Is Brain Training the Breakthrough Your Kid Needs? // Sandy Zamalis

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SUMMARY

Join us for an insightful episode of the Christy-Faith Show as we explore the fascinating world of cognitive training with our special guest, Sandy Zamalis. Sandy brings her expertise from LearningRx to the forefront as we discuss the transformative effects of cognitive enhancement on academic success and personal development. 

In this engaging conversation, Sandy shares her wealth of knowledge on the science behind cognitive training and its impact on improving memory, attention, processing speed, and reasoning skills. We delve into practical strategies and brain-based techniques that can empower individuals of all ages to unlock their cognitive potential and achieve their goals. 

TAKE-AWAYS

  • Learning struggles can cause anxiety, stress, and trauma in children, even in a supportive homeschooling environment.
  • Cognitive skills, such as attention, working memory, processing speed, logic and reasoning, long-term memory, auditory processing, and visual processing, play a crucial role in a child’s learning ability.
  • Addressing weak cognitive skills can help children overcome learning challenges and improve their academic performance.
  • Homeschooling provides the advantage of personalized learning, but it’s important to identify and address skill deficits to ensure future success.
  • Cognitive skills are essential for learning and understanding complex subjects like math, statistics, and geometry.
  • Cognitive testing can help identify skill deficits and guide the development of individualized intervention programs.
  • Formal diagnoses and accommodations may not be necessary for homeschooling families, but understanding a child’s learning challenges and targeting specific skills is crucial.
  • Cognitive training requires intensity and repetition to build and strengthen skills.
  • Learning struggles can cause chronic stress and trauma, and early intervention is key to helping students overcome these challenges.
  • Creating a safe and supportive learning environment is vital for students with learning challenges.

ABOUT TODAY’S GUEST

Learn more about Sandy and Learning Rx here…

Free Resources…

TRANSCRIPT

Learning struggles are very traumatic in the brain if you have a really awesome homeschooling environment that doesn't mean that your child's perception of their learning challenges is not causing them anxiety causing them chronic stress and causing them trauma welcome to the Christy Faith show where we share game-changing ideas with intentional parents like you I'm your host Christy Faith experienced educational adviser and homeschool Enthusiast together we'll explore ways to enrich and trans form both your life and the lives of your children welcome to today's episode of the Christy Faith show where we bring you gamechanging ideas to enhance your homeschools and your kids' childhoods I am so happy to have Sandy Zales here today she is a certified cognitive specialist and executive director and owner of two learning RX franchises one in Stanton and one in Harrisburg Virginia she is a former homeschooling mom of too she homeschooled for 10 years yay homeschooling but she's currently an empty nester which is exciting because she has the time to pour into us today thank you so much for being here and her passion is helping kids and adults unlock learning success and confidence by strengthening weak underlying cognitive skills now Sandy I got to tell you I have been stalking you I think since you very first came on Tik Tok and I thought one day I am going to have a podcast and one day I am going to invite this lady on my podcast because I don't know if you and maybe you are aware of this and maybe this is why you went into the field that you're in I can't wait to hear your story but I feel like for The Homeschool culture there aren't a lot of well-known resources to go to to get the help that we need whether it is if our kid needs to see a reading Specialist or any type of therapies they're a little bit harder to find because they're not offered through our school system through our IEPs and things like that so we have to put in a little bit more elbow grease to get our kids the help they need and if anybody knows me it said I have read thousands of IEPs and in those IEPs when I would read them I would always see recommendations for kids to get some cognitive training so I wanted to bring this idea and this concept to my audience I'm so happy that Sandy is here to unpack what this is and maybe you maybe this episode was for you and you're like wait a minute this is what my kid needs or maybe this is what I need so I am so happy to have you here today Sandy would you please share a little bit about yourself I'm sure I missed a lot your background why you got into what you did and go ahead oh thank you thanks for having me Christie I we were just talking before we hopped on that we stalk each other on Tik Tok so it's super fun to be part of your podcast so little bit of my backstory so we moved to Virginia we lived in Pennsylvania for about 15 years and we moved to Virginia about 2012 and at that time that was when my family decided it was time for my kids to go back to school I didn't graduate my kids from homeschooling but my son got 10 years my daughter got eight and in that time when they were going back to school we were all in transition they were figuring out this new place we lived going to public school for the first time time I was trying to figure out what the you know heck to do with myself what was going to be my next thing and I've always loved education so I thought well let me go back to school and get my Master's Degree and let's let me think about teaching I did all I've almost finished my master's degree in education but when it got to the point where you had to do the the practicum or the the semester the student teaching the amount of misery that I saw in the school just was not inspiring right it wasn't something I could see as my next chapter and sort of serendipitously I was in one of my classes I was learning how to teach kids how to read a class that during my master's program and someone behind me was telling me about this cool job they had they were talking about a center that's not too far from me and they were talking about all these cool things they were doing and how wonderful it was and I my ears just perked up and I was like what is that that's really interesting so I started asking more questions and she said hey well I think there's a center right near you and I said oh really and I just happened to Google it one day while I was in the parking lot of a YMCA and I literally found out it was like two minutes from where I was I drove into their parking lot and I introduced myself and I fell in love with learning RX cognitive training and everything that it had to offer the thing that really kind of caught my eye part that was just really sad for me when I was thinking about teaching was just the lack of one-on-one time that teachers have with their students a lot of the time when I was utilized in the classroom to help a teacher it was always just to help a student catch up to try to finish their their worksheet but you know you're given five minutes to help them catch up on a week's worth of homework and I was like no there's got to be a better way they're behind for a reason what's the reason they're behind mind playing catchup can't be the goal all the time there's some skills missing here so so when I came to the center when I came to learning RX that's what we do I would I got to see that firsthand I was super inspired by the founder of learning RX his name is Dr Ken Gibson he was a pediatric optometrist who had dyslexia and he wanted to develop a program that could help his kids dyslexia does have a high genetic component to it so he knew his kids were going to struggle and so he worked with many specialists speech and language Pathologists OTS Vision therapists cognitive psychologist to put together the program that we have today in fact the program actually started in doctor's offices if you've ever heard of pace p a what are you kidding me no that's us yeah learning our ex I was gonna ask you how do you guys compare to Pace I literally we are pace we're a big we're a bigger broader pace so pace is very specific and very geared towards what we call our think program which is our foundational program but learning or Rex has a a reading program that we've added on math program that we've added on a comprehend program that we've added on and including a study skills program that we've added on so yeah so it used to be Pace then it became learning orx and then globally we're actually brain RX so there are centers all over the world so I fell in love that's what happened that's my story I fell in love with brains and helping kids that's a large part part of my audience are homeschool families and some of us never put our kids in the system and we actually don't know what we're missing can you tell us what we're missing so but you mentioned the word you saw a lot of misery can you expand on that a little bit so the thing I tried to explain to parents cuz I actually help families with lots of backgrounds so the people that come to my Center I have homeschool families I have private school families I have public school families the thing I try to just explain is that in a classroom setting you have one teacher usually sometimes you have some AIDS and you've got anywhere from 20 to 30 kids in the classroom and they all have their own unique needs so ideally if a student has really strong cognitive skills they're able to keep up with the teaching really really well they can do the tasks they need to do they can perform the way they need to do but if there's any hiccup along the way then we've got to help those kids still be successful in the classroom so right now what we do and you're probably very familiar with this Christie is that we you know we develop 504 IEP plans to help those students if they go through a process where they have to be tested and kind of deemed to see if they're eligible for those Services the problem with that is is that for a lot of kids they can be in what what a school psychologist or or an IEP team might be deem an average level but functionally they might be really low in a certain level and so then what they develop as an IEP or 504 to help them accommodate for any of those really weak skills or compensate for those really weak skills what most parents don't understand is that their skills that can be strengthened and you can overcome those needs for those accommodations and compensation strategies we I think collectively for a long time thought the brain was kind of stuck you were born with the brain you got and you just need to have workarounds if there's any hiccups or missing pieces but that's not true and I think what we're seeing in the schools even today with the frustration the anxiety a lot of OD behaviors is coming from a skill deficit that's not being addressed the thing that most parents and this includes homeschooling parents and a lot of friends um that I have um still in The Homeschool Community will say this same thing when you have a skill deficit things like not being able to finish a curriculum or going at a really slow pace can hinder that child's ability to make progress in time right so the advantage of homeschooling is that you can do that kids in public school and priv school don't have that Advantage they're on a free train they've got to get through that material by the end of the year um the advantage of homeschooling is that you can take your time but that doesn't mean that the skill deficit isn't still there and needs to be addressed so that as the child gets older they're able to handle more and more complex tasks that are still going to challenge those skill areas I love that and I am a huge believer in giving our kids what they they need now and equally preparing them for a bright future and I do think that when we spot things with our kids learning or areas that we need to work on I agree with you so much simply compensating for those things and making adaptations isn't actually working towards them overcoming these particular challenges it's not necessarily building the resilience that we're looking for and ultimately it can hinder from set setting our kids up for a successful life now none of us none of our brains are perfect right we all could grow in certain areas but I you know simply the concept of working memory and how it's so hard sometimes I know I we had families at our Center that were stuck for years just on math facts their kids could not retain they could not retain could you tell me a little bit about what are cognitive skills and how they impact kids learning sure so I'm going to try I'm going to pull up a little chart just so I stay on track and get them all so I'm going to talk about the core seven okay there's a lot of subskills and a lot of things that fall under these core seven but I think if we talk about the core seven your listeners will get a good idea of of what we're going to talk about okay so the first one I want to talk about is attention most people think about that as Focus we actually look at that in our centers in three different ways we look at sustained attention how long can you focus on a task especially a really challenging one we talk about selective attention how well can you tune things out and tune into a task at hand so most people think of that as being distracted right whether it be thoughts movement or someone clicking their pen around you that selective attention is really important you need to be able to push sound out so that you can focus when you need man I'm feeling seen you're gonna be listing all my problems go ahead that's there one is divided attention and that's how well you slide in and out of your working memory it's really a switching skill it's being able to switch back and forth between different balls that you're juggling in in your mind okay so that's attention so we did a study not too long ago where we looked at kids that had diagnosed ADHD and we looked at their skills you know like I said we're National organizations so there's centers all over the US and so we have a lot of large pool students to look at and when we compiled that data what we saw is that kids who struggle with attention actually attention wasn't the weakest skill the weakest skills that were underneath that were processing speed working memory and long-term memory so if you just address attention which is really important I call it the gatekeeper because it you know you got to have attention in order for anything to come in if you just address attention you're not under you're not really hitting those underlying skills that are Maybe causing some of that lack of attention whether it be selective divided or sustained so that's attention that's the first big bubble the next one is working memory that's your short-term active memory that's the memory that you need when you are listening to Mom give instructions so if you're in your home school and you're talking to your kids and you're giving them the list of five things they need to accomplish for the day if you have a child that has weak working memory they might catch the first one they might catch the last one they're probably going to drop the middle cat none of them and you're like why are the dishes still here yeah so weak working memory can show up in that way but it Al also can show up in things like if a child is reading and they forget everything they just read and can't tell you anything about the story it can show up in math if they're having trouble with the steps that they're trying to perform an algebra it shows up when they're working through math facts a lot of the time when students get into trouble with math that's when they get into those higher level maths like algebra because there's so many there's so much switching that needs to happen that it really really hits the working memory hard and they hit like a cognitive overload and so it makes it really difficult for them to be able to perform the task efficiently so working memory really really important in terms of its capacity it needs to be able to work quickly most working memories for individuals last anywhere from five to 7 seconds it's meant to collect data and dump it collect data and dump it okay you're not meant to hold it for forever but you've got to be able to hold it long enough to work with it processing speed is just how fast your brain is doing all of that in order to be quick in order not to overload that working memory you have to process quickly so that you can build automaticity in your tasks so we you were talking about students that you had worked with that really had trouble with math facts again as we get into those higher level math vers example you got to have really fast processing speed as well as automaticity in those math facts so that your brain's not getting bogged down in the details it can those details are kind of humming along in the background and they're able to handle those those harder more complex steps and tasks and word problems and algebraic equations all that kind of stuff those three skills that I just mentioned attention working memory and processing speed are what I call automatic processing skills they're always humming along in the background it is really the gate because those three have to be working together for information to keep chugging in your brain if there's a hiccup in any one of those areas it causes a bounce and then that information has to be readdressed over and over and over again until it can finally click through and get to those higher level thinking skills that we're going to talk about here next so the next skill we'd like to address is logic and reasoning I think of that as your planning skill can can you see the big picture and break it down into steps can you figure out the instructions or how to build something without someone giving you a line by line example of what to do really really important for test taking in fact most SAT and ACT tests or logic tests you have to be able to figure out what's good better best based on the information that they're giving you and you have to look out for tricks you have to look out for strategies in order to be able to answer those correctly logic is really important in Reading because English is actually a very logical language and it's a patterned language so we have to be able to identify patterns when we're reading and if logic is weak it can make reading challenging it can make comprehension challenging as well the next one is long-term memory most people think of long-term memory as like emotional memories from like when we were young but it actually is your test taking memory it's the memory that you need in order to be able to study and then take the test the next day or to kind of hold information over time I think of it as like a big filing cabinet in my brain where things are in there and I should be able to retrieve them with these and if I can't retrieve them then there's a hiccup there either it didn't get filed away or it's been misfiled and I've got to figure out where it's been filed away so long-term memory very very critical for building overall skill if a student is really weak in long-term memory it may feel like Groundhog Day every every day or every week when you're trying to introduce material if you've ever sat with a child and and done a math problem and they' looked at you like what is this like we just did this buddy we just did this last week that might identify a little bit of a weak long-term memory skill and so when long-term memory is weak it makes test taking really really challenging obviously because it's your test taking skill it makes a retrieval of information really challenging so things like even remembering names of friends and family being able to keep up in conversations because you're able to pull information out with ease being able to retain information that you're learning that all kind of stems from that long-term memory skill the next one is auditory processing this one is my favorite auditory processing is a really important skill in fact it's so broad I I want to talk about it in terms of how your brain process is language so when we're babies we're we learn language by hearing right so but it's our brain that's processing that information that our ears are collecting and that's how we learn how to speak and form sentences and eventually what we have to do is we've got to take that scale of sound and connect it to a visual right we've got to connect that sound to a letter so that sound letter connection is where reading comes from if a child is really struggling to read the probability is about 70% that there is a weak auditory processing issue yes that needs to be addressed how do you know that you have a weak auditory processing issue well a couple things if they were late talkers or needed some speech therapy early on that's kind of a red flag that there's some audit there was some auditory processing stuff and that reading is going to be a challenge they could be reading by using memory or visual processing skills and you'll know that there's an auditory processing issue if they're really poor spellers they're having a really hard time decoding words by sound that's also a big red flag the brain's super complex so we don't talk about dyslexia so much because it's such a broad umbrella and it even has a new DSM title so but that big broad umbrella is is hard because there can be lots of issues underneath a skill like reading so it's really important to understand cognitive skills so that you know where to aim and Target and help that student before we continue I want to share with you a program that has been a GameChanger for our family at our Learning Center we instructed and helped kids through pretty much every program on the market so we know firsthand just how important a solid math Foundation is for our kids' Futures finding the right homeschool math curriculum that didn't comp compromise academic Excellence but also didn't put me and my kids through the ringer was a challenge until one day I found CTC math you guys the rest was history first off it's a Mastery based program which means your child gets a full grasp of the material it's also loaded with mixed reviews ensuring your kids don't forget anything they've learned the questions are adaptive too which keeps students confident and progressing at their own pace but the best best part all the teaching grading and testing done for you with CTC math there is no compromise on Excellence your child gets a top-notch education and you just made your homeschool life easier visit CTC math to get your free trial today whether you're newer to homeschooling or you've been homeschooling over a decade the fact is creating a streamlined successful homeschool is hard the pressure is high and the weight of responsibility of often leads to self-doubt second guessing and feeling completely overwhelmed with the excessive amounts of opinions and ccul options out there we love our kids and at the same time the stakes are high we don't want to mess this up so how do we build a home school that our kids will thank us for when they're adults and one that you have 100% confidence in the first step to pulling all of that off is joining Thrive homeschool Community Thrive homeschool Community is where you learn the eight eight-step homeschool success framework to build an undeniably successful homeschool each year and each kid presents us with Uncharted Territory but when you have a good plan the right plan you can rest in the security and confidence that you are doing a great job the path is easy join Thrive say a quick hello to your new friends start The eight-step Homeschool success framework and kiss anxiety goodbye it's risk-free no contracts you can cancel any time no questions go to christie-front-drive written correctly and their kid is still struggling I a th% always recommend seeing a specialist and a good one because there are some bad Specialists out there as well okay I just have to say like I am like getting Goosebumps talking to you because I feel like I found one of my people like the way you're talking about how kids learn in the processing I feel like we're I don't know it's just very exciting to this is the f I don't know if the audience knows this but she and we've been stalking each other on social media but we don't actually know know each other but I had a feeling I knew I'd really like you but it just because I can tell how much you truly truly care and you want to get to the bottom of what is going on in the brain so that you can help kids succeed so yeah mamas please if you have to rewind to hear that auditory processing piece again please do hit that back button and then relisten to those last three minutes again because literacy is vital it is vital and there is some damaging advice out there in The Homeschool World regarding literacy and it is a hill that I will die on until the day that I die so yay for Sandy okay we are you done with the auditory part I'm just eating this up no let me add a little bit more auditory processing is super tricky because it can hide and so I want to point out another place that it kind of shows up auditory processing weakness can show up with attention issues and here's why when you have selective attention struggles it's because your brain has a hard time pushing sound out and pulling sound in we talked about that just a second ago it is very common for ADHD and D dyslexia to be comorbid which means that yes there are some similarities there and woory processing is one of those similarities that they both can have so it's not just a reading skill it encompasses a lot of things one of them is listening comprehension being able to hear the person in front of you and process that language effectively think about if you have a student who is or a child who's really highly sensory sensitive like especially loud noises that's a big red flag that auditory processing might be an issue because again if they startle easily with every loud noise if they hate being in loud rooms it's because they can't tune that sound in and out effectively in their brain and so it's overstimulating and it really really causes a lot of havoc in the brain the last one I do want to point out is visual processing a lot of times someone will tell me I'm you know you were talking about hills you'll die on I have a lot of them too so one of them is another episode all the hills we gonna die on uh one of the heels I will die on is that you use your whole brain to learn you aren't a certain type of learner right you're not a visual learner or an auditory learner you do use all of those if you tend to rely on visual things to learn it is because you have probably really strong visual memory but not visual processing so let me clarify what that means visual processing is your brain's ability to make its own pictures in your mind's eye to be able to turn things around to be able to see things from many angles to create that movie when you're reading that really good book and you see that whole all the characters in the scene you see all of that in that Mind's Eye it enables you to recognize whole words visual processing so you see that word and it pops off the page enables you to break down things like syllables and root words and words it's a really really really helpful skill for comprehension okay math is a skill that uses visual processing as well because in early Elementary years you're trying to build that understanding of numbers right number sense and really good fluency and automaticity in numbers but eventually math in order for it to become automatic and efficient has to switch and you have to be able to see it in your head if you don't see math in your head it makes it really hard to understand as math gets more and more complex because we lose that ability to see math when we get into things like algebra statistics and geometry so we need that visual processing to be able to comprehend all of those skills work together in the blink of an eyee it's really hard to know where there might be a hiccup without some sort of cognitive testing so what I love about what we do that's the first step we always start with some testing to figure out where those brain skills are does a psychologist do the testing how do you guys go about that so we some there are some psychologists who own centers but we don't diagnose anything at our Center that's not what we do we use our testing as a response to intervention tool so we just want to look at skill and see where the skills are we do that through the wj4 for some centers that have licensed psychologists who can do that my Center uses the Gibson test of cognitive skills which is a shorter test that is really sort of a survey test it's been peer-reviewed and it has you know reliability and validity but it's just a response to intervention tool to help us know where to target an a because that's our goal our goal is to kind of see the picture and then we're going to individualize a program to help bu the skill that's missing and that's vital anyone hearing this who is interested in getting their child extra help if you are not hearing this type of conversation from whoever you are talking to meaning figuring out what's going on and targeting those specific areas they will be wasting your money that is the first thing someone needs to do when you are hiring someone for an intervention another important thing that I think is important for my audience in particular is that we don't necessarily need formal diagnosis we are homeschool families really when you go to get testing done and to get formal diagnos like my kid has ADHD my kid is diagnosed with dyslexia you need those generally when your kid is in some sort of school system generally public school system to receive accommodations and an IEP and get on IEP plan we homeschool so often I tell parents you do not need to pay $115,000 to an educational psychologist for a diagnosis you can go about it in different ways to really what you want is you want to figure out what's going on and then Target those particular things which can be done and so can you elaborate on that a little bit more because I think that's a vital piece especially for homeschool families yeah absolutely so you're exactly right the only purpose for a diagnosis is if you are trying to get accommodations compensation strategies or for example for ADHD if you want to look into medication right to help with any symptoms that you're experiencing for the average homeschool family you you want those skills to be isolated so that you can figure out how to Target we had a a homeschool family mom tell us recently that homeschool moms are all diyers right we we're always like we're Scrappy we're gonna figure out how to do this but what you need to know about brain skills is that you in order to Target them well and Target them correctly you need to find either you know like a trainer like me or a curriculum or something that's going to aim and Target that skill with intensity that's really important and a lot of repetition you need those two in combination in order to get blood flow and oxygen to those parts of the brain that don't have the support they need at the moment right right so training helps dive into that skill and help build up that skill is it important at The Homeschool level absolutely here's why I when I homeschooled my kids my goal was that my kids would love learning that was number one that was at the top of my my pyramid the next is I wanted them to have great perseverance I didn't want them to be daunted by tasks or to to bail when things got hard I wanted them to have persever par I wanted them to be independent Learners I wanted them to have enough skills under their belt that as they got older they didn't need me they could learn anything that they wanted to learn as a homeschool family you are going to find you know because we all we always get a lot of kids that you know one looks like the dad one looks like the mom one looks like the sister the skills are all different right you don't get a homeschool of kids that all have the same learning struggles you're going to have to isolate and figure out what's going on for each of them so that you're giving them the tools that they need but you've got to be able to do it strategically you've got to be know where those skills are so that you can aim and Target them and do it in a way that helps build that intensity and repetition for families well and we're not done yet but I have to ask this because I know that learning RX is Nationwide but what if people fall in love with you do you do this stuff because they will do you do this stuff remotely where people could work with you or do they have to find a local learning RX Center well I would always recommend if you have a local learning ARX Center definitely reach out I think one to one in person is just so much more powerful but we've done a study and remote training is just as effective we've seen statistically significant changes in skills either in person or remote so you can go either way in terms of remote we work with people all over the country I've had a student from one of the Bahama Islands so we just we work all the time to help as many individuals as we can if you're a homeschool mom and you're inspired you could even open up your own Center and help be a help in your own community so we are I'm just a small business here in Virginia that is passionate about brains but I wish there were more centers all over the place who with people who are just as passionate as I am about this topic but absolutely we work both remotely and in person and I want to ask you before we move on to the other questions I had this was not written down but people listening are going to be wondering oh they do reading intervention is it Orton Gillingham so it is not Orton Gillingham it is our own reading program uh we have our own research studies on that I've mentioned a lot about our research so you can find our research at The gibston Institute of cognitive research there you'll find lots of peer-reviewed studies as as well as some randomized control trials on our particular programs that we offer we've done research on TBI we've done research on for seniors on not dementia but some memory loss so lots of really neat things to look at there but orgon G Gillingham is its own thing so orgon Gillingham is a very wellknown very well renowned program there was a research study that came out in the last year or so that talked about gains in Reading not being as effective as they were hoping for oron Gillingham but that does not mean that that program is not a really good program the problem is that when you get something big like Orton Gillingham that has some research behind it is that you have a lot of people who are trained but may or may not do the program the way that it's supposed to be done so like you were saying earlier you got to be really careful who you choose because in order to get the the gains and the benefit of a program you have to have someone who's following in with Fidelity you know what's interesting is that one of the mamas in Thrive homeschool Community which is my homeschool Community she was s she was extremely frustrated because her gifted child was not spelling and she had her child it with an Orton Gillingham specialist for a long time I want to say it was maybe a year she's probably going to correct me in the DM she hears this I think it was about a year and she went to somebody else who was trained in the same program as that other she didn't know this at the time but trained in the same program as that previous tutor was but this person was a lot more qualified had other credentials she has a master's in special education she's an extremely intuitive certified Orton Gillingham tutor which basically means she's also pulling in other things because she's been doing this so long and she is reactive and she said that the previous tutor simply like literally just wrote went through the program without actually identifying what was really going on underneath and I think that's what learning RX does as you guys are discovering what is happening the show will resume in just a minute but first I want to share with you an incredible resource that is totally free to homeschooling families everywhere have you ever felt like you were on trial for your homeschooling Choice when visiting a doctor or another service provider it's unsettling especially when someone misinformed has the power to threaten your family unfortunately we have heard countless stories of parents who have felt trapped in offices and met with suspicion rather than support simply because they were homeschoolers I've been profiled and interrogated myself and I'm sure many of you have as well enough is enough it's time we proactively vet service providers before giving them our business and our money enter Christy faith list a directory 100% free to homeschooling families connecting you with homeschool friendly service providers who promise to support you in your homeschooling choice we want every homeschooler in America to know about and be using this list so here's how to make Christy Faith's list a household name one tell all your friends about it let's show the market just how powerful The Homeschool movement is number two check Christy face list website before stepping foot into any service provider's office to make sure they are on there and number three if your favorite service provider isn't on the list make sure to refer them there's a button on the homepage of the website it takes only 30 seconds and that way we can send them a lovely 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so Orton Gillingham just like Barton and hegerty and some of the bigname dyslexia programs out there like I said as if you've got a really good yes tutor who's following that program with fidelity your student if they're having a reading difficulty and their weakness is auditory processing might do okay in those particular areas with those particular tutors the problem lies in what if the problem is in working memory yes what if the problem is in processing space what if the problem is in visual processing if there's an issue in another skill area then that might not be the program that's going to solve the problem you might need to dig a Little Deeper find a program that's going to harness and really tackle the other skill deficits that are causing um the issue or the hiccup is is when you do your testing is it kind of a learning battery that triy to uncover all of those area all of those seven areas including we look at the core S yeah we look at the core S and then we usually do in our Center we do a Kaufman series to academically look and see where's the reading fluency at where's math fluency where's math concept and application knowledge where's the reading comp uh comprehension knowledge so we look at that too we're not tutors so at our Center we're not necessarily looking to retach math concepts and information our goal is to help build the cognitive side of everything so that when that information gets reintroduced especially at home if you're you know you know the first you know third of your math book it's all review when that information gets reintroduced it's going to stick easier you're going to process it faster you're going to be able to handle that information when it comes back around to you so we look at the core seven to really individualize our training goals but we look at the the academic side a little bit to see how is it affecting just regular academic skills like fluency so interesting I'd love to hear a success story what's one of your favorite stories of just a kid who came in who was an absolute disaster and then have a lot of favorite stories you know by the time a student comes to me a lot of times we're the last resort our family has tried everything they have tried every Everything Under the Sun they have picked up every curriculum they've tried tutors they've tried medication they've tried depending on what the issue is so when they come to me it's always going to be a success story because I just know where they've come I know where they're at and when we get through the program they're going to come out the other side a more confident learner it's pretty much the number one thing that families tell us all the time my favorite story however I'll have a couple I'll tell two one is they're related so it kind of helps too there were homeschool family that came I was just a trainer at the time actually wasn't the owner of my Center and they were in a process that family with of really thinking through next steps they had felt led to put their kids in private school and when they were having the family discussion one of their children just absolutely panicked they just thought there's no way there's no way I'll make it in private school I'm not very smart I can't do it I won't be able to keep up and they came to us in tears um really frustrated trying to figure out how to help they didn't realize they knew there was a problem but because they were homeschool family they were you know working at their own pace and you know just moving forward but this decision to go into private school just really set off alarm bells for them as to how much their son was internalizing um his success and how well he was doing to the point that he even said you know I'm not going to go to college I'm probably just gonna work at McDonald's like you know it's no big deal and that just broke my heart because I always believe that our my goal anytime I work with a student is to open as many doors and windows as I can for their opportunities for the future so I wanted him to have all the options so he came he worked at with us at the center and when he graduated he did so well he ended up going to private school and he graduated with honors it was just really cool to see that transformation from a totally defeated absolutely terrified student to one who had confidence and was ready to take on the world if you're enjoying the show and you don't want to miss out on future episodes hit that like And subscribe button and show us some love with your comments those five star reviews really do make a difference how long was his intervention six months six oh really that's fast y do all the students go through the same protocol so we have a set program that we use it has it lots of tools in that toolbx so the short answer is yes but the long answer is no because it depends on what their particular skill weaknesses are we're going to spend more time with them on the things that are hard we'll pull in some things that are not as hard for them just to H let them have fun and to build skill in something that they're good at but for the most part we're going to live in things that are challenging for them and so that looks different for every student that walks in the door even though we have the same toolbox to pull from well and boy does that require a special person to work with because when kids are coming already with some emotional trauma damage whatever word you want to use they are and they're facing more hard things this was something really big at our Center is we would always train our teachers and say look these are kids that are struggling and we need to be a safe place for them because academics have a very negative connotation for a lot of these kids so I think that's so vital to that you're such a safe place for those kids well what we help them see is that well twofold what we help parents see is that learning struggles are very traumatic in the brain so while you may have a really you know awesome for if we think about homeschooling if you have a really awesome homeschooling environment that doesn't mean that your child's perception of their learning challenges is not causing them anxiety causing them chronic stress and causing them trauma even though you may be trying to help them through it and accommodating and picking curriculums they like to try to keep them engaged and all of the things that we do as homeschool moms right we try to find the curriculum that's going to be the one the one the Holy Grail that never exists it doesn't exist so you know I want I want parents to see that one that first that learning challenges are chronic stress and chronic stress is trauma so we've got to help a student build skills so that their resiliency bucket Grows Right what you see with families in fact we had a webinar the other night with homeschooling families in Virginia uh and the question was like well what about kids who struggle with OD anxiety anger issues to understand that that's a trauma response for many students is really the key if a student is really fighting back or freezing on you or you know avoiding school at all costs those are all trauma responses that means that there's a skill that they're lacking it's causing stress and so you're getting that response in return but when you build the skill you're going to calm that process down and you're going to that student's going to feel more able to handle things and that resiliency bucket is going to grow so that's the first part I want parents to understand that the other thing is I want the student to understand that too I want them to understand that they can do something even if they can't do it right now and so our our our tools that we use are very structured we start everybody at the at the bottom if you think of it like a scaffold you know we've got to get a foundation first we got to make sure all those Foundation pieces are strong so that you can build the next tier and then the next tier and then the next tier when you don't have a strong Foundation that's what's causing a lot of that discomfort in the brain so we need to make sure those things are firmly rooted the skills are there underneath and then the trick is to help a student have lots of success and in order to do that you start that that Foundation level you've got to build that one brick at a time they see that success over and over and over again you're able to push a little harder challenge them a little more and then it rolls like a snowball and then you're able to build skill in six months because we're constantly tackling that skill over and over and over again and they're getting lots of success in it and it feels good they don't even realize it's happening how many hours a week is your program so we get the gains that we get again because our two key components intensity and repetition we get the gains we get because we work with our students up to three times a week for an hour and a half yeah so that's four and a half hours a week that they're working one to one yep so and I'm not I don't you should not be alarmed to hear that listeners because when we did our interventions with reading I mean there were times where there were cases that were so severe that we actually requested the child be pulled out of school so that we could do interventions as well so I tell that to homeschool families too if if I have a homeschool family that comes in and their skill their their child skills are really low and we've got a lot of work to do I will let them know hey you let us handle the skills that are super important like the math fluency and the reading skills and you do the fun stuff take that burden off your plate you go do the science experiments go do the field trips write journals do you know make slime all winter long make learning at home fun so that you can come after the training is done be able to then engage in curriculum again so yeah absolutely I tell homeschool families the same thing yeah harder to do with Public School amilies I usually get them after school but for homeschool families since they have so much flexibility and usually moms are so they're so guilt-ridden at the time that they come to me because they've again they've tried everything they've done every resource out there that they can think of they tried every trick and like you mentioned before you know one of the big myths that I loathe in The Homeschool Community is to just let let it go let it go it'll click eventually it'll click in but unless you know exactly what's going on in the brain of your child that guarantee is not there so catching a student early getting early intervention is absolutely critical yeah I I hope the listeners here who Len and the the people who listen to my podcast they know that I have people on who are experts in their field who have read the research you guys listen up the people who are doing the research the people who are doing these Intervention Program programs who are highly educated and are up on all of the research one of my friends who is an interventionist she has a master's degree in special ed she literally gets notifications when new studies come out on her field and it is vital there is no reason to say that early intervention is a bad idea truthfully it is not around third fourth grade is where our kids it the learning to read ends and SCH transitions to reading to learn and if your kid cannot read and I don't mean just fluency because reading is also what you were saying making that movie in your head it's that comprehension piece both when they read it and when they hear it if those aren't all integrated and together they will struggle in the later years and I'm sure there's a lot of parents listening when you were mentioning the clicking of the pen I was like guilty I'm like I wonder what I want to be tested I wonder I wonder you'd probably find a slew of stuff with Christy faith I'm sure you'd have a hey day but I am so if this was jam packed man I am so glad that you had the time to come on the show where can my audience find you sure so I'm kind of all over the place so I wish I had like one quick little yeah so if you want to follow me on Tik Tok I'm at the brain trainer lady so I do share a lot of helpful resources I give demos on there I do a lot of different things hopefully they're of value to people and they can um gain some wisdom there my Center is learning RX as Stanton and Harrisonburg so if you Google that online you'll find me there if you want to find a program just in general you can always just go to learning rx.com and they can connect you with someone close to you or someone who can work with you remotely as well I also do my own podcast I'm a co-host there with uh the head of our research arm at the Cog uh Gibson Institute of cognitive research it's called the brainy moms and we have a lot of fun there we don't just talk about cognitive training we actually talk about all sorts of topics so for example this week we were talking about anxiety we've talked to different therapists for things like managing your home better like you name it any any mom topic you can think of from um birth to even teens and young adults um we try to cover it so um you can find me there as well wonderful and we will put all of those links in the show notes thank you so much for making all of us better homeschoolers today