Monthly Archives: June 2014

Gearing Up for the New Beginning

The registration for the Simply Smarter System Beta is coming to a close in a few days and many of us are getting anxious to start using it. I know I have lost some horsepower over the last few years and am ready to get it back. As I hope we all know, specific input with sufficient frequency, intensity, and duration is what produces change. We have a great proven tool that builds all of the processing pieces: short-term memory, working memory, executive function, visualization, and conceptualization. This is done in a totally targeted, individualized program that provides each individual with the specific input and delivers it with the required frequency, intensity, and duration for anyone who is motivated to improve.

I have all of our staff signed up and am excited to see them push forward. I plan to see everyone get better at virtually everything, improving globally. Everyone may not have the time to devote to reach a 10 or 12 or higher, but as many of our families know, even an incremental change can make a measurable difference in function. We have families that can see their child change significantly as they move from a 3.0 to 3.1 to a 3.2, on their way to a 4. One of the things I love to see is children who take the summer off from their academic programs (not something I recommend), but who work on their processing; and unlike the other children who attend school and take a summer vacation and lose about three months academically over the summer, these children often gain three to six months, and at times over a year, in their reading and math skills- way cool!

I’m also very excited to see the changes in how well programs are being implemented and how well the parents of our kids are able to organize their lives, think through the issues, and improve the overall quality of their lives as they build their processing skills.

Once everyone gets started on the SS System, early next month I would love to see people start sharing stories about their progress. “I came up a full digit in my auditory progression in just weeks!” “I moved out of the red and yellow zones into all greens across the board.” You can share your advancement on NACD’s Facebook page without revealing where you actually are, or if you want to brag, tell the world where you have gone.

I would hope that our enlightened NACD families would perceive the value of the Simply Smarter System and my vision with our foundation’s Simply Smarter Project. We can all be smarter and we all need to get smarter fast. There is nothing on the news that makes me believe that the world is moving in any great directions. We need everyone to simply be smarter soon or I’m really worried about later.

Interview with M. Night Shyamalan

M. Night ShyamalanI’m a morning-news junkie. I get up and turn the news on in my bedroom, then go down to the kitchen to get coffee and turn on a different news channel and then go up to my bathroom to shower and get ready and turn on a third news channel. I feel I need to know what is going on in the world, I don’t need to know who shot whom at what bar last night or how the traffic is doing unless I have to drive to the airport so I skip local news and look for national and international news and stories that actually address important issues. Between a few different sources I hope to get at least an approximation of what is really going on.

This morning an interview caught my attention because it was about education. As it turned out the interview was with M. Night Shyamalan who is a movie guy—writer, producer and director. The interview was a discussion of a book that he has just written entitled, “I Got Schooled: the Unlikely Story of How a Moonlighting Movie Maker Learned the Five Keys to Closing America’s Education Gap.” Since I was getting ready to go to the office I couldn’t give the program my undivided attention but I found it quite interesting.

Regarding Mr. Shyamalan, I don’t know what he goes by—is it “M” like in the James Bond movies or “M. Night” or “Night”—I don’t know because I don’t really follow much of anything relative to movies but, this fellow seemed quite bright and evidently with the help of some other bright people really looked into the subject of American education. Very often outsiders do a much better job of assessing a problem than do the experts who “should” know.

Mr. Shyamalan spoke of an event that helped shape his perception of what needed to be done in order to understand and address the inequality of education in America. This event was a discussion with a physician who taught at the medical school at the University of Pennsylvania. The doctor related how he would enlighten the incoming medical students regarding health. He evidently told his students that the real key to health involved only five pieces:

#1 Get 8 hours of sleep

#2 Have a healthy diet

#3 Exercise 3 times per week

#4 Pay attention to your mental/brain health

#5 Don’t smoke

These pieces make individual and collective sense but the big point was that you have to do all five—doing only four out of five did not produce a particularly good outcome.

This “aha moment” helped Mr. Shyamalan evaluate the educational data differently and formulate a set of criteria that would produce the needed outcome in total.

This “aha moment” for Mr. Shyamalan was also an “aha moment” for me this morning. Certainly one of the most frustrating aspects of my work is getting folks to address all of the pieces—not to miss or add pieces but to address the totality of their program. I have known that a huge part of our success with children has been our understanding of and our commitment to working with the whole child and addressing the gestalt of that child. Frustration comes when families do some of their program along with “some of this and some of that.” This revelation really reinforced to me the need to do all of the pieces. I’m sure as I continue to give this more thought I will gain even more insights.

I apologize if everything I related about the interview is not totally accurate. I was, after all, trying to get ready to run to the office for my first Skype meeting but I think I’m being reasonably accurate. I will order Mr. Shyamalan’s book and let you know what I think.

NACD parents—please write down the five keys to health and do your best to follow all of them. I think this is right on. Take care of yourselves.