Focus for Success can help anyone improve focus and concentration. It is especially helpful for students who struggle with attention difficulties.
Focus for Success trains students to improve focus and attention.
By training their brains, students learn to:
- Enhance ability to focus
- Lessen distractibility
- Enhance visual tracking skills
- Increase time on task
- Enhance discriminatory processing
- Improve short-term memory sequencing
- Improve self-esteem & success
It also helps students self-soothe and be calm.
Part of the program includes training and practice in mindfulness. Mindfulness has shown to improve everything from social skills to math scores. Mindfulness has obvious benefits for helping calmness. See all the research at Mindful Schools.
Activities include the pillars of brain health and development.
Of the Cleveland Clinic's six pillars of brain health, five are appropriate for the school or after-school setting. We include:
- Food & Nutrition
- Mental Fitness (cognitive brain traiining and activities)
- Social Interaction
In our newsletter to parents we include information about sleep (part of relaxation), activity in nature, and medical health.
We developed the program, and mastered the use of great tools.
Brain training. A focal point of our program is Play Attention, a computerized neurocognitive program originally developed by NASA to train astronauts. Play attention is like neurofeedback - but better. Play Attention sensors read brain waves much like a stethoscope reads heartbeats. Students learn to activate the "brain waves for focus" by controlling computer games with brain activity alone.
Movement. Not just any movement will do. We teach physical activities that improve brain function and focus including yoga and crawling.
Nutrition. We enjoy healthy brain snacks and send recipes home to share. Brain specific nutritional information is included in parent newsletters.
Nature and Nutrition. We plant and grow a brain-healthy potted garden.
Relaxation & Mindfulness .– learn relaxation and calming techniques that improve focus (and likely improve sleep at home)/
Social Interactions include brain stimulating strategy games (chess, checkers, Go, and others.) Students will also coach peers to improve focus and gain the benefit of improved learning and focus for themselves
Focus for Success Effectiveness
We developed Focus for Success using brain health research and extensive clinical use since 2008 (with 5-years investgation prior to that). Each component is evidence-based and has significant research backing it's effectiveness. Combining these individual components has been called "complete genius". We're not so sure about that high praise, but we do know it really, really works and greatly benefits kids.
One major tool we use is Play Attention. Effectiveness research can be found here.
Our primary mindfullness tool is Stop, Breathe, and Think and some of the effectiveness data is here.
Informally, we did our own assessment of program effectiveness while developing the program for over 10 years. One main component, Play Attention (PA), boasted a 91% satisfaction rate and had research showing that, upon successful completion, the focus ability was permanent.
At Cedarbrook, we like to see things for ourselves.
The PA equipment reads brain waves and gives focus percentages. Scores above 75 to 80 are the goal. On average, the program takes the length of a school year.
For the first 3 years, we offered students 5 free sessions in the fall after their completion year. All students had continually scored 80% or above on all activities in order to complete the program. It is common knowledge that students regress a bit over the summer months so we were not sure what the next fall results might be.
After the first year, students returned in the fall and scored in the 85 – 90% range. After the second and third years, with no additional training, the scores remained in that range. We had a real-life experience that correlated with the research.
Focus for Success helps students do well in school and life. Our first student is now in 11th grade and his mother reports that he continues to prosper and excel without medication (they were seeking an alternative to medication when he was in first grade).