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Brain Fitness Pro Jr - Research

Many studies have tied a child’s working-memory capacity with his or her ability to focus in school and perform well academically. Extensive evidence links working memory to performance in literacy and numeracy1. A study of over 3,000 primary-school children connected working memory impairment to below-average scores in reading and math2. And recent research confirms that working memory capacity, not IQ, predicts academic success3. Learning disabilities such as dyslexia, ADHD, and developmental coordination disorder, exhibit a similar pattern4. Children with working memory impairment find it difficult to remember instructions and complete tasks, thereby putting their academic success at risk5.

Research laboratories around the world study working memory, looking at the connection between working memory capacity and intelligence, success at emotional regulation6, and other cognitive abilities7, furthering the understanding of autism8 and ADHD9, and improving teaching methods.

1 Cowan, N., & Alloway, T.P.. Development of Memory in Childhood, 2nd edition. Hove, England: Psychology Press
2 Alloway, T.P., Gathercole, S.E, Kirkwood, H.J., & Elliott, J.E. The cognitive and behavioral characteristics of children with low working memory
3 Alloway, T.P. Working memory, but not IQ, predicts subsequent learning in children with learning difficulties. European Journal of Psychological Assessment
4 Alloway, T.P. & Gathercole, S.E. (2006, Editors). Working memory and neurodevelopmental conditions. Hove, England: Psychology Press
5 Gathercole, S.E. & Alloway, T.P. (2008). Working memory & learning: A practical guide. London: Sage Press
6 Schmeichel, B. J., Volokhov, R., & Demaree, H. A. (2008). Working memory capacity and the self-regulation of emotional expression and experience. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
7 Conway, A. R. A., Jarrold, C., Kane, M. J., Miyake, A., & Towse, J. N. (Eds.). (2007). Variation in working memory. New York: Oxford University Press
8 Kenworthy L, Yerys BE, Anthony LG, Wallace GL (2008). "Understanding executive control in autism spectrum disorders in the lab and in the real world". Neuropsychol Rev.
9 Levy, F., & Farrow, M. (2001). Working memory in ADHD: prefrontal/parietal connections. Curr Drug Targets

Barbara Arrowsmith's Story
As a child, Barbara Arrowsmith Young suffered from a variety of serious learning dysfunctions. She found even straightforward concepts difficult to grasp, creating an almost insurmountable hurdle to learning. Despite or perhaps because of these deficits, Barbara had an excellent memory; this and hard work enabled to her to get through school and go on to college.

As a young woman, she stumbled on the work of Mark Rosenzweig of the University of Berkeley. Working with rats Rosenzweig had found that introducing rats to mazes and other forms of stimulation caused their brains to grow larger and healthier with more connections than rats left unstimulated. Rosenzweig's research prompted Barbara to wonder whether similar intensive stimulation might prompt her brain to grow and adapt, too.

Barbara designed exercises to stimulate the parts of her mental makeup that didn't work so well. To train herself to read an analog clock, for instance, she made hundreds of index cards with clock hands on one side and the correct time on the other. Training her brain for hours each day over a period of many months, Barbara gradually began to perform mental feats that had evaded her her whole life. With time she overcame her deficits altogether.

Barbara went on to found and run the Arrowsmith School in Toronto, Canada where children can enroll in programs to assess and correct a broad array of learning issues.

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