“Sparks of Genius Brain Training has put the ‘Spark’ in my 10-year old’s eye! The video games are fun for him and I like that it goes beyond and he is learning to be a well-rounded child. Dr. Rohn Kessler grasps the nature and needs of the child (and parent).” Deb, J.T.’s mom, South Florida
Daniel: An ADHD Success Story
Daniel was hyperactive in kindergarten and could not focus, listen or follow instructions. Diagnosed with ADHD at age 6, his parents enrolled him in Sparks of Genius. Daniel was intense, sensitive and bright with a terrific sense of humor.
Daniel trained 3 hours a month at the office and his parents made sure that he did 2+ hours a week on a home computer.
After 25 hours his attention, listening and self-control skills improved significantly. Daniel advanced to training executive function skills, where he learned how to organize, plan, prioritize and set goals.
Reading, singing, comedy and drawing were some of his passions. Daniel loved LEGO’S and we introduced him to LEGO Mindstorm, where he enjoyed building robots.
One day his father brought Daniel to the office and mentioned that it took his son forever to complete math homework. When Dad returned 60 minutes later he was pleasantly surprised that the math homework was completed…for the entire week! This was due mostly to Daniel’s improved executive function skills.
After 50 hours of brain training Daniel successfully completed his program and was awarded the “Most Improved 7 year Old.”
At a 2-year follow-up at the end of third grade Mom reported that Daniel was happy, attentive, got good grades and still kept his unique personality. He had been chosen to enter a school contest on robotics and was the youngest of six students chosen to represent the school at higher levels of competition. His team went on to win a trophy and they voted to give it to Daniel.
This testimonial came in when he was in 9th grade: “Hi, Dr. Kessler! Today when I got Dan’s 3rd quarter report card I thought of you. He’s now a sophomore and doing really well in school and part of his success I’m sure is thanks to the work he did with you. I hope we can meet one of these days. You’d be pleased to see that Dan has become a confident, intelligent, pleasant young man and focused (most of the time…)! I’m happy to see that your work is spreading out and you’re helping more and more kids. Thank you for making a difference in all our lives! Wish you all the best, always. J.V.
Alex: Extreme Sports and ADHD
Kids with ADHD can be attracted to Extreme Sports because the excitement helps to focus their brains. Alex is an extreme sports kid with one passion – intense physical activity. He excels at skateboarding, rollerblading, biking and water skiing. But his mother was concerned about her 11 year old son’s:
- Challenging, defiant behavior
- Poor attention skills
- Lack of interest in school and avoidance of homework
Referrals to several psychologists were unsuccessful and mom’s fear was that that Alex was setting himself up for failure.
Mom enrolled Alex at Sparks of Genius in the beginning of 6th grade. Mom hoped that the program would
- Strengthen attention skills
- Reduce impulsivity and defiant behavior
- Develop a more positive attitude
- Improve academics
Alex took the Educational ADHD Assessment, which indicated multiple intelligence strengths including Mathematics and Kinesthetics (using his body in skilled and complicated ways). Weak areas were Self-Knowledge and Goal Achievement.
His mother wanted to withhold these activities as punishment. I recommended that Alex be allowed to continue them for 30 days if he agreed to:
- Do 2 + hours of brain training a week
- Attend all appointments
- Agree to the Sparks of Genius Code: best effort, total responsibility, persevere, spark genius
Alex agreed, started training and began make progress after one month. Earning the reward of continuing extreme sport activities he trained hard for another 3 months. Attention, cognition and self-control were strengthening and impulsivity and defiant behavior were less frequent and intense. Mom confirmed Alex’s behavior, attitude and effort were getting better at home (more respectful and cooperative) and at school (handing in homework, improving grades).
His weak areas, Self-Knowledge and Goal Achievement, were gradually strengthened by coaching and following the Sparks of Genius Code of best effort, personal responsibility, persevere, spark genius.
As a reward Dr. Kessler started teaching Alex how to juggle. Alex excelled, which not a surprise was given his natural kinesthetic abilities.
As the school year came to an end, the middle school Principal approached him and Alex thought he might be in trouble. Instead she applauded his improvements in academics and behavior and asked him to juggle on stage at the year-end main event. His mother, thrilled at the change in her son, purchased juggling balls which glowed brightly in the dark auditorium. Alex put on quite a show and ended the year on a high note.
Sophia: Saved by Music
“From our perspective, it is increasingly clear that with enough focused attention, training in the arts likely yields cognitive benefits that go beyond “art for art’s sake.” Or, to put it another way, the art form that you truly love to learn may also lead to improvements in other brain functions.” Dr. Michael I. Posner with Brenda Patoine.
Sophia’s mother was concerned because her 12 year old daughter was moody and underachieving in school. Unfocused, unmotivated, and disorganized, she also had test anxiety.
Sophia’s passion was music. She excelled at the flute and also played the clarinet, piano, harp and saxophone.
When Sophie was assessed at Sparks of Genius we identified some challenges (Self-Knowledge and Goal Achievement) but many strengths: Musical (skill playing an instrument), Spatial (artistic), Intrapersonal (effective personal relationships) and Naturalist (animal care).
Sophia’s program focused on 1) strengthening executive skills 2) boosting self-awareness and goal achievement 3) reducing test anxiety and 4) sparking genius.
We used executive skills coaching to teach Sophia how to organize, plan and prioritize so she could achieve her goals, especially in music. Sophia began biofeedback training to help her gain control over her emotions and reduce anxiety. This improved her ability to concentrate and raised a few test scores.
Coming to Sparks of Genius became the highlight of her week. Encouraged to perform solos, play in orchestras and enter competitions, Sophia became more aware of herself and confident of her talents.
At the end of her program, Sophia still had more work to do on herself. By following the Sparks of Genius Code (best effort, personal responsibility, perseverance and spark genius) to the best of her ability, she had built a foundation to meet the challenges of adolescence.