The Brainchanger: Education and Neuroscience Conferences was delivered by four universities throughout New Zealand last year.
Key speakers were:
- Dr David Moreau, Centre for Brain Research
- Assoc. Professor Mandia Mentis, Feuerstein
- Lindamood Bell
- Plus teachers presenting on programmes that they themselves have successfully implemented in their classrooms
The Brain Changer Education and Neuroscience conference was held as part of a series of nationwide lectures in September at Otago University. It was organised by the Centre for Brain Research, University of Auckland. Sixteen speakers presented various programmes designed for children with special needs, learning difficulties and brain injuries.
Objectives of the conference were to:
Present a range of the cognitive programmes available in NZ. Deliver a conference at a cost that all could afford. There is currently $1.4 billion spent globally, annually on cognitive programmes. Parents and schools are the target market. The mission of the conference was to ensure that advertisements for cognitive programmes do not make unsubstantiated claims or misrepresent results and are backed up by reliable science. Often claims about programmes are for marketing purposes only and there are no hard facts to back these up. Parents and schools enter a minefield when they are looking for a cost-effective programme which will produce results for their children.
Often scientific data and research cannot be accessed by the NZ Public and, when available, it cannot always be easily deciphered without an academic eye. Currently, there is no pre-clearance, regulatory body or requirement for the programme owners to meet. However, Dr. David Moreau from The Centre for Brain Research has audited all programmes which were available at the time of the conference. A complete list of these is available at www.movincog.org and is a wonderful free resource for Schools and Parents wanting to compare programmes.
Some programmes presented included:
- Feuerstein method of Instrumental Enrichment – system of Structural Cognitive Modifiability.
- Arrowsmith Programme – Intensive 3 -4 year programme – uses computer, auditory, pen and paper exercises
- Brain Gym – Educational Kinesiology.
- Cogmed – online programme addressing attention problems and ADHD.
- Irlen – coloured overlays and lenses.
- Fast ForWord – Computer based programme, adaptive game-like tasks.
- Lindamood Bell – Phonemic awareness, symbol imagery and concept imagery.
- Dyscalculia – supporting mathematical learning difficulties.
- SPELD – Specific Learning Disabilities
Teachers and Principals from two schools also presented the programmes they were implementing in their schools. Of particular interest was the data they were collecting – what was working, what wasn’t and how they were changing the programmes to suit their needs and the needs of the individual child.There are a myriad of programmes out there, many are expensive and will not give the results they promise to provide. Be very wise with your funds and your time. When considering any one of these programmes read the evidence first. You are making a large investment in your child’s future, make sure it is the right one.
Disclaimer: The programmes mentioned on this page are in no way advertised or endorsed either by NZPTA. When considering entering these programmes we encourage you to fully explore all options.