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Ask Susan: Cognitive Skills Training Can Be Compared to Weightlifting

Hi Susan

May I also ask, what do the levels in the progress screen mean? There are 7 squares. Does the program finish when all the measures reach the 7th square? Does that mean a child is back to ‘average’ for their age group?



Hi Ruby

Thank you once again for your questions.

To answer your questions I will compare cognitive training to weightlifting, as there are many similarities.

Image going to the gym, where you will be doing weightlifting for the first time. There will be weight plates of different sizes: from the lightest weighing 2.5 pounds, to the heaviest weighing 100 pounds. Every person in the gym, including you, will be lifting weights according to their own abilities, with the ultimate aim of lifting heavier and heavier weights to build body muscles.

Cognitive skills training works on the same basis, but builds brain muscles.  

When we design an Edublox program we keep in mind that we need to cater for children who will be able to mentally lift only 2.5 pounds in the beginning, up to children who can start by mentally lifting, say, 15 pounds. The child who could only lift 2.5 pounds in the beginning might be able to lift 12 pounds after, say, eight months, while the child who started with 15 pounds might be able to lift 40 pounds after eight months. Throughout, both children have been practicing within their ability range, while simultaneously stretching to reach higher levels.

When designing an Edublox program we also keep in mind that there might occasionally be children with superior abilities who will be able to eventually lift 100 pounds after months of practice. Therefore, at the end of the Edublox progress bar, the heaviest mental weight plate of 100 pounds is waiting to be “lifted up”. The child who gets to the end of the progress bar on any of the cognitive skills measured will thus be superior, not merely average.

An important aspect of cognitive training is that one should not quit too soon. If one quits too soon one will find that the child will quickly regress to previous levels, whereas if one continues with cognitive training for long enough, these skills become tools for life-long learning.

Below is a bright 7th grade student’s progress bar after doing 150 Development Tutor sessions. He used the program to improve his cognitive skills, especially his working memory. As you can see he never got to the end of the progress bar for any exercise, but his progress was very satisfactory and he will reap the benefits for years to come:



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More about Susan

Susan is an educational specialist in the field of learning problems and dyslexia and has a B.A. Honors in Psychology and B.D. degree from the University of Pretoria. Early in her professional career Susan was instrumental in training over 3000 teachers and tutors, providing them with the foundational and practical understanding to facilitate cognitive development amongst children who struggle to read and write. With over 25 years of research to her name Susan conceptualized the Edublox teaching and learning methods that have helped thousands of children who were struggling academically to read, learn and achieve. In 2007, Susan opened the first Edublox reading and learning clinic and now there are 40 Edublox clinics internationally. Her proudest moments are when she sees a child who had severe learning difficulties come top of their class after one or two years at Edublox. Susan always takes time to collect the ‘hero’ stories of learners whose self-esteem is lifted as their marks improve.