What is ADHD?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that impacts the parts of the brain that help us plan, focus on, and execute tasks.  It affects how you pay attention, sit still, and control your behavior. It affects millions of children and often continues into adulthood.

Types of ADHD

In order to make ADHD diagnoses more consistent, the American Psychiatric Association grouped the condition into three categories, or types of ADHD.  These categories include: primarily hyperactivity-impulsive, primarily inattentive, and a combination of both. The type of ADHD that you or your child has will determine how it’s treated. It's important to know that the type of ADHD that you have can change over time, so your treatment may also change.

Primarily Hyperactive-Impulsive ADHD

People with primarily hyperactive-impulsive ADHD act “as if driven by a motor” with little impulse control. They have the constant need to move, squirm, and the tendency to talk at even the most inappropriate times. They are often impulsive, impatient, and tend to interrupt others.

Primarily Inattentive ADHD

People with primarliy inattentive ADHD have difficulty with focusing, finishing tasks, and following instructions. They are easily distracted  by everything around them, they are  forgetful and tend to lose things often.

Primarily Combined Type ADHD

This is the most common type of ADHD. People with this type of ADHD display both inattentive and hyperactive symptoms. These symptoms often include an inability to pay attention, a tendency toward impulsiveness, and above-normal levels of activity and energy.

Symptoms of ADHD

It is normal for everyone to have some inattention, unfocused motor activity, and impulsivity. For people with ADHD, these behaviors are more severe, occur more frequently, and they interfere with or reduce the quality of how they function socially, at school, or in a job.
ADHD symptoms can change over time as a person ages.

Hyperactive-impulsive. A child with ADHD:
  • Tends to squirm, fidget, or bounce when sitting
  • Is always “on the go,” as if “driven by a motor”
  • Doesn't stay seated
  • Is always moving, such as running or climbing on things
  • Has trouble playing quietly
  • Talks excessively
  • Has trouble waiting for their turn
  • Blurts out answers
  • Interrupts others
Inattentive. A child with ADHD:
  • Is easily distracted
  • Tends to daydream
  • Doesn't seem to be listening
  • Doesn't follow directions or finish tasks
  • Doesn't pay attention and makes careless mistakes
  • Often loses things
  • Forgets about daily activities
  • Has problems organizing daily tasks
  • Doesn’t like to do things that require sitting still
Combined.
  • This involves signs of both hyperactive-impulsive and inattentive.
Symptoms in adults
Symptoms of ADHD may change as a person gets older. They include:


  • Is often late
  • Is impulsive
  •  Anxiety
  • Low self-esteem
  • Gets frustrated easily
  • Tends to procrastinate
  • Problems at work
  • Trouble controlling anger
  • Substance misuse or addiction
  • Trouble staying organized
  • Will forget things often
  • Often bored
  • Has a hard time concentrating when reading
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Relationship problems

Causes of ADHD:

Experts aren’t exactly sure what causes ADHD. There are several things that may lead to it, including:

  • Genes. ADHD tends to run in families. A child with ADHD has a 1 in 4 chance of having a parent with ADHD.
  • Chemicals. Brain chemicals in people with ADHD may be out of balance
  • A brain injury or a brain disorder. Damage to the front of the brain, called the frontal lobe, can cause problems controlling impulses and emotions
  • Brain changes. Areas of the brain that control attention are less active in children with ADHD.
  • Poor nutrition, infections, smoking, drinking, and substance abuse during pregnancy. These things can affect a baby’s brain development and increase the risk of developing ADHD.
  • Toxins, such as lead. This is rare however it is something that might affect a child's brain development.
Diagnosing ADHD

There is no lab test to diagnose ADHD. To make a diagnosis, your doctor will assess for any ADHD symptoms exhibited by you or your child in the past six months. They will also do a physical exam and review your medical history to rule out any other medical or psychiatric conditions that could be causing your symptoms. Healthcare providers use the guidelines in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) to help diagnose ADHD. This helps ensure that people are appropriately diagnosed and treated for ADHD. 

For a person to receive a diagnosis of ADHD, the symptoms of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity must be chronic or long-lasting, impair the person’s functioning, and cause the person to fall behind typical development for his or her age. Most children with ADHD receive a diagnosis during the elementary school years. For an adolescent or adult to receive a diagnosis of ADHD, the symptoms need to have been present before age 12.

Treatment Options for ADHD

There are lot of options for treating ADHD.  Treatment often requires medical, educational, behavioral and psychological intervention. This comprehensive approach to treatment is sometimes called “multimodal.” This is usually the best way to manage symptoms because it involves using multiple methods of treatment that work together. Depending on the age of the individual with ADHD, treatment may include:

•    parent training
•    medication
•    skills training
•    counseling
•    behavioral therapy
•    educational supports
•    education regarding ADHD

Working closely with health care providers and other professionals, treatment should be tailored to the unique needs of each individual and family to help the patient control symptoms, cope with the disorder, improve overall psychological well-being and manage social relationships.

ADHD can't be prevented or cured. But spotting it early, plus having a good treatment and education plan, can help a child or adult with ADHD manage their symptoms.

Our BrainWorks Cognitive Skills Program

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What is our BrainWorks Cognitive Skills Program?

Our BrainWorks Cognitive Skills program focuses exclusively on training the underlying cognitive skills that make learning possible. We help people learn better by improving their cognitive functioning.

This non-academic training procedures— one-on-one, that targets and strengthens the individual student’s core mental abilities (i.e. processing speed, attention, memory, auditory/visual processing, logic and reasoning). These key skills are every student’s foundation for successful learning, and if overlooked, can create lifelong problems.

Throughout our program, students are paired with their own private Instructor. Through this one-on-one relationship, our BrainWorks Cognitive Skills Program is designed to produce big improvements quickly for every individual.
A Clear Path to Cognitive Skills Training

KoolMinds does more than helping with memorization. Many parents spend hours searching for “tutoring near me.” Our program hones key cognitive skills, including:

AUDITORY DISCRIMINATION

The ability to recognize similarities and differences in the different parts of language.

CONCEPTUALIZATION

Allows us to take abstract concepts to concrete to get to the real meaning of how something is structured and how to apply it.

Learn more about
conceptualization  

CROSS-PATTERNING

Engages both hemispheres of the brain to help activate more neuropathways for the brain to communicate.  Cross-Patterning is the epicenter of most processing abilities and allows free open communication between the right and left brain hemispheres which is a vital skill in retention.

Learn more about
cross-patterning  

DIRECTIONAL ORIENTATION

A necessary skill needed to identify the positions of structures relative to other structures or location.  Seeing “b” as “d,” or “p” as “q,” reading “was” as “saw,” writing from right to left and not knowing right from left are all symptoms of low directional skills.

FIGURE GROUND


The ability to focus on the “figure” or the important stimuli against a background of competing stimuli. The volume of stimuli coming to the brain at any given time is incredible. 
this skill is needed to maintain concentration while being distracted.

Learn more about
figure ground  

FOCUS/CONCENTRATION


Being able to give the appropriate attention to a task until it is completed. A student's ability to keep the eyes and mind on a task long enough to gather all pertinent information can have a profound effect on how the student learns.

Learn more about
focus/concentration  

PROCESSING SPEED


The pace at which we take in information, make sense of it, and begin to respond. The ability of the brain to respond within a given time frame. Weak processing speed is often a problem for students who have difficulty with reading fluency.

Learn more about
processing speed  

TRACKING

The ability for the mind and eyes to gather all necessary pieces of information. One of the major visual skills needed to perform the act of reading is the ability of the eyes to track. During the act of reading, the eyes must accurately follow the lines of the text and move precisely from one word to the next.

Learn more about
tracking  

VISUAL SPATIAL AWARENESS

How we recognize space and the positions and shapes of objects in that given space. This is the skill we use in determining where we are in relation to our physical and emotional world. Frequently, low positioning will cause an inaccurate perception of one’s relationship with others. The skill of size is the skill we use in understanding volume. When perception is too large, tasks may be seen as overwhelming. When perception is too small, tasks may be left to the last minute when completion is impossible.

WORKING MEMORY

Allows us to process and transfer new information from short term memory to long term memory. 


Learn more about
working memory 
How is our BrainWorks Cognitive Skills program different from tutoring?

Tutoring re-teaches material that should have already been learned; but has yet to be learned. If skill weakness is the root cause of you or your child’s learning struggle, tutoring simply cannot correct it!

You should ask; “Why didn’t he/she learn this, the first time it was presented?” Unless the answer is obvious (such as missing school for an extended period of time), tutoring will likely be as frustrating as trying to learn it at school.

We answer a different question: “How strong is his or her ability to learn?” Our testing and training strengthens the key underlying mental skills that are essential for easy, fast learning instead of trying to compensate for skill weaknesses.

KoolMinds techniques are suited for anyone trying to improve their learning skills, or who have learning difficulties. In fact, the process focuses directly on root causes, rather than providing a tutor to repeat information not being processed. Our strategies can, however, improve you or your child’s success in a tutoring center. We have helped many students overcome their learning disabilities and correct cognitive weaknesses. We use proven, hands-on methods that provide permanent improvements to brain functioning so the learning process is enhanced for a lifetime.
Who Can Benefit from our Cognitive Skills Training Program?

Students of all ages! Our training has the power to improve the quality of life and learning for almost any student regardless of their current level of learning or reading success. We can help anyone who wants to learn, read, and think faster and easier. Our cognitive skills program exercises the brain in the same way that a fitness coach works with your muscles, and results are similar – more strength to accomplish the task. Over the past decade we have recorded dramatic results including but not limited to, improved performance in learning, reading, and math skills. We love to help anyone: students of all ages facing new challenges, career professionals looking for a competitive advantage, or those simply wanting to keep or refresh their mental edge for a fun, productive life.

At KoolMinds, we are committed to helping our trainees improve their thinking and brain function: we teach students how to learn.

Anyone can benefit from our Brain Works cognitive skills program, from children to adults; those with learning disabilities will especially see great improvements in their cognitive skills. Among the learning problems our program addresses are:

  • attention deficit disorder (ADD)    
  • attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • central auditory processing disorder
  • reading struggles   
  • math struggles                
  • memory challenges
  • moderate focus struggles
  • high-functioning autism
  • visual processing disorder
  • nonverbal learning disorder 
  • Asperger’s syndrome
  • sensory integration disorder
  • dyslexia
  • aphasia
  • dyspraxia

If you don’t see your child’s or your learning problem listed, please give us a call; these are just some of the many issues we can cater to with our therapy methods.

Often, these learning disorders are due to processing deficits. In other words, it takes too much conscious effort to comprehend reading or math problems. While a fluent reader doesn’t need to sound out each word, for instance, someone with a learning disorder may have to do so. Through our testing, we may find that a student’s crucial brain skills, including attention, memory, auditory and visual processing, and processing speed, may need to be strengthened.

Ideally, these processing skills will become automatic by shifting them into the subconscious. This can be achieved through a very precise and distinct strategy called “loading,” which requires students to do multiple tasks at once. They start with two and, after those are mastered, we add a third task, and then a fourth, and so on. The theory is that the conscious mind can only handle a limited number of tasks at a time. Therefore, some processing tasks are forced into the subconscious, where most processing skills should be. This frees up the conscious mind to do higher-level work, such as comprehension and reasoning.

Learning will now be faster, easier, and more fun!

Frequently asked questions

How can our BrainWorks Cognitive Skills program help?

Normal brain development is not a given, and it’s not based on intelligence. Our Brain Works Cognitive Skills program detects cognitive processing weaknesses through specialized testing so that subsequent training can be focused on areas that need the most help.

Even the most active and restless students will enjoy the cognitive training method. They participate in a series of fun and challenging hands-on, mentally and physically stimulating exercises. These are specially designed to increase the connective ability between the essential processing skills. As a result, the potential for learning improves and the student’s confidence soars.

What’s It Like to Go Through our BrainWorks Cognitive Skills Program?

Our Brain Works Cognitive Skills Program is fun and exciting with serious goals to obtain. The average student will take about 6 months to complete the training needed to make a lifelong change. In this 6-month brain training process, we seek a 2 to 3-year scholastic and learning ability improvement. In most situations, the training exercises need to be conducted a total of 5 times per week for about one hour. We can usually involve a parent or loved one to participate in exercises at home.
In our most common program, we conduct one weekly office session with a student and parent. In these sessions, the parent becomes trained while working with one of our trained Cognitive Skills Brain Works instructors. This allows the parent to follow through with 4 additional home sessions. Other program options would include up to 4 office sessions per week, making for fewer home sessions. We currently offer programs from 1 to 4 offices sessions per week with the remaining sessions conducted at home to reach 5 weekly sessions.

How does our Brainworks Cognitive Skills program promote reading success?

Some students do not bring sufficient cognitive skills to the task of learning to read quickly and efficiently. Even if the reading code (letter sounds and combinations) is taught completely and sequentially, strong cognitive skills must be in place.

A student with a severe auditory processing deficiency, one who cannot concentrate adequately, works too slowly, has poor memory skills, or cannot create good mental images, will complete lessons slowly or exhibit poor retention. If such a student completes our program, the stronger cognitive skills that result enable the student to learn rapidly, read faster, comprehend and retain more as they read.

Is it possible to outgrow learning struggles?

Learning struggles rarely go away with time. On the contrary, waiting and hoping a problem will go away without appropriate intervention will only lead to frustration, poor grades, low motivation, and time wasted in school.

Cognitive skills testing will uncover the source of the struggle, and guide you to a training strategy that can make the difference.
So, the reality is: “Intelligence is not fixed or unchanging!”
Potential is the possibility that something can develop or become actual. Obviously you or your child has the potential to actually improve reading, spelling, comprehension, and change overall intelligence, as science now proves. The “gap” between untapped potential and performance can be closed with the right brain training. If this weren’t possible any efforts aimed at improvement—study, practice, drills—would be meaningless. Tell that to the winner of the school spelling bee, accomplished musician, or star athlete!

What can you do? Uncover the source of what’s keeping you or your child’s full potential from being released. Have his or her cognitive skills tested to reveal these “gaps” caused by cognitive weaknesses. The test results will guide you to a powerful training strategy to help you or your child realize his or her own potential. If cognitive skills weaknesses are at the root of you or your child’s trouble, traditional solutions like tutoring might not be the answer. Our programs create results that are dramatic and lasting and we’ve got the numbers to prove it!

Using the “gold standard” of cognitive skills testing – the Woodcock Johnson Test, we measure the cognitive skills of every client before and after brain training. Whenever possible, we measure again a full year later. Our BrainWorks Cognitive Skills program enhances the learning process by developing cognitive skills.

How Do the Left and Right Sides of the Brain Impact Learning?

Both sides of the brain are needed for learning. The left side of the brain controls thinking and logic more than the right, so left brain learning styles focus more on words, sequencing, mathematics, linear thinking, facts, and logic. The right brain is involved in imagination, rhythm, visualizing feelings, art, and holistic thinking. Although different functions can be found on either side, both hemispheres of the brain are interconnected by numerous nerve fibers.

The functions attributed to one side or another do not necessarily impact learning style. You may be engaged in a logical task or creating something artistic. Both sides of the brain are still functioning and providing input. Even when you are doing math problems, the left brain may be crunching the equations, but the right side enables you to compare data and estimate values.
A choice of left brain vs. right brain teaching techniques can assist a student who may be more analytical or visual, but everyone uses both sides of the brain when learning.

Left brain learning activities may limit auditory distractions, use word lists, include puzzles, or individual study. Right brain learning techniques often involve charts, graphs, and maps to accommodate students with visual and spatial aptitudes. They can also focus on visual reinforcements, study guides like worksheets, creative projects, group activities, and integrating music with classroom instruction.

Our Cognitive Skills program, however, doesn’t necessarily target the right or the left side separately. It is focused on cognitive development. The content learned in class isn’t the primary concern. That would be the exercises and processes used to strengthen cognition. This strategy helps get to the root of learning difficulties and address weak cognitive skills head on, so, instead of repeating a process, the results are lasting because the core skill is strengthened.