Are learning difficulties inherited?

Heredity does play a role, but it is minor. It is generally believed that between 40% and 70% of our mental abilities are learned, not inherited. Therefore, we can accomplish far more if we stop blaming the problems on genes, which we can’t change, and start enhancing the skills that are learned and can be changed.

Is lack of motivation the cause of learning difficulties?

Very few enter school or a job not wanting to succeed. It is only after they find it difficult, experience failure, or are ridiculed that they avoid the activities that give them pain. In other words, a lack of motivation is usually the result of a learning problem – not the cause.

Do all PACE students progress at the same rate?

No. Normally a student with fewer deficient learning skills will progress faster than a student with many. Each procedure is graded according to difficulty and tasks become progressively more complex. Pace is regulated by mastery, so the number of tasks completed during training differ from student to student. In other words, once the student passes a task, he or she is then allowed to progress to the next challenge (a more difficult task).

What studies show that mental skills can be modified?

There are numerous studies that show this modification is possible. The following is just a sample of these studies supporting the fact that a wide range of mental skills can be – and have been – improved.

Using a program aimed at developing reasoning and figural classification skills, Jacobs showed a measurable improvement in these skills, a better retention rate, and a transfer of skills to related tasks.

Meichenbaum was able to improve mental performance in a variety of therapeutic situations by modifying the inner speech patterns of children and adults, which shows that learning and memory skills can be trained.

Blank revealed IQ gains of 14.5 points in a one-on-one program that lasted 75 minutes per week over several months. The IQ gains dropped to only seven points when the amount of training was reduced to 45 minutes per week.

Bloom and Broder, using an individualized problem-solving training program, obtained significant gains in grades if there were more than seven sessions.

Lindamood reported individual reading gains averaged 2.4 years in a four-month period for eighth and ninth graders who received auditory-conceptual training.

Greenspan showed a significant improvement in directionality and a reduction of reversal errors after using perceptual-motor training.

Impressive training results have also been documented by Feuerstein, Holzman, and Trabasso for reasoning; Belmont, Brown, and Wanschura for memory; Klahr and Siegler for problem solving; Farr, Hendrickson, Walsh, Brown, Getz, Halliwell, Rowell, and Rosner for visual processing; and Peters, Rose, Yates, Varner, and Turner for auditory processing.

Click here for study results of the PACE program.. The results not only show tremendous changes in processing skills (a 3.6 year improvement in 10 weeks), but also a significant transfer to higher mental skills (a 23-point gain in IQ).

Neurobiologically-based facts and scientific studies show how skills can be modified. But the question of how training exercises can benefit everyday life remains. The answer is transfer.

Transfer occurs when a person applies some previously gained knowledge to a new situation that requires a similar task. For example, a person who learns to play a card game can apply this knowledge to help him or her learn how to play other card games. The first game teaches the person how many points cards typically are worth, how the cards are typically divided among players, which cards may be considered “trump,” and the value order of the cards. If a person can learn these rules that are common to most card games, he or she will find learning unfamiliar card games easier.

The same is true for mental training. A student who learns how to use visualization to remember a list of presidents will be able to use this same strategy to help him or her remember a story or spelling list as well. And a student who learns to do two or three tasks at one time (such as count by three while following a moving object and clapping in beat) will be able to listen to a teacher and take notes at the same time. Each skill learned in PACE will transfer to help the student perform other activities that use the same skill.

Not only is this transfer “horizontal” (similar tasks), but it is also “vertical” (affecting higher mental skills). If a person learns a skill that a higher mental skill is dependent upon, that higher mental skill may be improved as well. In other words, a student who learns to process information faster, concentrate more, visualize, remember, and conceptualize auditory patterns better will find learning much easier and faster. PACE targets the processing skills that academic skills rely upon to make learning easier and more efficient for the student. Then the student will no longer have to learn to process, but can process to learn. See parent and student comments.

To what degree can mental skills be changed?

Mental skills may sometimes appear fixed, especially since IQ results have been used for years to classify and label people as having a specific level of intelligence. But the truth is that we do not have to accept poor mental skills because we can improve them. They are not fixed. A numerical IQ result is simply an average of the many mental skills that are tested by an intelligence test. This average reflects a person’s present level of mental functioning – not a fixed ability that is constant across a life span. Mental skills are learned skills and can, therefore, be practiced and improved.

For years, we have known that we can modify and improve mental skills. But most efforts at helping students with learning problems still ignore this knowledge. Instead, many people try to modify the student’s environment.

How long does it take to complete PACE?

After 10 or 12 weeks, post testing is done to determine progress. Because the average improvement is about 3.6 year gains for each deficient skill, most students are then at or above their age level. At this point providers, parents, and students can determine if they need and want to continue. Our recommendation is that as long as the gains being made are worth the time, money and effort – continue, and if not – discontinue.

How does PACE affect motivation and self-image?

Internal motivation comes from within a person. It is a person’s individual need – for a reason that others may not even be aware of – to attain a goal. Those with a history of learning problems are often lacking in this area. They do not feel that they can attain goals, so they do not have the motivation to try to attain them. The possibility for improvement seems so poor that they do not sustain the maximum effort that should be put forth to accomplish a task. Therefore, in PACE, we make sure students quickly achieve many small successes. In many cases, within three weeks, students have moved beyond what they had previously thought would be impossible, and are then ready and eager for new and greater challenges. Success breeds success, and as students experience improved skills and capabilities their self image will soar!

How does PACE affect dyslexia (poor reading)?

Parents, researchers, and educators have long wondered why some children fail to learn to read when other children in the same classroom with the same curriculum have easily learned to read. Is there something wrong with those that fail to read? Do they have some sort of disorder? What factors do and do not play a role in reading failure?

The term is often used by those who believe that poor reading is due to a neurological disorder. The problem, however, is that this fails to consider normal variations of mental skills or abilities. Remember that reading has been invented and is not an innate, biological entity of just one part of the brain. In fact, we actually use numerous parts of our brain to read.

Deficiencies in particular mental skills, most often due to normal variation, not brain damage, are the neurological basis for a reading problem. Years of research on the brain have conclusively shown that those diagnosed as “dyslexic” do not have damage to any part of the brain.

Numerous other studies have also demonstrated a high correlation between the ability to read and the ability to manipulate sounds in words. Although this skill has been called many different things (auditory processing, phonemic awareness, phonetic awareness, phonological awareness, or phonological processing), it can be summarized as the ability to “unglue” sounds in words, blend sounds to form words, and analyze sounds within words.

In other words, many students with reading problems struggle to hear, analyze, and separate the individual phonemes in words. Furthermore, it has been shown that children don’t automatically learn to segment words into sounds simply because they are exposed to a reading system. In summary, research consistently shows that phonemic awareness is the major predictor of reading ability (independent of reading scores themselves).

Other factors that impact learning to read to lesser degrees include speech problems, attention and visual processing. Inheritance is also a factor. But poor reading is not inherited. Reading cannot be coded in genes anymore than other high skills like typing or playing a piano. What can be inherited is the tendency to have difficultly blending, segmenting, and analyzing sounds. But these problems can be corrected.

To correct these problems the student needs to develop the ability to:

  1. hear the individual sounds within words
  2. blend isolated sounds into words
  3. analyze and manipulate sounds within words

PACE includes procedures that evaluate, pinpoint and develop to advanced levels the underlying mental skills required to assure fast and efficient learning-to-read skills. Beyond this, the developers of PACE have also developed a revolutionary new sound-based one-on-one reading and spelling program called Master The Code. For more information see www.masterthecode.com.

How does PACE affect dyslexia (poor reading)?

Parents, researchers, and educators have long wondered why some children fail to learn to read when other children in the same classroom with the same curriculum have easily learned to read. Is there something wrong with those that fail to read? Do they have some sort of disorder? What factors do and do not play a role in reading failure?

The term is often used by those who believe that poor reading is due to a neurological disorder. The problem, however, is that this fails to consider normal variations of mental skills or abilities. Remember that reading has been invented and is not an innate, biological entity of just one part of the brain. In fact, we actually use numerous parts of our brain to read.

Deficiencies in particular mental skills, most often due to normal variation, not brain damage, are the neurological basis for a reading problem. Years of research on the brain have conclusively shown that those diagnosed as “dyslexic” do not have damage to any part of the brain.

Numerous other studies have also demonstrated a high correlation between the ability to read and the ability to manipulate sounds in words. Although this skill has been called many different things (auditory processing, phonemic awareness, phonetic awareness, phonological awareness, or phonological processing), it can be summarized as the ability to “unglue” sounds in words, blend sounds to form words, and analyze sounds within words.

In other words, many students with reading problems struggle to hear, analyze, and separate the individual phonemes in words. Furthermore, it has been shown that children don’t automatically learn to segment words into sounds simply because they are exposed to a reading system. In summary, research consistently shows that phonemic awareness is the major predictor of reading ability (independent of reading scores themselves).

Other factors that impact learning to read to lesser degrees include speech problems, attention and visual processing. Inheritance is also a factor. But poor reading is not inherited. Reading cannot be coded in genes anymore than other high skills like typing or playing a piano. What can be inherited is the tendency to have difficultly blending, segmenting, and analyzing sounds. But these problems can be corrected.

To correct these problems the student needs to develop the ability to:

  1. hear the individual sounds within words
  2. blend isolated sounds into words
  3. analyze and manipulate sounds within words

PACE includes procedures that evaluate, pinpoint and develop to advanced levels the underlying mental skills required to assure fast and efficient learning-to-read skills. Beyond this, the developers of PACE have also developed a revolutionary new sound-based one-on-one reading and spelling program called Master The Code. For more information see www.masterthecode.com.

What results does PACE get?

PACE’s pre and post test results show changes in cognitive skills which are unmatched. And our studies are not just done on small control groups of 15 to 25 students but on thousands of students and by a multitude of providers throughout the country. Average gains in deficient learning skills are greater than 3.6 years in only ten weeks! These gains are reflected in IQ scores that show an average 28 point increase where IQ was below the norm and an average 13 point increase where IQ was initially above the norm! For more details click here.