Wellness: Brain Training

May 16 2012, 1:28 PM

Feel like you’re losing your competitive edge at work? Takes you twice as long to read and understand a document as it did 10 years ago? Are your kids performing beneath their grade level at school? This past January, we stumbled upon a place that offered help for these problems. We ran a story about LearningRx, which we referred to as Denver’s only so-called brain-training center.

Update: As it turns out, students who want to increase their smarts—whether you’re battling a learning disorder or just want to get on a faster track—can also seek the services of the Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes center in Englewood. With centers across the country (and in the UK and Australia), Lindamood-Bell just celebrated its 25th anniversary last year. That’s a quarter century of “enhancing human learning.” And these aren’t your average tutors.

The Lindamood-Bell center works with clients from four years old through adulthood and tailors its programs to individual needs. A preliminary evaluation using a range of standardized tests will determine the specific formula, but typical students will attend one-on-one trainings five days a week, four hours a day for a duration that varies by client. “That intensity is a critical piece of making those changes at the neural level,” says center director Anne Fenske. “Some of the things we do are immediately transferable to a student’s school activities.”

One of the biggest focuses is shrinking the gap between reading ability and comprehension. (The center was founded by a reading specialist and a speech pathologist.) This involves working at an underlying processing level—oral language first, then written language—rather than working with content, Fenske says. Their methods have garnered plenty of attention; some outside researchers have used Lindamood-Bell programs in their studies and concluded that dyslexic students can actually experience an increase in gray matter volume (GMV) in the brain as a result of Lindamood-Bell techniques.

Will your child (or you) become the next Einstein? Unlikely. But it’s not uncommon for a student to progress two to three grade levels in six to eight weeks, Fenske says. At $93 per hour, the financing is steep. “It is a lot of money,” Fenske says. “But there are people who have spent that much and more [on other techniques], and if it doesn’t work, that’s a heartbreaker. Something’s not expensive if it works.”

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