Sue Layton is an aggressive go-getter who decided that her memory skills needed sharpening to stay a step ahead in her broadcast sales job. “My husband and I both have horrible memories,” declared Layton. This working mom appreciated the value of gaining competitive advantage whenever possible. Such were the circumstances that brought Layton to LearningRx, a professional “brain training” center located at 9767 Fall Creek Road, for a memory evaluation. However, an unexpected twist would force a dramatic shift in Layton’s intended focus – and in short order.
Tagging along that day was her then eight-year-old son, Ty, whose memory was also evaluated. The results were troubling. “We found out our son had memory issues, having apparently inherited his Mom and Dad’s poor memory,” shared Layton, who promptly signed up Ty for a personally customized 12-week memory development program at LearningRx.
Ty’s story is a familiar one to Lynne McCauley, LearningRx’s executive director. “Ty was doing well at school but didn’t qualify for the gifted and talented reading class in third grade because of his reading comprehension score. Once he was tested by us, it became clear that he didn’t have comprehension problems, he had short-term memory problems,” McCauley explained. “He understood the material but couldn’t remember it long enough to answer the questions correctly. While his school reading scores were in the ‘normal’ range, it prevented him from making it into the gifted and talented reading program.”
Layton described Ty as “fired up” about his three-times-a-week, 90-minute sessions with a cognitive skills trainer. His exercises included this daunting challenge: memorize and then recite, in two minutes or less, the names of all the American presidents – forwards and backwards – while being subjected to audible and visual distractions. Layton noted that the training was non-judgmental and replete with positive reinforcement. “Ty is a quiet kid who was gaining confidence, and we could see his progress,” she remembered. “He left those sessions feeling like a champion. Who doesn’t want to feel like that?”
McCauley explained the larger implications for Ty and kids like him. “This last school year was the first that all third graders must pass the I-Read test to move to fourth grade. If kids don’t pass the test, they get held back. This is a big deal because it’s crucial that kids master fundamental reading skills to be able to learn effectively at higher levels. Our reading scores in Indiana are dismal because of the way schools teach reading.” Consider this: 55-60% of fourth graders in Indiana don’t read at a proficient (mastery level), a number that climbs to about 64-66% in 8th grade.
When Ty took the I-Read test at the end of third grade, he was one of only six kids in his school who had a perfect score on the test. McCauley explained that Ty’s fundamental reading skills were always strong, but his memory wasn’t. “If they hadn’t addressed this, he would have gone on to have more and more problems over the years because of his memory issues,” she said. Today, Ty is in an academically-advanced class at his elementary school. “He was thrilled he could go into advanced classes because many of his friends were there. It would have been devastating if he’d been put in another class without them,” Layton said.
The cost of Ty’s program was about equal to a very nice family vacation to Disneyworld – a short-term financial sacrifice that Layton believes was well worth it because of the long-term benefits. “I wanted to make sure my kid had every confidence in the classroom and socially, before starting to make bad choices,” said Layton. McCauley is unambiguous about the importance of early intervention. “Learning problems left unchecked become bigger problems – it’s not going to go away. Why hesitate about something that will affect your child the rest of his or her life?”
Layton offered great praise for McCauley’s management style, and LearningRx’s commitment to excellence. “Lynne is spot on with her experience, and demands only the best. The skills trainers are great – we just loved the staff. And, most impressive is Lynne’s continuing support. She still stays in touch.”
If parents have suspicions, the Laytons strongly encourage scheduling the child for an assessment to determine what his or her tool set is like, and what might be missing. “Then you’ll know if your child is prepared for the future.”
Additional information about LearningRx is available online at www.learningrx.com and by phone, 317.845.1999.