Pyramid of Potential







new logo
August 13, 2014
Hi Everyone

For the Month of August we have multiple sales.Click here to go to our new sales page of the website.


If you have been reading our emails,you know that we have a special this month for professionals and for those who want some do it yourself materials. If you are interested in some products to try at home to improve your brain, check out our Growing Brains Everyday.We have extended the sale just for you. This is some at home work that you can follow to increase processing speed. There is more information at that link and even a sample to try it out. 


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.

During the month of August, we are listening to you and providing something you have asked for: purchase a copy of Primitive Reflexes: Foundations for Learning, study it, take a final test, and get documentation and a certificate of completion so that you can get CEUs for it. Occupational therapists, physical therapists and teachers have all done this. I cannot give the CEUs directly, but you will have enough documentation that you will be able to apply for them yourself, no problem.


Here is the procedure:

  1. Purchase Primitive Reflexes: Foundations for Learning on DVD or download before the end of day Tuesday August 19 for the sale price of $179.00. Click Here to purchase
  2. On August 20, all who have purchased the course will receive the final exam via email.
  3. Finish the course and the exam before Monday September 1.
  4. I will send you the documentation you need to apply for DEUs: my CV, course outline, objectives, and course completion certificate.
  5. You apply for the CEUs through your accreditation association.


For all professionals:

Purchase Maintaining Brains Everyday DVD - the 10 pack- and save! Each is normally $34.95, get 10 for just $210! Save 40%! You can then give them to your students or clients as part of their homework, or resell them for the normal retail price and make $14 per DVD! This is a marvelous way to get carry-over from your students and clients, making the work you do more effective!

The best Moro reflex integration exercise
The best Moro reflex integration exercise
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







Before we talk about how the brain works here is a simplified lecture on how the brain works. We humans have trillions of neurons in our brains. Off of each neuron are dendrites, like electrical wires coming off each. Learning happens when two dendrites come close together and create a synapse - an electrical current going from one neuron to another. If this synapse never fires again, the two dendrites break apart. In other words, use it or lose it.


If the synapse fires again and again over several weeks, a strong connection is made - basically like a habit - and it becomes permanent. Think of two electrical wires coming together and being twisted together then wrapped with electrical tape; this is called myelination, and a coating of fat covers the connection. At this point, the person has added new long term learning to their brain.   



5.   Aerobic exercise increases the volume of the brain, specifically the hippocampus, and increases memory in older adults, according to a study released in 2011. In this study, older adults from their late 50s up to 70 were randomly broken into two groups: one walked for 40 minutes three times a week and the other did yoga and stretching for the same period. After one year it was found that the walkers' brains increase by 2% and their memory improved. The stretchers showed no growth. Ordinarily, older adult brains decrease in volume by over 1% a year.


My take on this - if older adults lose hippocampus volume along with memory, perhaps the synapses are getting broken, the brain sheds the unused myelin sheath, and volume decreases? Next question - if aerobic exercise increases volume, do we also need oxygen to create these connections?


So no matter what your age, get out and exercise - if you can remember to!


For more information on exercise and the brain visit:



 There are many foods that help our brain functioning, and certain combination of foods that help keep our brain clear and out of the fog.


Brain foods include:

  • Vegetables: red onions, red cabbage, garlic, artichoke, spinach, kale, broccoli, parsley, sweet potato and yams
  • Fruits: blueberry, cranberry, blackberry, dark grape, raspberry, avocado, pomegranate, prunes, dark plums, cherries, and dark-skinned apples
  • Legumes, nuts and seeds: beans (small red, black and red kidney), walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, sesame seeds, flax, sunflower and pumpkin seeds
  • Herbal seasonings and spices: turmeric, curry, ginger, cinnamon, sage, rosemary, oregano, arugula, basil and cilantro

When eating any meal or snack, avoid spikes in blood sugar that cause our brains to spike in activity. Our brains run on glucose; the best sugars are natural sugars found in fruits and vegetables. After a spike, we see a dramatic fall in blood sugar, causing us to feel brain fog. Avoid this by adding a source of protein to every meal or snack.  


#3  Avoid These Things

Everyone knows (don't they?) that illegal drug use is bad for your brain - remember the ad "This is your brain on drugs"! But there are some other factors to consider avoiding when trying to optimize your brain:


Avoid smoking, over consumption of alcohol, and sugar. What? Sugar? Yes, I put that with the other two. Our brain runs on glucose - that's the fuel, but too much refined sugar can cause spikes in blood sugar. I wrote a bit on that on Monday.


Avoid like the plague trans-fats! These are the ingredients from cookies, pies and microwavable popcorn - Partially hydrogenated (fill in the blank) oils. These particular fats are man-made and elongated molecules that slow down processing in the brain. Our brains need fat - good fat, like omega 3s - to solidify learning through myelination of synapses in neurons.


If you have had a diet that includes shortening, stop immediately and start taking fish oil supplements for your brain's sake! If you hate the taste of fish, at least use flax seed oil whenever you can.


So avoid those things, add in the foods mentioned and you will be processing better already!

#2  Brain Training

Use it or lose it. And do daily workouts. I'm not talking about your biceps, I'm talking about the muscle between your ears - your brain! We have known for years that the brain is plastic and can change and improve. We have learned that you can increase your IQ, learn new languages and improve your memory, even at older ages. The question is, what does it take?


Just like building your bicep, it takes time and intensity.


Time: If you try to improve your processing speed, for example, by doing a simple task as fast as you can for one or two days, you obviously would not see a significant lasting change. However, if you practice this task for at least 3 weeks, you create new pathways in the brain that become myelinated and solidified. Practice makes perfect.


Intensity: The task cannot be too easy. Let's say you are trying to improve memory. If the task you choose to practice repeatedly is simple, like remembering 2 or 3 items, you are not pushing the brain to do something new. No new pathways are formed. But if the task is too hard, like trying to remember 10 items when your previous record was 5, you end up frustrated, angry and ready to quit. The task must meet your brain at its current capacity, and push ever so slightly farther.

Some games to try to train your brain:


Processing Speed: As fast as you can sort a deck of cards by suit. Time yourself, complete this 3 times a day for 4 straight weeks. Track your times and I know that at the end of the month you will be faster, not only at sorting cards, but also at many other tasks!


Auditory Memory: write out a list of 10 colors. Have another person say these colors to you in random order, 1 second apart. Start with 3, then try 4, etc. At some point you reach your capacity. Each day start with 1 less than your capacity and practice that many, then 1 more and 1 more until you can't do it. Take a break and start over so that you do 3 repetitions of this game each day. Track how many you achieve for a month, and you should be able to remember several more by the end of the month.


Visual Attention: This is perfect for the person who gets frustrated when looking in the junk drawer or who finds very visually crowded places too stimulating. Do word searches, mazes, hidden pictures, I Spy, and Where's Waldo daily for a month. As the month goes on, do more challenging puzzles. It gets easier!

These are just a few examples, but you can improve in any area that you aren't strong by practicing at a challenging level for at least 4 weeks. Have fun with it!




The most important thing that a person can do to increase brain functioning is to open up the pathways in the brain to allow for growth. This usually happens in infancy, but when it has not, it can be done at any point in your life - including NOW!


Have you ever wondered why certain people have no ability to remember math facts, no matter how often they practice? Or they have terrible handwriting even thought they learned right along with the person with beautiful handwriting? Certainly we are all different, but what contributes to the differences?

In many cases it is brain development that happens during the first year of life. The ability to have good memory comes while a baby is on the floor on her back playing with Mom and Dad or reaching to grab toys. The ability to write well develops while doing the combat crawl in that phase before learning to crawl up on hands and knees.


In order to improve your brain functioning, then, you have to go back to being a kid! It can be fun, getting down on the floor and moving around like a young child. All it takes is a few minutes a day, every day for about a month for each stage or reflex. And the benefits? Well, after doing one month of the exercises on the Pyramid of Potential Maintaining Brains Everyday DVD, I was able to remember people's names for the first time in my life - and it was effortless!





August Sale

Get Your CEU by ordering and taking the course and finishing the exam
Primitive Reflexes: Foundations for Learning

Offer Expires 08/19/2014. Order Soon
In This Issue
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Contact Us
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



Did You Know?
3 Card Games to Increase IQ

The brain can change and grow at any age, and we only use about 10 to 20%, so there is always room for growth. 

A few facts to warm up your brain before the games: the adult brain weighs 3 lbs, is made up of 100 billion neurons, and has 1000 to 10,000 synapses per neuron. Synapses are the connections between the neurons, and are created when learning occurs. For example, you might not have known that the brain weighs 3 pounds, but since you read this, you created a synapse between two neurons - one that stores "brain" as known information, and one that stores the number 3. Now some math - multiply the 100 billion neurons and the number of synapses, and you learn that the brain has 1 - 5 quadrillion (15 zeros) synapses! 

The rules for increasing IQ are simple - push the brain's limits, and do it repeatedly over a significant number of days. So, try it out while on summer break.  Play these games almost every day for the summer, keep a  journal recording progress.  Check back with me at the end of the summer, I have a distinct feeling you will see a difference and I would love to hear about it! 


Speedy Sort

Increases processing speed.

Requires a well shuffled deck of cards and a timing device.


The game: use the timing device as you sort the deck of cards by suit as fast as you can. Record the time each time, and repeat three times a day. You should see significant improvement within 2 weeks if done daily.  


Don't compare times to other people as everyone has their own strengths. This is not a competition against anyone else.


Crazy Eights

Improves reasoning skills.

Requires only a shuffled deck of cards and two or more people.

The game: each player gets 7 cards, and the rest of the cards are placed in the middle with the top card turned over in the discard pile. Each player in turn plays a card from their hand if they can that:
         Matches the suit of the top card in the discard pile
         Matches the number in the discard pile
         Is an 8; they then can declare a new suit

If they cannot match, they have to pick up a new card from the original deck. If they cannot play that card, they must continue picking up cards until they can play a card. Once they play a card, it is the next player's turn. Play continues until one of the players has no cards left and is the winner.



Improves math skills

Requires only a shuffled deck of cards

The game: The dealer gives each player a card face down and a card face up. The object of the game is to add up the points of the cards, and to get as close to 21 as possible without going over.  In turn each player may choose to "stay" and not get more cards or to take one. Aces are worth one, and jacks, queens, and kings are each worth 10. Once everyone playing chooses to stay, everyone shows their cards. The player who gets closest to 21 without going over wins that hand. You can play as many hands as you like. It's fun, fast, and easy. And everyone practices math facts!


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 :) 


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!

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 08/31/2014. So hurry!! 

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