Pyramid of Potential


Processing Speed - You Must Increase It!  Here is how...




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July 24, 2014
Hi Everyone

First off, Our Growing Brains Everyday Webpage is now up and running. Click Here to see what all the hype is about. You will find all the information you will need and a sample to download to get started on your own.


Processing speed is an extremely important learning component and must be increased.  Extra time to process is a fine accommodation for now but fixing the problem, not accommodating it, is what we need to focus on for long term learning.  See my complete article below on how to increase processing speed.  

Click on the following link to download a sample exercise to improve processing speed:  Growing Brains Processing Speed Sample.  This is a sample from my Growing Brains Everyday curriculum, on sale this month.

Here is a question and answer from a client I thought would be helpful and interesting to you.  


Q: I am trying to come up with an effective, efficient way to help my 2nd grade son (who has sensory processing disorder) work on his homework & unfinished work. Do you have any suggestions?


A: I hope that while you are looking into some easy accommodations, you are also looking at therapy that takes longer but will help your son over the long term.


Meanwhile, your son will be able to do better with his homework with the following suggestions:

  1. Be sure he has eaten and has access to water. If he yawns, he needs a sip of water and maybe a short walk to the next room and back.
  2. Before starting he could do some brain gym exercises to wake up his brain. Lazy 8 is my favorite. If you don't know it, you could buy the BrainGym for Teachers book - inexpensive and packed with good exercises to get his brain fired up
  3. Since he has sensory processing disorder, if you have a sensory diet for him, do it just before sitting down. If not, the book "The Out of Sync Child Has Fun" has many things to put into a sensory diet.
  4. So, take about 15 minutes to prep his body and brain.
  5. While working, he may need to stand or even walk around while working. Many people think better when they move.
  6. He may be able to work better on a slant. Try a 2" binder turned sideways.
  7. He might get distracted by sound. Rather than try to keep the environment extremely quiet, try "white noise"
  8. If he gets easily distracted by visual stimuli, remove all things from the table that he works on except what he absolutely needs. Have him face a blank wall that has no pictures or distracting wall paper.

 Good luck!! 


The month of July brings you Growing Brains at a 15% off discount. Order now and receive Growing Brains for a price of $114.71. Check out Growing Brains at our Website. 


 Go to our Youtube Channel to see the best Moro Reflex integration exercise. These exercises are all in Maintaining Brains Everyday and work well with Growing Brains


Processing Speed - You Must Increase It!  Here is how:



If processing speed is not increased, and a child is getting extra time in school to do work or take tests, it is an excellent accommodation for now, but not forever. If a learning disabled child (smart but not achieving at his or her IQ ability) learns to rely on this crutch, jobs that will be appropriate for his intelligence will necessarily be under his or her ability level. I am an employer, and I couldn't hire someone to help me in my business who would take 50% longer to do their job than it should. In the business world, time is money.


So, the first step is to identify why extra time is needed. If it is because noise in the room breaks concentration, and then it takes a while to get back on track, then hypersensitivity to noise, not processing speed is the issue.  Look for my next newsletter all about hypersensitivity to noise.

If there has been an issue identified through testing that the child has low processing speed, the cause could be from at least two different sources. Let's say that the child takes a long time to process auditory information. This is the case when Johnny, the LD child, has trouble keeping up with a lecture because the teacher is speaking faster than he can process it. Notes are incomplete, his understanding is incomplete. Sometimes, he may even answer an earlier question in class because it took so long for him to process the question!

The cause of this may be a combination of being left ear dominant and having a retained Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex (ATNR). The left ear dominance is important because the left ear is controlled by the right hemisphere, but (for the vast majority of us) language that we hear is processed in the left hemisphere. The ATNR is important because during this stage of development in infancy, the hemispheres are being connected, allowing us to quickly process information in both hemispheres quickly. If it is retained, it is almost like Johnny has a block between the two hemispheres. The information can eventually get there, but it takes a while.


Don't worry if this is the case however, it takes just about a month to integrate the ATNR (This is a sample of  Growing Brains Everyday, which is on sale and you can instantly download at  If you have access to a listening therapy program, such as The Listening Program, Therapeutic Listening, Integration Listening Systems, or others, they all are right ear weighted, so that in a short period of time the ear dominance is changed.


There is a second reason for slow processing speed - and that is that the brain is slower than normal when processing all sorts of information. In this case, you can improve processing speed by working on it daily for at least 30 days (be sure not to miss more than one or two days a week). Click here to download the processing speed exercise taken from Section 5 of Growing Brains Everyday. This is just day 1 of 30 days; each day has a slightly more challenging exercise.


So there are two things to really help those who have processing speed issues. Work on them, and you are truly helping save a child's life!




Did You Know?

Finding Help




Sometimes kids just need an extra dose of reading help. Many schools provide tutoring support that includes one-on-one reading instruction. To make sure that your school has a high quality tutoring program, ask these questions:

  • How are the tutors trained?

    It's important that the tutors understand the goals and purposes of the lesson.

  • What is the structure of the tutoring session?

    Good tutoring programs use a lesson plan that is based in the best reading research.

  • How frequently will my child receive tutoring?

    Students should be tutored at least twice a week, for 45 to 60 minutes each time. Some students will need more.

  • Are the students assessed regularly to determine progress?

    A reading specialist should supervise the assessment program.

  • What types of materials are used during the tutoring sessions?

    Students should be carefully guided through books that are written at their reading level.

  • Does the content of the tutoring session support my child's classroom instruction?

    It should.

  • Does the content address my child's specific needs?

    If your child sounds out words well but struggles with vocabulary, the tutor should spend more time on word meanings than phonics.





Check out the full article here:




we have started it and the girls are enjoying it.  Sarah, who doesn't respond verbally to the question, "how was your day, what did you do?"  Is writing 10 or more phrases about her day when journaling!  For the first time in 15 years she is communicating what she did at school during the day to me.  I was amazed at all the content she was writing!  Here is the table for the girls and I will send progress when we have completed the section.


Thank you!








We have completed the second module of the Growing Brains program.  I have attached the table on page 3.  Specific changes in the girls I have noticed are as follows:  Sarah is 15 years old and has been using a 4 finger grasp on her pencil all her life and I am an O.T!  Sarah has started to use an adapted tripod grasp so that she has turned her wrist to enable her to use and develop a functional tripod grasp.  Sarah has shown an improvement in her posture that has shown when she is singing.  She usually has a slightly hunched posture that makes her sing down versus out.  She was instructed in how to hold herself and she could improve her posture for a short period but would always revert to her hunched posture.  Now Sarah is able to maintain an erect posture that I have noticed when she is singing and throughout the day.  Her muscle tone is still low.  It is hard for me to tell any differences in Sarah's ability to copy off the board and her spatial issues.  Sarah seems to have a better sense of time she is paying attention to the clock and calendar more and she seems to be more patient.  I wonder if it is due to her better understanding of  time.  I have noticed Sarah is better able to spell and is doing more journaling at school.  She was not able to string together consecutive expressive statements into a narrative writing piece prior to the last few months.  This new ability seems to be getting stronger as she continues to work on it at school. 


Isabelle seems to have an easier time copying off the board.  She continues to have better sequencing skills that I can see with her ability to understand and answer questions regarding place value.  She is now working on place values into millions and thousands used to confuse her.  Isabelle's sense of time has improved.  She is asking more about time like "How long does my Tae Kwon Do session last?"  She seems to be retaining information regarding times when she used to ask over and over and over the same questions when referring to time as it seemed to not stick with her due to not having a reference/meaning.  Isabelle's blending skills have improved her reading speed and fluency.


Were excited to start the next module after taking a short holiday break!




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Kathy Johnson, MS Ed

Bob Johnson

Pyramid of Potential
245 Washington St #3369
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

Where's Kathy?

It is now time to set up your professional development at your school - Kathy is available for many dates this summer! Call now to secure YOUR date!


Below are the upcoming workshops that Kathy Johnson is giving. If she is not coming to your area, why not hire her for your next professional development?


  Kathy Johnson Photo 2010


Dyslexia, Dyscalculia & Dysgraphia: An Integrated Approach 
Monday, September 15, 2014 in ELLICOTT CITY, MD 
Early Registration: $189.99
** Early Registration Prices Available Until 8/26/2014 **   


Dyslexia, Dyscalculia & Dysgraphia: An Integrated Approach

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 in 


Early Registration: $189.99
** Early Registration Prices Available Until 8/26/2014 **  


Dyslexia, Dyscalculia & Dysgraphia: An Integrated Approach

 Wednesday, September 17, 2014 in 


Early Registration: $189.99
** Early Registration Prices Available Until 8/26/2014 **  


Dyslexia, Dyscalculia & Dysgraphia: An Integrated Approach

Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse NY, December 10, 11, 12

If you aren't near any of these on-site professional development conferences, consider the following:


Dyslexia, Dyscalculia & Dysgraphia: An Integrated Approach   Price: $169.99  Author: Kathy Johnson, MS Ed.  Format: DVD



Get your summer started by saving on items to keep away the summer brain drain!

Help your own brain or a brain of someone you love today! 
Growing Brains Everyday

Save on items that will prepare for the best school ever!
Offer Expires 07/31/2014. So hurry!! 



Here is the girl's results from section 3.  This was their all time favorite section.  The girls loved the vowel substitution using the toobaloos.  They became very quick and accurate & could easily keep up with the metronome.  They also loved the tracking the letter.  I stopped writing the 2 letters on the page they were using after about day 24.  At first Izzy was much faster then Sarah with the tracking then Sarah caught up and passed her in accuracy and speed.  I would count with them to get started and then they would continue.  Sarah was very poor at tracking the pencil at first.  She needed a lot of verbal and visual cues not to lose the target and she used to move her mouth with her eyes.  With practice she got better and I was able to let the girls do tracking the pencil to each other instead of me doing it with them.


  Best of all was the Simon Says and Math Memory!  At first I thought they would never get it.  Sarah would make mistakes like when I said "circle the", she would immediately point to the circle.  To stop her confusion & help her differentiate,  I would first name the shapes/figures in the row, then begin with the verbal instructions.  At first Sarah could only get about 2 right in each row and she was holding Izzy back a lot.  Then near the end Sarah was able to remember as much as Izzy and they were getting at least 2 out of 3 rows all correct with 5 instructions.  Each time one or the other would get 1 wrong on one row.  I was shocked at how well Sarah's working memory improved.  She used to be unable to execute an auditory direction like, " go up and get the toilet paper from the bathroom and bring it downstairs."  She would never be able to find anything either.  Now she can listen to a direction and complete it!  It is amazing!  I can't tell you how much it has improved her ability to help out, be involved and created a more functional independence in her!


Most amazing was Izzy's ability to do the Math Memory addition.  I truly thought that it was not for either of the girls when we began.  Sarah could only add the first 2 numbers in a column.  Izzy on the other hand took off with it.  She seemed to have a knack for it that I'm not sure where it came from.  This is a little girl who could not remember her addition facts in 2nd grade.  She could not pass the mad minutes.  She kept asking me to do it with her and although she would have to count it versus know the fact sometimes, she could complete the whole table with only needing me to repeat numbers a few times if she forgot.  She became faster and more efficient with practice and she really enjoyed it.


Izzy is reading better but still gets hung up on long and short vowel sounds.  Her fluency has improved and she is now reading at where she should for 3rd grade.  She was reading at below grade level at the beginning of the year.  She is not as fidgety.  She hasn't knocked over her drink at dinner in a long time!  I'm not sure if she is not as fidgety at school but I will ask at her conference.  She used to get 60% on her district math assessments last year and at the beginning of this year.  A few weeks ago her teacher told me that Izzy got a 91% on her district assessment.  She has had another since then and I'm not sure how she did, but what a difference!!!  Izzy has changed from a little girl who struggled through all parts of school to a little girl who loves school and has confidence and feels good about herself.  She continues to be an amazing writer.  Her writer's voice is well above her age level.  Her spelling continues to be below average and I believe she will need to use tools to help keep her on track. 


Maybe the next section will help improve her spelling :) 


The only error I found in this section was on page 29.  I think it should have said for the last set of directions :" Using the yellow crayon on the last set of pictures:"


We have really enjoyed this journey in learning.  I have found that my girls are striving as different learners and I am proud of their differences.  I am no longer afraid of 4th grade for Izzy.  I am rejoicing in Sarah's accomplishments as she continues to learn and grow as a 15 year old, especially when I have seen the tragedy of some children that I work with who have Autism and are not as functional as they were when in elementary as they get into middle and high school.  This makes me believe that changes in the brain during adolescence must have something to do with it.  I also believe you are never too old to learn.  Thank goodness Sarah is a lifelong learner like her mother and she loves to do our "exercises", as we call it.


Let me know when the next section is ready.  I would love to continue with the girls during summer, so know that I am not confined to the school year to complete the 150 day program. 


I am so happy to be involved in this trial for the program!




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