FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions
Overview of the Sharper Minds® Program
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Both kids and adults can benefit. Most people come to us experiencing pain or frustration with the lack of progress that their child is making in school or in their home. Having tried medication, remedial reading, and most every other method, they are looking for something that really works. Nerves and neural pathways can be developed at any stage in life. Sometimes couples join the program to strengthen their mental processing skills as well as their athletic prowess by improving their coordination. Businessmen also may also realize a dramatic improvement in their ability to deal with daily stress and information overload..
Even though our Centers have treated children as young as three, our recommendation is to start at age 6. The most typical ages range from 7 to 14 years old.
Anything worthwhile takes time to grow and develop. The Sharper Minds® program takes approximately a year to complete. For more severe cases, the program will take longer.
The program has a planned course that it follows. Since it focuses on whole brain therapy, most every deficient area will improve. At the completion of the last set of exercises, there is a final test to demonstrate the level of improvement and a "graduation". Since the neurological wiring once grown is as permanent as anything in this life, there is no need for remedial therapy.
To minimize expense and to maximize success, the parents are expected to work with the child for 45-60 minutes a day, 4-5 days a week. The sessions do not have to be in one continuous time block. For example, the minutes might be broken into: 20 minutes before going to school, 20 minutes after school, and 20 minutes in the evening. The parents should be sensitive to the attention span of their children. As the program continues on, the student's ability to focus will increase and perhaps an entire hour session can be done at one time. If the parent(s) desire, for an additional charge, the Center can set up 3-5 times a week sessions where the therapist/trainer works exclusively with the child.
If the training is done as we instruct, with the parents doing the 60 minutes a day training with their children, you should see some results within 3 weeks. Some parents notice a difference within just 1 week of hard work! However, no one can guarantee these "typical" results as nerve growth takes place at different rates in each individual. There are factors beyond our control that may reduce the effectiveness of the program. However in spite of these, in the proper loving, disciplined environment, progress can still be made.
Testing often reveals that a child doesn't really have ADD or ADHD, but rather has a problem in one or more of the critical mental processes or information processing problems. While psychostimulants like Ritalin may work for children with true ADD/ADHD, and may sedate (or in the vernacular of the streets: "stone") a distractible child (thereby giving the impression of improved behavior), psychostimulants do little if any for a child that does not have ADD/ADHD. Many frustrated parents report a personality change, a loss of a sparkle in the eyes, or a "zombie-like" state, anxiety, depression, loss of weight, insomnia, facial tics, etc., when their children are on these medications.
Ritalin (Methylphenidate), Dexedrine (dextro-amphetamine), etc., are Class 2 narcotics like cocaine. Furthermore, studies published in major medical journals have shown that when taken intranasally or intravenously pharmacologically, these drugs all act the same as cocaine within seconds.
If the test reveals that the child DOES NOT have ADHD, then most parents take their children off the meds right away. The parents intuitively sense that these powerful drugs are not the answer to their child's problems. They do not wish to perpetuate this medicating any longer than they have to. The therapy takes care of the ADHD-like symptoms for which the child was put on medications in the first place.
Statistically, of the students that come to us that are on medications at the time they start the program, 70% are off within 8-12 weeks, 90% are off within 6-9 months, and about 10% remain on medications for a variety of reasons beyond our control. As effective as the program is, we DO NOT guarantee that all children will be able to discontinue medications.
Dyslexia has many different forms depending on which mental "program" is not working right. Letter or word reversals are simply one aspect of dyslexia. The five most critical processes are Size, Shape, Directionality, Figure-Ground (the ability to pull detail out of the background - for example what one has to do to find "Waldo" in a "Where's Waldo" picture) and Position in Space. None of these are ADHD, though inadequacy in one or more of these areas may manifest as distractibility and produce ADHD-like behavior and symptoms. You may say that dyslexia has to do with the inability to properly process language, whether spoken or written. There are many different varieties of dyslexia.
See the Center Locations section of the website for locations of the current Centers. Our goal is to have Centers or trainers authorized to oversee the Sharper Minds program throughout the United States of America, and in other countries as well within the next 5 years. If you are long distance from a Center, you may call toll free 1-866-HELP-ADD [1-866-435-7233] and talk to someone at our main office. Be sure to read all the Frequently Asked Question [FAQs] pages first, since many of the most common questions are answered here.
We have a number of long distance clients, some coming from as far away as Hawaii and Virginia. Generally, a client family comes in for testing and to begin the program. They should plan on three days of concentrated work. The client family is provided with the necessary manuals, basic equipment and hands-on instructions to assist them getting their home set up for training, and for the first few exercises. The client family faxes in to the Center their daily/weekly worksheets and counsels with a consultant every week at a given time. This weekly report-in maintains the accountability on the part of the parents to actually work with their child doing the exercises required for successful nerve growth as well as providing on-going instructions and assistance. Once a quarter or more often if desired, the family returns to the Center for several days of concentrated work. As stages of progress are successfully reached, additional equipment is sent to the client family for use in the training process. For more detailed information on how we work with long distance clients, click here.
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