Research Tested, Parent Approved

by Kurt Dragomanovich

Almost every day, we here at CLC overhear a parent talking about their child’s struggle with reading, inability to pay attention, or difficulty listening to and understanding what their teacher is saying in class! Little do these parents know that an online-based program backed by over thirty years of independent research could make a difference for their child in as little as 30 minutes a day.

Fast ForWord does what no other intervention can do: it starts…

Music Therapy & Speech Language Pathology

What is Music Therapy?

Music Therapy is the use of music to achieve goals. Some of these goals may be musical, social, emotional, communicative, behavioral or cognitive. What makes it therapy is a few things, One is that a therapeutic relationship is established between patient and child. Another is that all the goals are objectives for the patient are clinical, and they are achieved through the use of specified interventions. Every child will have different goal areas and needs so no two Music Therapy sessions ever look alike.

How does it work with Speech Therapy?

Music Therapy and Speech Therapy are different…

Little Language Learner’s Club

The Little Language Learner’s Club is about to finish its first 8 week cycle and will be starting again on May 7.   The club is a parent involved class that focuses on language development and developing social skills with peers.  The fathers, mothers, and the children who participated have had a great time while learning early readiness skills to help the children transition to a preschool setting.

Our therapist, Shannon Johnson, who created and runs the Club, says “each week you can see the children blossom into able learners who…

Are you wasting your time with homework?

by Rebecca Wage

Perhaps you or your child thinks homework is a waste of time.   An article by Scientific Learning breaks down “The Great Homework Debate” by exploring the arguments for and against homework.

It seems reasonable that a child’s time outside the classroom should be spent exercising or having quality family time.  Is homework an archaic institution that needs revamping, or does it still serve a purpose in modern child’s life? To answer this question, it is important to recognize that all homework is not cast from the same mold. Homework’s value is dependent on many factors, including the age…

What is your tech IQ?

by Kathryn Wage

Few of us have escaped the impact of smart phones, tablets, computers or e-readers in our lives. Even if you are one of the few who have avoided owning these devices you are confronted by the fact that your doctor, your teacher, your family, and your support system all rely on smart technology to an increasing degree.

One of the most promising areas where technology has had an impact is in learning environments. Just a few years ago it was rare to see a teacher or therapist with a tablet computer or smart phone using it for teaching…

Artzy, Schmartzy: Why should we care?

by Kathryn Wage

Since the 1980s the availability of art education (music and visual arts) in schools has been on the decline. Continuing tight budgets have made it difficult to reinstate art education programs once they have been cut. Statistics show that most often the cuts are made in schools where there are more minority children.

Cutting the arts may seem like the least essential piece of education and the easiest to cut when compared to the basics, but what are we losing when we make these cuts? It turns out that we are losing essential skills that make all learning…

Relax Your Way to Better Health and Clearer Thinking

by Kathryn Wage

Western medicine has come to realize that mind and body are connected: when our mind is troubled, disease follows close behind. What has seemed mysterious and shrouded in religious practice or strongly held belief systems can now be explained as “taking care of our minds” by focusing our thinking on calming healing practices.

Dr. Herbert Benson, from the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital has led the way in this understanding and described something he called the “relaxation response”, the opposite of stress. When we are stressed our body reacts with a genetically programmed…

Homework Headaches

by Rebecca Wage and Alyssa Rendon

What is the deal with homework these days? Seems like even our first graders are hunched over their text books and notepads until their bedtime. Time spent on homework can be excessive; however, there are many reasons why this time for review is a critical part of learning.

In some classrooms homework is worth as much as 50% of a student’s grade! Teachers emphasize homework because it catalyzes the learning that happens in the classroom. Homework assignments should improve thinking, memory, time management, and reinforce lifetime study skills. Furthermore students retain information better after practicing lessons taught in class. Students learn to…

Got Sleep?

by Kathryn Wage

Are you getting enough sleep? New studies suggest that chronic sleep deprivation is a widespread public health problem. Sleepiness and lack of attentiveness are not the only consequences of sleep deprivation; your overall health suffers as well. According to studies presented at the October 2012 Neuroscience annual meeting:

  • One in five American adults show signs of chronic sleep deprivation, making the condition a widespread public health problem.
  • Sleeplessness is related to health issues such as obesity, cardiovascular problems, and memory problems.
  • Children who experience sleep deprivation are more likely to have learning and behavioral problems.

Some of the measurable findings about…

Too Much Seat Time?

by Kathryn Wage

I recently read an article in Inc. online magazine titled “Your Desk is Making You Stupid”. That title caught my attention since I do spend more time than I want to at my desk on some days and maybe you do too. The article by Jessica Stillman is based on an article from the British Psychological Society’s Research Digest that found working memory performance for children and adults improved when participants walked at their chosen speed while performing memory tasks. So rather than the common belief that dual tasking takes brain power away from mental…

Can You Hear Me Now? A Boomer’s Guide to Listening Problems

by Kathryn Wage

Can you relate to this conversation?  I say, “Boy, it’s a windy day today.”  My husband says, “No, it’s not, it’s Thursday.”  This type of little exchange gets replayed again and again with increasing frequency in Boomer households.  Is it hearing loss?  Is it selective listening? Or is it a symptom of a brain that is working less effectively?  No matter what the reason for this type of misunderstanding, there can be serious emotional friction between spouses, especially when one partner does not acknowledge the problem.   The real reason for conversation breakdowns is not always what you…

I Want to Say….

by Kathryn Wage

Kayla Takeuchi is no stranger to starring in feature films. “I Want to Say” is a new film about Kayla and others who use technology in new and exciting ways to move past their limitations and take their place in the world.  Hewlett Packard started the project to find new markets for their TouchSmart technology.  From their efforts emerged Hacking Autism, an initiative to develop and deploy technology to give people with autism a voice.  You can read more about the movie and watch a trailer at the link below.

The Power Of An Insight Poignantly…

Feeling Overwhelmed?

by Kathryn Wage

How many people do you know who would answer a resounding “YES!!!” to this question?

Most of us, at one time or another, feel that there is too much to do and not enough time. Time Management Consultants make a living helping others manage time, priorities and life events so that more can be accomplished. Our electronic devices including computers, tablets and smart phones have certainly changed our lives. Could we call these changes an improvement? Or just a more intrusive and demanding path to becoming a slave to get things done anytime, anywhere?

Have we reached the point…

The Mysterious Case of the Unhappy Learner

by Kathryn Wage

What happened to that well-adjusted, smart child who had a great summer away from school? Are you seeing homework meltdowns, hearing from the teacher that there are behavioral concerns, or getting progress reports that are dismal? You wonder why your once well-adjusted child is now unhappy, distracted or acting out. If only your child would “try harder” to pay attention in class. Tears, anger, frustration and withdrawal now replace the happy well-adjusted behavior that was the norm all summer long. If this scenario sounds familiar, it may not be so mysterious: your child may have…

Keeping Your Brain Young and Vital

by Kathryn Wage, for Posit Science

Keeping your brain healthy should be a high priority, no matter what your age. Just as maintaining your physical health contributes to a high standard of quality of life, good brain health supports your potential for success and wellbeing. When you are young, obtaining enough nutrients and fostering a rich, nurturing environment leads to good cognitive skills for learning. When you are middle-aged, you rely on your brain to excel at work and in your personal life, so that you can meet daily demands without faltering. In the later years, you may be concerned about your brain health and wonder what consequences brain health might have on your independence and…

Helping Children Interact with the World

by Kathryn Wage

What can be done to help a child learn to interact with the world in a positive manner? Children with delayed social interaction skills frequently raise concerns for parents and teachers. Sometimes direct training is needed when good parenting and school support are not enough. At CLC, our goal for each child is to develop understanding and self-control over time so that gradually less structure will be needed from adults.

One successful method to teach self control is the ALERT program. The program teaches children to monitor their own internal body state and practice strategies for self-regulation when they are over or under responsive. Social stories offer another way to develop insight and appropriate…

Boost Your Child’s Summer Learning

Summer will be here soon and it is time to plan how your child will spend the long summer days. Without practice and stimulation, students can lose up to three months of learning from the prior year. During the summer, small individualized programs with parent involvement yield the best results for maintaining skills or accelerating learning. Look for programs that have a history of producing gains and keeping children engaged in learning.

For more than 10 years, the California Learning Connection has provided summer acceleration and enrichment experiences for students with and without learning challenges. Each of our programs is designed…

Your Brain on Vacation

by Kathryn Wage

Have you had a vacation this summer?  Most of us can hardly wait to get away from the routines of daily life, the valley heat and the other stressors that surround us. You may think you know what the benefits of leaving town are but there is little documented research about what really happens when we “go on vacation.”  Good news! Neuroscience research supports our desires for a vacation and points out the benefits for all ages of brains.

It turns out that going on vacation can improve your creative thinking especially if you travel to multicultural environments. …

New Year’s Brain Resolutions

by Kathryn Wage

Okay, so you put on a few extra pounds over the holidays. It happens. One thing that advertisers know about January is that it is the time for resolutions, new beginnings and new habits that may or may not stick. As you plan for the New Year include thinking about your brain health plan.

As you know, the brain does not come with a lifetime warranty or with replacement parts. Your brain is the only brain you will ever have. That fact alone should cause you to pause and appreciate all it does for you every day. Besides…

Play with a Purpose

by Kathryn Wage

This is the season where once again the latest and greatest new technology is put before us as a temptation. If you are purchasing gifts for friends or family you may want to consider gifts that keep on giving, even when the novelty has worn off. Certainly in these tighter economic times looking for value in what we spend money on is a priority.

Finding economic value in play makes more dollars and sense than you may think at first. The key is deciding what you want to encourage and knowing that with the right kind of play…

Ouch! My Brain Hurts!

by Kathryn Wage

Hardly a week goes by when there is not an article in the news about a new learning method promising astonishing results, based on brain science, and supported by anecdotal evidence. It can be very confusing and seductive to read about the improvement that is seen based on a personal story and want that for someone in your life who is dealing with challenges. We naturally want good things for our loved ones.

Concerns about difficulty communicating in a social setting, academic struggles,weakened problem solving skills, or lack of ability to keep up with the flow of life…

One size does NOT fit All; Especially in Learning!

by Kathryn Wage

Our brains and the ability to learn are the most amazing and highly unique characteristics of being human. We have unbelievable capacities for gathering, retaining and expressing information, emotion and creativity. What’s even more amazing is that each of us has our own pathway in retrieving, receiving and reproducing what we learn. The French say “Viva la différence!” We should embrace learning in this same way.

XS (“X”cellent Systems)

With highly trained experts in the areas of Speech-Language and Occupational Therapy as well as Tutors certified in specialized programs for academic expansion, the California Learning Connection has the ability…

May I have your attention, PLEASE?

by Kathryn Wage

It’s likely that at some time in your life you have thought about Attention Deficit Disorder. Maybe you know someone who has this diagnosis and takes medication to manage the symptoms. Possibly you have experienced one or more of the symptoms (distractibility, impulsivity, and hyperactivity) yourself and have wondered if you fit the diagnostic criteria.

Currently in medicine and psychology there is no fail-safe way to diagnose or treat ADHD so each individual becomes a test case, with trial and error as part of the assessment.

In spite of many well-meaning theories, we now know that ADHD is not…

Comprehensive Treatment Offers Hope for Autism

by Kathryn Wage

Autism is a neurologically based condition that affects many areas of development including speech, language, social interaction, behavior and motor skills. Parents of children with autism are often bewildered about the best choice for treatment and are uncertain of how to ensure their child receives appropriate services.

Though very little data exists on early treatment in Autism there are encouraging recent studies that demonstrate early treatment has a positive effect on the development of the child with autism. Recent studies also show that appropriate comprehensive intervention for children as young as 18 months of age can improve symptoms…

The Myth of the Late Bloomer

by Kathryn Wage

Research demonstrates that “late bloomers” do not automatically catch up to their peers when it comes to learning. Children who are struggling in school continue to struggle until they leave high school, unless they have appropriate, early intervention. Some factors that negatively impact learning include:

  • poor body awareness and coordination
  • poor self-regulation
  • poor motor planning
  • weak communication skills
  • poor listening ability
  • having a learning style that is substantially different from the way the material is being taught

You can intervene before the cycle of failure begins if you are aware of early signs that indicate your child is struggling in school or developing poor…

The Importance of Play

by Kathryn Wage

As children we all enjoyed play. Through play essential communication skills, social skills, emotional skills, problem solving abilities, and interpersonal skills all begin to develop. Many children will learn these skills and behaviors from adults, which is why it is important that parents begin playing with their child at an early age. Unfortunately, children with special needs sometimes have limited opportunity for play because of behavioral or medical issues.

This is concerning given the importance of play in the development of children. At the California Learning Connection, we provide services that can assist you and your child. We…