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Cognitive

“How does the brain change and develop during the first five years of life? ”

Although all of the neurons in the cortex are produced before birth, they are poorly connected. And, with brains, it is ‘connectivity’ that really makes the difference.

By analogy, think of the internet. From one perspective, all of the storage and processing power lies in the computers – the nodes. But it is the network of connectivity that allows for the coordination of all of that node power into the revolutionary force that is the internet. Likewise, in terms of developing the capacity for complex learning and mentation, it is the connection points – or synapses – that imbue children with the brainpower to handle more and more complex tasks.

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Verbal/Linguistic

“At what age should I expect my child to be talking? ”

Children vary, especially when it comes to developmental dynamics and milestones. And parents are often overly obsessed with tracking this process minute-to-minute, and then generalizing and extrapolating into big conclusions. Is my child gifted? A genius? Below average?

This is especially true for language development. But it is important to remember that some children who begin talking later than most go on to become geniuses who change the world. And vice versa.

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Cognitive

“Is physical exercise good for the brain? ”

Recent research has almost unequivocally demonstrated that physical exercise is highly beneficial to brain health. Routine exercise not only regulates disease risk factors such as unhealthy blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels – effects that are independently detrimental to brain health – but also influences the brain in a much more direct manner.

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Visual/Spatial

“What is ADHD and what symptoms should I look for?”

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) states that ADHD affects approximately 5% of children1 and 4% of adults2 in the U.S. Recent CDC monitoring suggests these numbers continue to increase as awareness and public education have become more widespread.3 The symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder include high activity level, impulsivity, low frustration tolerance, difficulty remaining focused on a task, forgetfulness and easy distractibility. These are all personality traits that we all, to some degree, manifest. These traits must occur at a high enough level to interfere with learning and daily activities to meet criteria for ADHD.

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Cognitive

“How is ADHD assessed and diagnosed? ”

Assessment and diagnosis of ADHD is dependent on age.5,6 Young children naturally have higher activity levels and shorter attention spans than older children, and certainly adults. Therefore there cannot be strict measurements of an ability or length of time a child should remain on a given task. The various assessments are designed to determine if the limitations of a child’s ability to remain focused interferes with age appropriate tasks. For example, a second grader should be able to remain focused and complete 5 basic mathematics problems without getting distracted. A forth grader should be able to accomplish more with increasing distractions that are typical in an higher grade classroom or during homework time at home.

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