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Executive Function: The Foundation for School Readiness

Posted by Peter Barnes on January 9, 2023 at 11:44 AM

Peter Barnes


Boy-Struggling-to-Read-184078-edited-302180-edited.pngAlmost 400,000 children in Australia and New Zealand will begin their first year of school in late January or early February this year. They will be going into classes known in various Australian states as Kindergarten, Prep, Pre-Primary or Transition, and into Year 1 in New Zealand.

Every one of these children will transition into their first year of a formal school setting in various stages of school readiness.

What will determine a successful transition? 

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Topics: School

5 Signs of Oppositional Defiant Disorder & 4 Ways to Help an ODD Child

Posted by Peter Barnes on November 1, 2022 at 11:49 AM

Peter Barnes

Does your child argue a lot – with you or teachers?  Does he or she seem to anger easily?  Is this behaviour worrying you?

It could be quite normal – just a phase your child is going through. On the other hand they may have oppositional defiant disorder, also known as ODD.

There are five signs which can point to ODD, according to Dr Martha Burns.  In a conversation on the Learning Capacity Podcast, she described the signs and discussed how to help a child who has this disorder.

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST

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Topics: Brain Science, Podcasts, Behaviour

Ruben Struggled to Read & Pay Attention – How Did Fast ForWord Help?

Posted by Peter Barnes on August 3, 2022 at 3:49 PM

Peter Barnes

Rubin was in his first year at school (kindergarten in NSW). His teachers told his mum, Lani, that he was not concentrating, he fidgeted a lot, and he could not complete his work.

He was also having great difficulty with his early reading, struggling to sound out simple sentences like "I am Tim. Tim sits."

Because his older brother Kito* had benefited from the Fast ForWord brain training exercises a few years ago following an audiologist's recommendation for his auditory processing disorder, Lani decided to have Ruben do the exercises as well.

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Topics: Auditory Processing Disorder, Attention, Fast ForWord

Poor Listening Skills - Could it be Auditory Processing Disorder?

Posted by Peter Barnes on August 1, 2022 at 4:30 PM

Peter Barnes

Do you have a child or student with poor listening skills?

At home you might ask your child to do something like, "go and put on your school clothes, get your jacket and put your library book in your school bag". He or she may look confused or just say "huh", or actually go and just get one or two of the three things done.

In the classroom, the student with poor listening skills will have trouble keeping up with classroom discussions, following instructions and learning information when it is presented to them by the teacher's voice.

Parents and teachers often assume that children like this are deliberately ignoring them, have something wrong with their hearing, or are just not paying attention.  They could be right, but if the child's hearing is fine, their poor listening skills may be due to an auditory processing disorder (APD).

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Topics: Auditory Processing Disorder, Dyslexia, Fast ForWord

How Your Brain Learns to Read: Professor Stanislaus Dehaene

Posted by Peter Barnes on August 1, 2022 at 1:39 PM

Peter Barnes

Did you know that learning to read is one of the most complex things we ask our brain to do?

What goes on in our brain that makes it possible for us to translate the little squiggly marks that are letters on a page, into meaning?

One of the world's foremost experts on reading, Professor Stanislas Dehaene, a French neuroscientists and author of the book “Reading in the Brain” has some answers. He explains in this video:

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Topics: Reading

Dyslexia & Intelligence: Is there a Connection?

Posted by Peter Barnes on June 20, 2022 at 10:30 AM

Peter Barnes

Some teachers and parents can mistake a dyslexic child for someone who is lacking intelligence. But the truth is dyslexia has nothing to do with a child’s level of intelligence.

In fact many very intelligent people – like Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin group of companies and Charles Schwab who pioneered the discount stockbroking industry – are dyslexic and had trouble learning to read.

To get some insight into this question, LearnFast recorded a video interview with speech language pathologist and dyslexia specialist, Devon Barnes.

Key points from the interview included:

  • Most people with dyslexia are, at least, average or above-average intelligence.

  • Often children who fail to read and spell don't think of themselves as bright.

  • It's very important that “dyslexic” students develop all their strengths.

  • Technology is making life easier for children who struggle to read and write.

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Topics: Dyslexia

9 Tips to Improve How you Learn & Your Learning Capacity

Posted by Peter Barnes on June 1, 2022 at 3:48 PM

Peter Barnes

If you ask teachers and parents, and even some older students, for tips on how best to learn, you will get lots of advice. Some based on their personal experience  - what worked for them - some on what they have seen work for students and some derived from research.

In his book "How We Learn – The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why it Happens”, Benedict Carey includes some tips based on scientific research. Of the nine tips below, the first eight come from Carey’s book and I have added a ninth: Increase Your Brain’s Capacity to Learn.

Here are the tips:

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Topics: Brain Science, Learning Capacity

5 Essentials for Effective Neuroscience Learning Capacity Programs

Posted by Peter Barnes on May 18, 2022 at 5:12 PM

Peter Barnes

How do educators sort through the hype surrounding brain-based "neuroscience" learning programs?

Parents and educators have been seeing the benefits for students using well designed, research based brain training programs to improve their learning capacity. This has led more and more distributors of educational products to jump on the bandwagon and promote their products as "neuroscience based".

So if you have been noticing more advertisments, emails and other promotions using the terms "neuroscience" and "brain-based" as a basis for their products, how do you know what are valid claims and what is simple opportunistic use of these labels?

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Topics: Brain Science, Learning Capacity

Build English Fast for Students Learning English as a Second Language

Posted by Peter Barnes on May 4, 2022 at 9:15 AM

Peter Barnes

Why do ESLs struggle with reading?

Students with limited or no English speaker proficiency need instruction in recognising and distinguishing the sounds of English as compared or contrasted with sounds in their native language.

To be most effective, instruction for ESLs in oral language knowledge, skills, and abilities must be explicit, intensive, and extensive.

Oral proficiency in English (including oral vocabulary, grammar, and listening comprehension) is critical for ESLs to develop proficiency in text-level English reading comprehension.

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Topics: English Language Learners, Fast ForWord

34 Dyslexia Questions & Answers with Dr Martha Burns

Posted by Peter Barnes on April 26, 2022 at 11:45 AM

Peter Barnes

Dr Martha Burns Do you have questions about Dyslexia? 

What is it? What are the causes of this challenging condition?

How are brain scientists and researchers progressing in their quest to understand Dyslexia? And most importantly what are the latest interventions making a difference for people with Dyslexia?

Dr Martha Burns answers some of your questions here:

Question:  Why do some students miss some words to read while reading?

Answer by Dr Burns:  There can be several reasons. Sometimes students skip over words because their visual tracking isn't smooth and coordinated. Sometimes they just don't recognise the word and trying to figure it out seems too difficult, so they skip over it or misread it. Sometimes, if in a hurry, they just misread it because they don't take the time to figure it out.

Question:  How does dyslexia affect an adult learner?

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Topics: Dyslexia, Reading

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