- Is an AI based cognitive training and reading therapy program that helps people with learning differences, dyslexia, and general difficulties with reading and comprehension.
- Is a brain-based supplement to other reading curriculums as it supports the brain to develop the necessary pathways in order to read.
- Is a therapeutic intervention and considered neuro- education, allowing the teacher / tutor to have a more “ready” brain in order to learn.
- Has been designed for children above the age of 6 who have challenges in learning.
Designed to support students
- Diagnosed with a reading or a learning disorder.
- Diagnosed with ADHD or ASD.
- Who have poor working memory.
Adults as well
- Help adults who have struggled with literacy, including spelling, to master these important life skills that may be holding them back in their career path.
- Support working memory and attention as workloads and work pressure tax executive functioning skills.
- There is no age limit in brain plasticity, everyone has the capacity to improve.
Two programs rolled into one
- Reading Assessment completed before program and Post testing completed one week after phase 2 had ended.
- Cognitive Therapy (Phase 1) – 15 sessions of 1 hour each over 3 to 5 weeks.
- Reading Therapy (Phase 2) – 50 sessions over 10 weeks (4x 30 minute sessions on computer at home and 1 center visit each week)
- Students have to complete both phases.
- Different levels depending on different reading levels, strengths and weaknesses.
- Depending on severity additional phases may be needed (See pilot study in side bar for results after only 1 phase of 15 days Cognitive therapy)
Different options available
- Combination of center and home based programming
- The entire program (phase 1 and 2) completed at home
Understanding Brain Plasticity
For years, the scientific community maintained that once our brains have formed they cannot be changed. Our brains were compared to machines. It was thought that after we reach a certain developmental age, we have what we have and are stuck with it. We refer to this as the brain being “hardwired”.
We also believed that if a part of the brain does not develop properly during those key formative years, or if the brain acquires brain injury (concussion, traumatic brain injury or a stroke), it was irreparable.
We now know that this is not true. When we refer to a brain as being “plastic”, we are saying the brain remains malleable. It is NOT hardwired, and it has the ability to change constantly throughout our lives (for better or worse).
What Are Neurons?
A neuron is an electrically excitable cell that processes and transmits information by electrical or chemical signaling. Chemical signaling occurs via synapses, specialized connections with other cells. Neurons connect to each other to form networks. Neurons are the core components of the nervous system, which includes the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral ganglia. One can think of neurons as wires in the brain that transmit information from one location to another.
Each time we learn something, a connection between neurons is formed to process the information. The more we repeat the same task, the stronger the connection becomes. Donald Hebb (1949), a Canadian neuropsychologist coined the phrase “Neurons that fire together, wire together”.
ReadON is a program, which uses brain plasticity to create connections that are responsible for proper reading and comprehension, and which may not be wiring well in children with poor reading skills.
Besides reading, ReadON impacts on:
Executive functions are linked to a neural management committee of cognitive processes, taking information from different senses. It decides when to direct attention to a stimulus and when to direct conscious “thinking power” to this stimulus. Executive functions are responsible for directing concentration so that attention and “thinking power” are sustained.
This has been described as ‘the white board of the mind’. It also manages multi-tasking as the brain can apply different functions at the same time. Very needed in reading decoding, reading comprehension and written expression.
The ability of the cortex to assimilate new information from the different senses in a timely manner, analyze it to make sense, then organize it in a way to produce an effective adaptive response to the stimuli.
Shifting new skills to be stored in the sub-conscious as an automatic skill or piece of knowledge, which can be easily be retrieved. In doing this, it relieves the working memory to be once more available to new learning. If decoding skill can be automatic and effortless, there will be more availability fro reading comprehension and written expression.
The Dual Route To Reading
Emerging readers use a different part of the brain to learn to read than skilled readers do when processing text during visual scanning. We use the parieto-temporal area of the brain to learn to read. When learning to read, students have to decode and identify each letter individually, causing them to read slowly, one-word-at-a-time. Experienced readers use different neural pathways to read: the occipito-temporal area of the brain. Skilled readers have gained automaticity in the basic skills required in reading, and have direct access from vision and auditory pathways to comprehension. This is the epicenter of the ReadON philosophy. If readers do not reach these higher levels of automaticity, their working memories are permanently overloaded. They do not effect the transition in becoming a skilled reader. ReadON has been developed to help these readers create more efficient neural pathways to ease this transition process.
During October and November 2017, we ran a pilot study of 7 students. They were at varying rates of reading difficulty ranging from severe to mild. The students completed only phase 1 (Cognitive Therapy) for 15 days over 3 weeks, 15 hours in total. They were re-assessed 4 weeks after the last day of Cognitive Therapy. The results were remarkable in terms of change in attention considering only 3 weeks. On average 3 to 4 out of 6 students improved, and the larger percentage of those who did not improve started the program with average skill to begin with.
These were some of our findings:
Even though there was no writing involved in the program 6 out of 7 students increased the amount of words they could copy in a shorter space of time. The influence of visual and auditory processing on writing skill was clearly evidenced.
We took video of the students prior to starting the program and again 4 weeks after the last day of the program. No actual reading took place during the computer program as the program focused on strengthening the pathways necessary for reading. Reading material was the during pre and post dates. Bear in mind again, that it was only a period of 15 days.
4/6 students showed and increase in reading more words in one minute. The one student who did not improve was in an average range of reading and was doing the program to improve working memory skills, which was not included in test battery. 2/6 students had a noted shifted in the prosody and intonation of reading.