You just fasted for fourteen hours (dinner to breakfast) and now you have an active busy day to get underway. Your brain is ready for a starter. It needs a balanced protein nutrient to support you and perform at its best for you ALL DAY!
When I first began looking at what we were eating for breakfast in our household, I was shocked at my neglect of our welfare. I thought I was doing a really good job serving cranberry juice cocktail or orange juice and raisin bran cereal. Well, the good part was the bran cereal did have good fiber but the rest of it was very high in concentrated sugars! In fact, I could have served the equivalent in sugar of a coke and cherry pie for breakfast!
Now, we have a protein shake and oatmeal for breakfast. We still have good fiber but the sugar has been seriously controlled! Here is a recipe for a protein shake that you can work with that actually tastes quite good!
Blend: 1/4C protein powder (unsweetened -whey or soy or other)
1 C filtered water
1T flax oil (don=t let them see you put it in!)
1T organic frozen orange concentrate / or unsweetened cranberry extract (for urinary track health!)
1 T lecithin
1 fresh banana
1 frozen banana
2T Kefir (to benefit intestinal health – if there are no dairy reactions)

If necessary to tempt children to enjoy the shake, gradually add the other ingredients to the base ingredients of frozen banana, protein powder and water. Use chocolate protein powder if necessary or carob. The orange concentrate – without added sugar – and powder and a bit of pure vanilla with water will taste like an orange Julius. Gradually add the other ingredients to increase your health benefits! Enjoy!

We periodically get questions from people who have taken our courses, read our books or implemented edu-therapeutics into their school rooms or private practices. The following is a request from Vicky relating to the programming of one of her clients who is being home schooled.

I tested a student last week who is 15-8 diagnosed two years ago with Noonan Syndrome. His early milestones were within normal limits but he did have to have a feeding tube about the time he was learning to crawl and has always been a picky eater. He is home-schooled and doing seventh grade work although his age level would suggest ninth grade placement.
If something is being read to him or if he is involved in a family discussion, his mother said he has a different perspective than the other people involved. He will remember obscure facts and not get the obvious. What he gets out of a conversation may be quite different than the other people involved. He can learn something one day and it will be gone the next. He can be given three directions at a time – no more – or he forgets.
His mother says he needs time to process things: for example, he toured a radio station recently. When asked about it he said it was OK and gave no further feedback. A few days later he gave details on the tour. This is typical.
He took the Stanford Achievement Test in July of 2008 (fifth grade test) and had an average verbal score at this level. His nonverbal score was below average as was his math and spelling.
Socially his friends tend to be younger than he which is consistent with his small physical stature. He appears to have normal social interactions.
FYI: CAB scores for Vis Constr 79%, Aud Constr 71%, Syllable Dictation 60%, Word recognition 6th Grade level: 20%, Comprehension 5th/6th grade level 40%. Sentence Dictation at 5th grade level 30%, Visual and Auditory Sequencing 58%.

This is our response which is applicable to this case but can also apply other students with similar processing delays.
Good description, Vicky, and thanks for asking~
First, for those who are unfamiliar with Noonan Syndrome. It is a syndrome which is thought to originate from a genetic mutation. It is often identified shortly after birth by specific facial characteristics. There is often abnormal development -structurally – of different parts of the body such as ribs, spine, indented chest and or webbed neck. There is usually a congenital heart defect and short stature. Sometimes there are learning problems identified with the syndrome.
This student has been quite fortunate to have few of the symptoms of this syndrome. He is also fortunate to have a parent who has the capability of home-schooling and providing supportive activities.
I think you already have identified that he has a delay in his processing/ response time. I would like to see a TOVA – Response Speed score on him if it is possible. Without that information, it is apparent that he requires mulling-time! This is why his responses in a conversation are based on a few, specific details and he appears to be missing the gestalt. The ah-hah! does not occur to him until much later. I have known students, including Luci, in Learning Victories, who would have an experience and then tell me that they got it in the middle of the night, or the next day.
One of the things that is happening at this point in his schooling is he is being asked to do more frontal brain activities which require the organization, conclusion generating, mental set shifts, processing , storing, and retrieving of information. In our earlier school years, most learning is- here is a fact – this ball is red – what color is the ball? – Red – Task completed. It is one level of learn, storage, retrieve.

Now he is at a level in which he is expected to learn information, apply it to past learned information and come up with new information. I think you will recognize this as Executive Function skills and you know that this is a primarily frontal lobe activity. So the activities we want to develop here are executive function skills. Planning, organizing, self-monitoring with feedback, anticipating outcomes/consequences, being able to shift concepts and thinks abstractly, goal setting, verbally regulating tasks/behaviors, time perception, internal ordering, and developing a perspective of how others are impacted by our behaviors. And in this instance we need to work with the speed of processing, also. (Many of these are described on DVD 108 -Executive Function Skills)
Big job – but doable!
The most difficult part of this job is learning to lead the student toward learning a skills without directing him to do it. You will find that to this point your student is tempted to be a passive learner. In other words, he is expecting that it is your job to teach him. Now we want to shift to it being his job to learn. At first this will slow down his progress on gaining new skills, but eventually it will allow him to be an independent, self-actualized learner.
Begin if you wish, with time concepts. Ask him to set his schedule for the day. First, have him identify all the things that he has to do in the day – from getting up to brushing his teeth, to eating, math, reading, history, TV, game time, etc. Have him create a full days schedule …you can ask prompting questions like… what are the things you do every day?… How would a schedule look to you? Let him experience his responses. For instance, if he takes a small piece of paper and writes the hours on it, let him experience attempting to get all the activities on the paper, let him learn that he needs more space. The one suggestion you can make is… if you find today that you do something that is not on your schedule, you will want to add it on the schedule as you do it. Allow him to live his schedule.
It will be a lot easier for him to do the next day when he creates his schedule. He may even decide to copy some from the previous day!… but let him figure that out. (That would be a generalization of the experience – excellent EF skill!) (He may decide to develop a form and fill in the things he does all the time! – excellent EF skill!) (He may decide to abbreviate some of the items! – excellent EF skill!)
You are giving him control and he is seeing graphically, organizationally, and verbally thinking about what he has to do. This may take several days or a month of days to become automatic but it will teach him to be anticipating what is happening next, what the expectation will be, and he will be in control (the most important piece of all.)
The next step will be learning to plan what he is going to do the next day. Before he ends his day, ask him, What are the important things you will have on your schedule tomorrow? Let him verbalize these (without adding any yourself) and no prompts. When you are beginning to plan or anticipate, then you are working in real time and you are using your active inner voice to direct your thinking. (These are the skills he will need for developing concepts in science, history, literature, etc.)

Another task in his daily work that would be useful to do would be doing trail-making or other activities which are done to a metronome. For instance, scatter (mix-up) the letters of the alphabet on a paper – some big, some small, some upper case, some lower case and have him move from a > B > c > D with his pencil at each beat of the metronome (starting with a very slow beat). You can make many trail patterns using numerals, counting by 10s, combined symbols 1 > A> 2> B> 3> C, etc. Look to him increasing his speed as he becomes adept at the task. Make a chart with animal names (cat > dog> bird) and tool names (hammer> saw>) and sports (baseball > wrestling>) then give him a topic such as tools and have him make a path to the tool names ignoring all the animals and sports moving to the beat of the metronome. This is beginning to increase his processing speed and working on concepts at the same time.
Let us know how these work and then we will have MORE! Fortunate young man to have you and his parent support team! Win > Win situation!
– Dr Joan Smith

Recipes and guidance for using foods to organize and improve brain performance.

A great thought – eat to think better! It really has is a win-win situation when you think about it. What we put in our bodies improves our performance. The question is what should be we be eating, feeding our children, and calming our ADD, disorganized, and aging brains.

For a moment you might want to think back to what we have learned in the series DVD – Eating to Maximize Brain Performance. You will recall that we want to balance protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. You recall that in order for protein to be absorbed into the brain and pass through the blood-brain barrier that the need the assistance of carbohydrates (glucose). You will recall that our brains are made up of 60% essential fatty acids (EFAs – healthy fats that protect our bodies and energize our brain power). You will recall that we need water to function effectively and that water conducts the messages between the cells in our brains. Next to oxygen, water is the most essential element required by the human body.

Well, that was easy. To have a healthy body we need protein, carbohydrates, fats, and water! If we eat true foods – I like to think of these as foods from the source… an apple, a pea pod, a cucumber, an artichoke, a yam…etc we will be blessed with the minerals and vitamins these unprocessed foods have to nourish us. The farther we move from the true food the more we will require supplements to maintain our functioning.

An important issue about is eating is when we eat. We need to eat breakfast, first of all. By the time we wake and prepare for our day we have usually had at least a twelve hour fast. During this time our body has not received any nutrition and it needs food to regenerate our cells for effective performance for the day ahead. A cup of coffee, a sweet roll, or a sugar cereal (caffeine and sugar – both uncontrolled energy hits) does not provide the nutrients we need to be thinking effectively. We need our balanced selection of nutrients beginning with adequate protein!

During my nutritional and therapeutic chef training, one of my assignments was to go out to a day-care program during the summer and do a demonstration for the children. Before we go any farther I want to point out food and cooking are the most incredible attention commanding activity we can do with children! I decided to go for the protein since I was to do the demo at 11:15 prior to their lunch break and we all know this is a difficult time of day. First I handed out Bauman=s Brain Builder Snack in small cups while I made a Amilk-shakeYMBOL 64 \f “WP TypographicSymbols” \s 12 (sunflower Seed Milk Shake) and then taught them how to make nut butter served on celery and apple slices.

They had a great time guessing what they were eating in the snack! I had to give them multiple clues before they figured out what the dark ingredients were in the snack. They ALL ate everything!

While I was cleaning up to leave, it was very quiet in the room and the teacher came over to me and said AWhat did you do to them?@ I was startled by the question and scanned the room quickly to see that everyone was healthy. They were all quietly playing games in small groups and all was peaceful. I asked the teacher, AWhat do you mean?@ She explained that at this time of day they are usually fighting, arguing and generally it is a miserable time of day for them as they waited to go to have their lunches.

The strong protein snack, organized their brains and made them feel good about themselves (serotonin), and calmed them to function effectively.

Brain Builder Snack:
Ingredients:
1C raw organic sunflower seeds
1C raw organic almonds
1C sea palm (Roasted in oven at 300 degrees for 10 minutes until crispy and easily crumbled.
1 T Tamari
Dry roast (no oil) sunflower seeds in a heavy skillet (iron pan), stirring frequently until you can smell the oils. Place in bowl and add Tamari and mix quickly.
Dry roast almonds until you can smell the oils. Add to the bowl.
Crumble sea palm into bowl.
Variations: Sprinkle with Savory Spice of Life seasoning or add organic raisins or cranraisins.

Sunflower Seed Milk Shake
A great booster drink for immunity and our brains!
2C sunflower seeds, raw, rinsed
8C filtered water
ice
2 bananas
Seasoning – cinnamon, nutmeg, or garam masala to taste.
2 T maple syrup, agave, chicory syrup, or brown rice syrup.
Soak the rinsed sunflower seeds in 8 cups of filtered water in the refrigerator – divide into two batches with 4 C water/1C sunflower seeds for easier transfer into a blender. (Overnight or at least one hour)
Add one banana to each batch, ice, 1 T sweetener and season with spices to taste. Blend until smooth.

Enjoy!
Next lets look at some breakfast choices that have a good balance of protein/carb/fat for a healthy start for brain activity each morning!

Joan,
I have a fourth grade student that needs extensive work with fluency. We have been doing Impress reading, and she does well afterwards, but she seems to be unable to transfer strategy to a cold read. What do your think about using poetry, and working with phrasing with the poems and stories? Any other ideas would be appreciated.
Joan Kuba

Good question and great idea to use poetry. It has a nice predictible quality which is helpful. Shel Silverstein is especially fun to use!
Since you are using Neurological Impress Reading (NIR) you can teach her to do it independently. We use this technique for college students to help them increase their comprehension of difficult information. The task is to point to the word as you say them (read it) and tap out the punctuation. I use this all the time to work as a test taking skill for students of all ages.
The question I would have regarding her fluency is – Does she recognize the word/s or is she sounding them out and does she understand the meaning of the words? (Could she be over her automatic word recognition/understanding level in the material she is attempting to read?)
To check this, I would drop back two levels and have her read for fun -something really simple. How is her fluency? If she is reading something funny is she getting the humor? i.e. comprehension. Move up one level and repeat the check.
Secondary check would be – does she have the language skills to support her present reading level? Check her written language as well as listen to her tell a story or just talk about something she likes.
Another activity I would use with her would be to add some music – like ABT’s “Concentration” CD or any of those she enjoys – playing softly in the background while you are doing impress reading and then have her use it when she reads at home. It will alert her auditory system to turn on for listening which will help with reading.
Any other ideas from our EDU-Team???
Great sensitivity and good question!
Smiles – Joan Smith

We consistently receive questions about testing profiles and learning issues which may have some general interest to both professionals and parents. We invite you to write in about any profiles or situations which are puzzling you. EDU-T will respond and we will probably have additional input from other specialists! We welcome you!

Use Verbal Logic Training:
Last week I had an inquiry – can you help me – question. The woman is interested in attending law-school but first has to take the LSAT – the preliminary examination to qualify for entrance. When she was confronted with the analytical questions she realized that she had no idea how to tackle the problems. She was very concerned that she would be a failure in law school. She initially called and asked if we could help her with algebraic word problems but after having her read an example I understood what she needed – Mind Benders!

I would like to challenge all of you who work with youth and adults to develop your personal abilities to do Mind Benders/ Verbal Logic Problems. There are some wonderful sources out there including the easier versions which are available through Critical Thinking Press (Seaside, CA) and are useful beginning in third grade. I personally like to use the Penny Press version, although Dell also has a series.

Why use verbal logic problems? For you personally – because you will continue to activate new brain cells, increase your logical reasoning, avoid Alzheimer’s dementia, and be an excellent detail reader. Your skills will save you time, increase your accuracy in decision making, and make you feel very smart!
For your students – all of the above, plus: 1) To increase reading comprehension skills and reading accuracy. 2) To improve test taking skills because of improved reading efficiency and effectiveness. 3) To increase confidence in approaching learning. 4) To increase logic/reasoning skills.

I use these with all of my clients. My private practice is age 16 and above with most of the clients in their 40-60’s. When we begin with doing these exercises they have a very difficult time. I step them through the exercises over and over, never allowing them to fail.
The first thing they learn is that they will reach a point where they are lost, confused, and frustrated. We talk about this as “hitting the wall” or developing a “tolerance for confusion” and work on strategies to use. What is happening at this point is that there is so much information whirling around in their inner language they experience mental fatigue. Developing a strategy is useful in many situations.
The formula I use is: take three deep breaths, drink a half cup of water, take a break from the task! [The breath brings new oxygen to our brains. As we become upset, we tend to constrict our muscles and tighten up, reducing the oxygen flow. The water will assist in conducting messages from one brain cell to another via our neurotransmitters. The break will help us think about something else and activate other areas of our brain. Often the break will be a few minutes of Infinity Walking – reference Dr. Deborah Sunbeck.]
For clients who are having problems with comprehension or passing a test, be it a college class or the Bar Exam, verbal logic problems are a very important part of the training for success. We will work on some strategies as we continue with our communication.