Dental Wise for Mental Strides

Monday, December 2nd, 2013 by admin

Reminders from dentists are beneficial this time of year when candy canes and sweet treats surround us, but you might be surprised to learn that soda pop is the single biggest source of calories in the American diet. Kids drink it often – some drink it several times a day. A study conducted at the Harvard School of Public Health found that soft drinks may be responsible for the doubling of obesity in children over the last 15 years! This is not only a body issue but a brain one!

The carbonation and caffeine in soda pop can cause tooth decay, acid reflux, and can disrupt sleep cycles in children. What do we know about the importance of sleep and brain health? Sleep is vital to good brain health! Painful teeth and acid reflux can create problems with attention in school. If a child is distracted by pain, he is less likely to be attending to academics or social experiences.

Soda pop is not just bad for teeth; it has overarching outcomes that ultimately affect how the brain works throughout the day. The best approach is to cut down or avoid carbonated drinks altogether. Schools are starting to remove the soft drink vending machines in hallways and cafeterias. You can choose to stop bringing these drinks into your home. Think about healthier alternatives, like cider, natural juices, milk or good old fashion water!

A small change, like drinking more water can help children feel better, look better, sleep better, and perform better. Brainjogging 5-7 minutes, twice daily, also improves a child’s brain! Why wait!? Here’s to a healthier family! Contact Camp Academia at!

Stuttering in Children

Monday, October 28th, 2013 by admin

Results of this study out of University of Alberta could increase understanding of the brain and speech production, ultimately improving treatment for stuttering.

This new study has shown that children who stutter have less grey matter in key regions of the brain – the regions responsible for speech production – than children who do not stutter. These findings affirm the importance of seeking treatment early.

Dr. Deryk Beal scanned the brains of children between 5 and 12 years of age (half the children being stutterers). The inferior frontal gyrus region of the brain develops abnormally in children who stutter. This part of the brain is thought to control articulatory coding – taking information our brain understands about language and sounds and coding it into speech movements.

Stuttering is a speech-motor-control problem. Beal sees results as a first step toward testing to determine how grey matter volumes are influenced by stuttering treatment and understanding motor-sequence learning differences between children who stutter and those who do not.

Isn’t it great to know, Camp Academia has the solution?! Brainjogging works! This is one form of cognitive therapy for children who stutter, because it works on speech motor control each and every time a child Brainjogs!

Brainjogging has had great effects for children who stutter – their stuttering reduces remarkably! If you have a child who stutters, contact Camp Academia today!


Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013 by admin

This past week, researchers at the University of Rochester released study results indicating that while the brain sleeps, it clears out harmful toxins. This study was conducted in mice; however, the implications are that this cleansing process may actually reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s in adults.

The flow of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain increases quite dramatically during sleep. This increase in flow helps wash away the waste proteins that build up between brain cells. Scientists discovered that when mice went to sleep, their brain cells shrank, making it easier for fluid to circulate. Upon waking, the brain cells enlarged again and the flow between cells slowed to a trickle. Dr. Nedergaard, an author of the study, said it was like opening and closing a faucet; that the differences between sleep and wake were that dramatic.

This process during slumber is important, because the waste proteins getting washed away are toxic to brain cells. It could explain why prolonged lack of sleep can cause problems with brain functioning, like attention and memory. This process also takes a lot of energy, which is why it happens most efficiently while we sleep.

Even though this brain-cleaning process has only been observed in rats and baboons, it could offer a new way to understand human brain diseases like Alzheimer’s. One of the waste products removed during sleep is beta amyloid, the substance that forms sticky plaques associated with Alzheimer’s.

These findings are yet another reminder that good sleep is important and vital to our health. In addition, Brainjogging can also play a role in better brain health. Children are not the only clients to benefit from Brainjogging! Older adults, who have been experiencing memory loss and foggy attention, come to Camp Academia for help. Instead of spelling words and mathematical formulas, individualized Brainjogging word lists include family names, addresses, favorite poems, literary passages and hobby-related vocabulary. It still takes just 5-7 minutes twice daily to make a noticeable difference in more reliable brain functioning!


Monday, September 30th, 2013 by admin

Children with learning disabilities can also have gifted brains. This can be confusing for parents and teachers working with the child who performs brilliantly in one area of study while failing miserably in another. There is reason for hope, however, when it comes to learning for these twice-exceptional children!

We know that young brains are more receptive to learning. There are many new connections being made between neurons to store patterns and information collected from the environment. By adolescence, this sensitive period in the brain comes to an end, when learning new things becomes harder.

Angela Brandt, Penn State University, and John Hewitt at the University of Colorado studied children over time and noticed that those with higher IQs had an extended period in adolescence where they continued to learn things at a rapid pace, just like younger children. This sensitive period of absorbing information from the environment seemed to end earlier in individuals with lower IQs.

Many children with invisible disabilities have above average IQs. As parents, it is vital to keep that in mind; school can be frustrating for some, but learning new things is both important and neurologically desirable! Those brains are open to new learning and opportunities, so avoid the mistake of reducing the number of fresh experiences for your intelligent adolescent! Encourage your child to continue to learn a new language, an instrument or some new challenge during this time!

Unlocking “I Don’t Know”

Thursday, September 26th, 2013 by admin

Language Learning Disabilities (LLD) account for the largest percentage of diagnosed learning disabilities. This type of LD causes children to struggle with language, especially in conversation – the way they engage in it as well as process it. Parents can help by teaching their children the art of communicating.

Parents are naturally curious about the school day – “What did you learn at school?” “Who did you play with at recess?” “Did you have a good day?” Ask a quick question requiring a one-word answer, and that is what you’ll get. After a long day at school, a child with a language learning disability may be too mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted to answer a barrage of questions; it’s too much.

Allow for some “down time” after the school day. Encourage your child to run around outside, shoot baskets, ride a bike, or climb a tree. After a healthy snack and some physical exercise, think about switching up your questions! The National Center for Learning Disabilities suggests some of the following questions to help your child engage in a conversation about school:

• What was the best thing you did at school today?
• Tell me the names of four kids who sat closest to you at lunch
• Was there anything you wish you had at school that you didn’t have today?
• What were most kids doing at recess?
• Who has a locker near yours?
• What was the funniest thing someone said at lunch?

These questions help parents inquire about the times during which their children may experience negative social interactions (lunch, recess, and in between classes). Their answers will help provide an inside look at what they are experiencing during social snippets. Practicing this type of communication and question-answer sessions will strengthen your child’s ability to reproduce that back and forth in a more natural way during the school day. Soon the shoulder shrugs and “I don’t knows” will be a thing of the past!

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!