Welcome to the October 2014 edition of The Learning Brain.

This month I am delighted to tell you that Heidi Middlebrook, one of our most experienced specialists has won the Cogmed Coach of the Year award. Heidi works with many students who are seeking to improve their working memory via the Cogmed working memory program.

This month’s publication of The Learning Brain coincides with Term 3 school holidays. I hope you get a good rest (if you are a teacher), or enjoy the short break from the daily routine of getting your children off to school each morning.

Kind regards,

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Exercise before school may reduce ADHD symptoms in kids

Paying attention all day in school as a kid isn’t easy, especially for those who are at a higher risk of ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

A new study from Michigan State University and University of Vermont shows that offering daily before-school aerobic activities to younger at-risk children could help in reducing ADHD symptoms in the classroom and at home. Read more.

What’s New?

Cogmed Coach of the Year Winner!

LearnFast’s Cogmed Coach, Heidi Middlebrook, has been named Cogmed Coach of the Year for the 2014/2015 year. Congratulations Heidi! Heidi received the award at the Australian Cogmed Conference in Melbourne last month. She was also on the expert panel at the conference.

Cogmed training is for people who are constrained by their working memory and who wish to improve their ability to concentrate. Cogmed is provided to both Schools and Home users by LearnFast. We will share further information about Cogmed with you over the coming weeks.

Book of the Month

The Explosive Child


A Helpful Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children by Ross W. Greene.

The Explosive Child offers a helping hand to parents who may feel overwhelmed by having to deal with children whose reactions to everyday stimuli may be far more extreme than normal. Read more.

What’s On?



Is Auditory Processing Disorder Holding Your Child Back at School?

Recorded Webinar Hosted by Dr Martha Burns

Would you like a better understanding of what auditory processing is (and isn’t)? How auditory processing skills hold your child back at school? Join Dr. Martha Burns on this recorded webinar to learn all about this elusive, but important factor in children’s literacy development. Dr. Burns is the author of over 100 journal articles and multiple books and is a leading expert on how children learn.

Does Your Child have Challenges like Brodie?

“I would never have begun to imagine that he could make progress on the scale that he has. It ‘s been absolutely incredible”.

That’s Heather Walker, grandmother of Brodie, an 11 year old severely dyslexic boy, describing the extraordinary improvements that the Fast ForWord program made to his reading.



Watch Brodie’s mother and grandmother describe the changes Brodie got from using the Fast ForWord programs for 6 months, including how he is now reading Harry Potter novels, and how his confidence has improved.


Questions and Answers

Do you have questions about your child or students? Email us

Question: My son’s teacher thinks he may have dyslexia and has suggested he sees the school psychologist for an assessment. What does a dyslexia assessment involve?

Answer: As the name implies (Dys=difficulty, Lexia=word) dyslexia is difficulty with the written word, namely with reading, writing and spelling.

Initially we need to know that the student’s hearing and vision are sound.

Then an assessment for dyslexia should include evaluating the student’s cognitive abilities and the skills that underpin reading and writing known as phonemic awareness. This includes the student’s knowledge of sound-letter association and the ability to segment and blend sounds and syllables in words.

The assessment should include evaluating the student’s ability to read both real and non-words, read in context and spell. The assessment should also evaluate the student’s “ working memory” and their “rapid naming” ability which have been shown to be underdeveloped in students with dyslexia.