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Equipping Minds by Carol Brown

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    Equipping Minds by Carol Brown

    Hi all, Has anyone used this cognitive skills program by Carol Brown? I am curious if you found it helpful? I have two girls with an intellectual disability due to 15q deletion. One is becoming far worse and I am wondering if this program might help. Thanks!

    #2
    Re: Equipping Minds by Carol Brown

    Susan,

    We never used the program, but I just wanted to say how sorry I am to hear that one of your girls is experiencing this!

    Do you have someone following her cognitive function related to 15q deletion? If not, I would begin here. Specialists, especially those with current research interests in 15q deletion, will know how to target the specific cognitive areas she needs to strengthen, so you do not lose time.


    Prayer for you and for her --

    Cheryl

    Comment


      #3
      Re: Equipping Minds by Carol Brown

      Btw, speaking from experience with my daughter, if you can obtain help prior to age 21, your daughter may be better served.

      Perhaps a center such as Cincinnati Children's, which is likely not too far from you?

      If your daughter is experiencing behavior or mood changes, or changes in sleep or appetite, along with cognitive decline, you will want to makes notes about these changes too. Be sure to speak up and mention everything that concerns you, if you seek help.


      Will pray --
      Cheryl

      Comment


        #4
        Re: Equipping Minds by Carol Brown

        CHeryl, Thanks for your concern. We are having issues with Julie. THe girls were recently diagnosed with this 15 q deletion. We did see a geneticist in Cincinnati at the hospital you mentioned. We are having trouble with communication auditory processing and now she has started talking like a baby. I am at a loss as to what to do with her. I have a hard time getting through to her. Grace on the other hand is doing great. She works as a mother's helper 2 days a week and growing up in ways we never would have dreamed of a few years ago. We are looking forward to starting your level 2 in a few weeks. Do you think these cognitive skills programs are worth the money? Susan

        Originally posted by cherylswope View Post
        Btw, speaking from experience with my daughter, if you can obtain help prior to age 21, your daughter may be better served.

        Perhaps a center such as Cincinnati Children's, which is likely not too far from you?

        If your daughter is experiencing behavior or mood changes, or changes in sleep or appetite, along with cognitive decline, you will want to makes notes about these changes too. Be sure to speak up and mention everything that concerns you, if you seek help.


        Will pray --
        Cheryl

        Comment


          #5
          Re: Equipping Minds by Carol Brown

          Originally posted by Quiet heart View Post
          CHeryl, Thanks for your concern. We are having issues with Julie. THe girls were recently diagnosed with this 15 q deletion. We did see a geneticist in Cincinnati at the hospital you mentioned. We are having trouble with communication auditory processing and now she has started talking like a baby. I am at a loss as to what to do with her. I have a hard time getting through to her. Grace on the other hand is doing great. She works as a mother's helper 2 days a week and growing up in ways we never would have dreamed of a few years ago. We are looking forward to starting your level 2 in a few weeks. Do you think these cognitive skills programs are worth the money? Susan
          If Julie now qualifies for insurance-covered cognitive and language/processing therapies at the hospital, such therapies might be more targeted for her. You might pursue this first, as you learn about available services related to the new diagnosis. Did they say which specific dx related to 15q deletion? That could be helpful to know.

          Given your descriptions, you might proceed this way:

          1. See what is covered at Cincinnati Children's. In her current condition, Julie might make more gains with someone there. You could observe, as you learn more. Right now, adding a home program might not matter, if she resists working with you on cognitive skills.

          2. Begin SC 2 as planned. We build in numerous cognitive strategies to improve processing, working memory, long-term memory, and language skills. You may see improvements, as you teach. She will know that her schoolwork is still expected of her, so you may be successful with this approach.

          3. If you want to try another program, add it to the SC 2 day's lessons, rather than replacing those unified SC 2 cognitive lessons. I cannot say whether it would be worth the expense, but you could try for a few months to see if it seems to help her.


          I am so sorry. New diagnoses hit hard all over again.

          Julie is in my prayers, as are you. I hope they are giving you clear guidance about next steps to take, and I hope they will follow Julie very closely right now. They will need to determine if the babytalk is primarily behavioral or if it is cognitive. Ask them if cognitive testing is covered. You want hard numbers to determine the extent of cognitive decline, if it is occurring, and then someone would need to determine why this is occurring, if possible. Cognitive decline can sometimes be a precursor to other issues, so follow up with them. If her current challenges are primarily behavioral, they may be able to help with this too.

          ...

          As for Grace, this is such good news. Good for her! I remember when she (and you) endured some challenging times. She is finding her place of enjoyable service. This is so important and so gratifying as a parent.

          Similarly, my Michelle volunteers at a nursing home on Tuesdays. I love watching her from a back corner table. Today she played Scrabble with several of the residents, and the 103-year-old player won! Afterward, Michelle served everyone snacks. "I'll serve your drinks next!" she called in her cheery, young voice.



          ...

          I pray that Julie will pass through this time, as Grace did.

          Summarizing:
          If Julie can still work on schoolwork with you, I think she will find the oral recitations, literature, and writing in SC 2 beneficial to her mind and to her confidence. If the hospital can add targeted therapies, this would be ideal.

          Stay in touch with them, and find out what they offer. See if they have free clinics, research trials, or other options related to cognitive skill training. Pursue language evals, if needed and if covered. Pursue auditory processing evals too, if covered. They should answer any of your follow-up questions over the phone.


          I hope something here is helpful. I feel for you!

          Cheryl

          Comment


            #6
            Re: Equipping Minds by Carol Brown

            Susan,

            I actually took our entire family over to Kentucky to meet Carol. She is a fantastic woman and she has a vey interesting program. I used it for one summer with my boys and felt like we only scratched the surface. We spent two days with her while she evaluated one of my boys. He has greater cognitive delays and challenges than his brother. Then, I purchased all the required materials and I did the program at home to the best of my ability. I was working with two boys every day and it took me all morning. During the school year Carol recommended we work for 1/2 daily, but I just couldn't do it. I was new to homeschooling and struggling at it! I can tell you that I did not work on it this summer because I thought we were going to have to move due to a job situation. However, last summer when I used the program I had a SLP and an OT tell me things like, "He is a different child than he was at the beginning of summer" and "I don't know what you are doing, but whatever it is...don't stop". I couldn't afford to do the sessions with Carol even though I really wanted to. So, we Skyped for 1/2 hr 2Xper week. Each boy got a session with Carol's husband. She is great to work with and if you even just wanted to reach out to her to get more information or discuss your situation; she has a passion for the kids and will get in touch with you. I am hoping to use the program again next summer.

            I hope this helps a little. My son has had cognitive delays his whole life so we haven't had to deal with any regression. Just "borderline mental retardation" which I actually don't agree with.

            Sincerely,

            Erika

            Comment


              #7
              Re: Equipping Minds by Carol Brown

              Hi Ladies,

              I am thrilled to see this thread here. I traveled to KY in April to become trained in Carol's "Equipping Minds." (Carol is an old friend of mine from Northern VA. She used to be the Headmistress of a classical school my older son used to attend. We stayed in touch after she moved to KY as she knew all about my younger son and his developmental/cognitive challenges.)

              Here is what I can share from what I've learned so far. If you knew me you'd know that I am NOT a "know it all" when it comes to therapies and interventions. But I've also tried almost everything and have actually had to become trained in many things since I can't afford to pay therapists, being uninsured and so forth. Carol has based her program on a lot of her own research in the field of processing skills, working memory, sequential processing and the work of Dr. Reuven Feuerstein (I'm actually becoming trained in Feuerstein instruments, as well.) What I love about Carol's program is not only that it's brilliant, but much of it is game-based, fun-based. Within her workbook you'll find a lot of the academic skills many classical schools use. (Studying fables, key-word outlining.) You'll also see her reference Aristotle's "ten categories of being" to help develop a child's visual imagery (for comprehension.) This is very similar to Lindamood-Bell.

              I've been using her program with my son the past few months but I haven't been able to hit it every day. I do believe that faithful practice fully and completely brings results. Her training was quite life-changing for me as I was reminded how very important my interaction is with my son. Things like smiling, never saying "that's wrong" (rather, "check that"), using language like "I see you....", using lots of descriptive language with all my therapies and activities with my son.

              Not only does her workbook have layer upon layer of activities to do with our kids (that literally could take you through the next several years of their lives, even into adulthood) but she advocates the following, as well:

              - visual processing exercises
              - auditory processing (using listening program)
              - primitive reflex therapy, which I will say VERY much helped my son

              So it's quite comprehensive. Are there things in her program not addressed? Yes. For instance, her program doesn't really address helping Dyspraxic children, a problem both my boys have, with motor coordination. Or physical fitness/strength training. Or BrainGym type exercises. Additionally, I've recently hit a wall in one of my son's home therapies (again, something I became trained in) called "NeuroNet" and the light bulb when on for me that, until we address my son's neural timing problem, we probably can't move forward in his NeuroNet. So now we're doing some Interactive Metronome.

              All this to say, I fully and completely endorse what Carol has put together. I also fully and completely agree with Cheryl about these things being "add ons" to our kids' core curriculum (which we are hopefully tackling each day.)

              Can I share something my son can now do as a result of using Carol's amazing workbook full of ideas and activities?

              She has a numbers chart in her book which has number 1 - 20 in random order within a grid. Just the other night my son was able to remember a sequence of directions of putting blocks on numbers .... here's how it went:

              "Owen, I see you putting a block on #5, then I see you putting a block on #11, and then I see you putting a block on #20. What do you see yourself doing?" He then spoke to me what he was going to do. Then he, one by one, put blocks on 5, 11, 20. Then I would say, "Owen, I see you putting a block on #5, then I see you putting a block on #11, then I see you putting a block on #20, and then I see you putting a block on #7. What do you see yourself doing?" He would then repeat what he'd doing using language like this, "I see myself putting a block on #5, then I see myself putting a block on #11....." Then went on until I gave him a sequence of 10 blocks. He verbally told me what he was going to do with those 10 blocks and then put them, one by one, in order on the number grid!

              He could have NEVER done something like this in the past. I believe these types of things are helping his listening, his memory, perhaps his visual imagery, sequencing, definitely his working memory!

              Another activity is doing something like this: There's an arrow chart in the book with different colored arrows going in different directions. He'll say the direction of the first arrow, then the color of the second arrow, then the direction of the first arrow, and so forth.

              Another activity we do is to take a deck of "Blink" cards and he'll say how many he sees on the first card, he'll say the color on the second card, and he'll say the shape of the 3rd card. We run through the deck in this manner and he does it in 45 seconds .....which is a processing skills activity.

              So I hope these things transfer over and generalize into other areas of life. And to a certain degree I believe they are. But time will only tell.

              Cheryl has given the greatest advice here. Seek help from the experts about your daughter's medical condition and be faithful to your MP academics with her. But I fully and heartily endorse adding fun, cognitive skills training. I'm a firm believer!

              May the Lord bless you and keep you and make His face to shine upon you and your precious family,

              Susan P

              Comment


                #8
                Re: Equipping Minds by Carol Brown

                Thank you, Susan, for sharing. The memory/block sequencing reminds me of the electronic game Simon.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Re: Equipping Minds by Carol Brown

                  Yes, I have used it for the past year with our two adopted sons with FAS. We have skyped with Carol five days most weeks. We have done primitive reflex exercises at the same time plus vision therapy. Their visual processing and memory have greatly improved. Now we will continue to see how it will carry over to other areas as they review the games and move on with schooling. I agree with the others who know Carol. She is great and could at least evaluate your child and be honest about whether she could help. Lillian

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Re: Equipping Minds by Carol Brown

                    Just jumping in here for random moment: LillianinAl--It's nice to hear of another family who has children with FAS using Memoria Press materials. I have 2 children with FAS--one is 13 and one is 12. I'd lvoe to hear more of your experiences with Carol or with Memoria Press. My email is HEATHERLBRANDT@GMAIL.COM.

                    Originally posted by LillianinAl View Post
                    Yes, I have used it for the past year with our two adopted sons with FAS. We have skyped with Carol five days most weeks. We have done primitive reflex exercises at the same time plus vision therapy. Their visual processing and memory have greatly improved. Now we will continue to see how it will carry over to other areas as they review the games and move on with schooling. I agree with the others who know Carol. She is great and could at least evaluate your child and be honest about whether she could help. Lillian

                    Comment

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