How Does Brain Training Help Children with Special Needs?
How Does Brain Training Help Children with Special Needs?
In recent months, Singapore Brain Development Centre (SBDC) has received an increased amount of enquiries from parents with children with special needs, many of which suffer from developmental issues. As we listened and took an understanding of the issues faced both by parents and their children, we would like to share how our customised Brain Training programmes, together with our specialized child gym training program could integrate and help special needs children to lead a better life.
In this article, we would be sharing on a case study of how SBDC’s program has helped in a Global Developmental Delayed child, named *Isabelle, to improve on her overall cognitive skills as well as in her overall behavioural issues. *Name has been changed to protect the identity of the student.
So what is Global Developmental Delay, in short GDD?
Global developmental delay is a term used to describe a generalized intellectual disability that is usually characterized by lower than average intellectual functioning along with significant limitations in at least two other areas of development. Common signs of global developmental delay include delayed acquisition of milestones (e.g., sitting up, crawling, walking), limited reasoning or conceptual abilities, poor social skills and judgement, aggressive behaviour as a coping skill, and communication difficulties.
Global developmental delay has many causes which, as an end result, affect the functioning of the central nervous system. Causes can be genetic (e.g., Fragile X syndrome), or metabolic (e.g., PKU), prenatal (e.g., rubella or birth trauma), perinatal (e.g., prematurity or the result of a childhood injury or infection). Sometimes the cause for the condition is undetermined.
How Brain Training has helped Isabelle
Isabelle, a 9-year-old child, first came to Singapore Brain in January 2015 after being diagnosed with Global Developmental Delay. She also showed symptoms of sensory issues such as movement and regulation issues, which will affect her judgment and perceptual abilities. She has difficulty in sequencing and recognizing patterns, which will affect her ability to perform in Mathematics subject, although she has shown better response in terms of her language ability.
Singapore Brain conducted a Clinical Test (CT), which would measure individual cognitive and decoding skills, on Isabelle. The CT includes sub tests of the six major skill groups and a rating survey for Attention. The six skill group sub tests cover Processing Speed, Working Memory, Long-Term Memory, Visual Processing, Auditory Processing, and Logic & Reasoning.
The assessment resulted in Isabelle’s overall cognitive ability that fell in the lower range of 1.85 years below her age, which displayed signs of cognitive delay based on her chronological age of 9 year old. Isabelle was also weaker in her Processing speed skills, Working Memory skills, Logic Reasoning skills, and Word Attack skills. In addition, she also presented significantly weak in her Auditory skills, Processing Speed skills, and Visual Processing skills.
Having gone through Singapore Brain’s program for over a span of 7 months, where we customised a training program consisting of specialized child gym training and sensory integration exercises targeted to improve Isabelle’s fine motor skills and Brain Training program, Isabelle has shown tremendous improvements; from being able to successfully get adjusted to the environment better and positively to being able to complete tasks such as school assignments in an effective pace. Isabelle is also able to create conversations with her classmates, parents, family members as well as with her teachers and trainers in Singapore Brain; where her social skills were no longer how it were when she first came in as being very shy and afraid of people surrounding her.
The trainers at Singapore Brain are very proud upon seeing her developmental improvements. How did we do it? How did a child, as to which a delayed child be able to function and improve so much better and faster after going through our program? Because, we believe that all children can and will be able to maximise his/her brain’s potential to the fullest, and that through patience and the right treatments of our Brain training program; over a course of time, yes, a delayed child like Isabelle, will be able to achieve optimistic results in her overall cognitive abilities.
For troubled parents with struggling children in the special needs areas; of which for this case of Global developmental delay (GDD), let Singapore Brain ease your worries and let us help improve the life of your child through our specialised Brain Training programs.
Contact us today for a Free evaluation of your child.
1. Focus on the words the child understands
Although children with dyslexia face challenges when it comes to reading and identifying words, over time, the child becomes more comfortable with specific words. Parents and teachers can help build a vocabulary of the words the child recognizes easily. This will help monitor the child’s progress over time.
2. Concentrate on Small Sounds
Words are made up of different sounds, some longer than others. Since children with dyslexia have trouble connecting the sounds with the letters, teachers should focus on small sounds that make up words and build on that based on the child’s progress.
3. Seek Assistance from a Tutor with Experience Teaching Children with Dyslexia
Teachers need to understand the individual needs of the students. Unfortunately, it may not be possible for a child with dyslexia to get all the attention he or she needs from a teacher who has a class of 40 students. Parents or the school may seek help from a tutor or a learning centre with a better understanding of the needs of children with dyslexia to supplement and guide the learning.
4. Customized Education Plan
If a child with dyslexia is having trouble with the traditional education set up, a suitable one can be tailor-made for him or her. The goal should be the same as for any other child in the classroom. However, the method of executing the lesson can be different. Parents need to sit down with teachers to come up with a structured plan that both parties can agree on.
What More Can I Do to Help My Child Overcome Dyslexia?
1. Talk to Your Child
When you find out that your child has Dyslexia, the first thing to do is to speak your child. Help him understand what Dyslexia is and what challenges he or she may face. It is crucial to also let your child know that having Dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of and that you will help him overcome it. This way, you can show him that you understand and support him.
2. Read To Your Child
Read as often as possible to your child. Even if your child is too young to read, reading to him will improve his oral and comprehension skills in the future. A child’s development of listening skills is a precursor to his progress in reading and writing. Furthermore, reading aloud to your child at a young age will encourage them to develop an interest in reading. Hence, reading to your child will help him develop literacy skills and cope with Dyslexia.
Some tips to help with reading include:
Use a ruler or pencil and follow the lines while reading
3. Nurture Your Child’s Talents
Children with dyslexia may face trouble with self-confidence because of their inability to learn seemingly basic skills such as reading and writing. Many children with dyslexia feel incompetent to their peers and doubt their ability to excel in school. Often, many parents are too focused on the child’s disabilities that they fail to notice the child’s strengths and abilities.
Therefore, as a parent, you need to observe what your child is good at and support them in doing what they love. For example, your child could be an exceptional athlete or boast an artistic flair. Noticing your child’s strengths and helping him develop them will build his confidence and self-esteem.
When Should You See a Professional?
Many adults with dyslexia missed great opportunities when they were younger because they did not receive an early diagnosis. Children with dyslexia who do not receive help early will likely lag behind academically and may never be able catch up with their peers. Therefore, identifying dyslexia early will help your child gets an equal chance at being successful as any other child.
If you are concerned that your child may have dyslexia, we are able to help you to find out what the next steps are. Singapore Brain Centre’s testing can quickly uncover any specific auditory processing deficits. A developmental plan can be created to strengthen those specific weaknesses and rebuild the reading foundation your child needs. We use different tried and tested cognitive brain training techniques to make reading and writing achievable for your child. Find out more about the personalized and trusted dyslexia treatment offered here at SBDC.