BrainWare SAFARI and Students with Learning Disabilities

“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” John Wooden

BrainWare SAFARI can help students with learning disabilities by strengthening the cognitive skills that will enable them to learn more effectively and more efficiently. In peer-reviewed, published research, students with specific learning disabilities who used BrainWare SAFARI for 12 weeks, improved key cognitive functions, including verbal working memory, attention, and short-term memory to the level of normally developing students. With stronger cognitive skills, these students were able to make substantial gains in reading and math — 0.8 grade equivalents in reading and 1.0 grade equivalents in math, in just 12 weeks.

BrainWare SAFARI addresses weaker skills and builds them in a comprehensive and integrated way, like cross-training for the brain. It is delivered in an engaging video-game format, which helps the skills develop more quickly and helps motivate persistence in areas where the deficits are greatest.

The program can be used as an intervention within the school setting (for example, as part of an Individualized Education Plan (IEP)), or at home. Many clinicians and learning specialists use BrainWare SAFARI, along with other interventions, to help students with a variety of learning disabilities.

Cognitive Skills and Learning Disabilities

As the National Center for Learning Disabilities (LD) describes it, LD is a neurological disorder that affects the brain’s ability to receive, process, store and respond to information. But all learning disabilities do not look the same and, indeed, a student may have a deficit in one area or multiple areas, but not in others.

The important thing about learning disabilities is to recognize that they can create significant barriers for children learning how to read, write, do math, learn life skills and develop their abilities to plan and organize themselves. When there are underlying learning disabilities, they are likely to impact a child’s progress in more than one subject area. Because learning disabilities affect the basic processes the brain uses to receive, process, store and manipulate information, simply teaching more reading, more math or more writing is unlikely to resolve the problem. Development of those underlying skills is necessary and possible.

Common Cognitive Skill Deficits in LD

While deficits in any area of cognitive functioning can impede efficient learning, some common areas of deficits impact many students:

Cognitive AreaCognitive Skill DefinitionExample
AttentionDivided AttentionThe ability to attend to two activities and the same time.Listening to the teacher while taking notes.
Memory Working MemoryThe ability to hold information in the mind while performing mental operations on it.Copying a math problem from book to paper, or remembering the first part of a sentence to the end to enable comprehension.
Auditory ProcessingAuditory Sequential ProcessingThe ability of the perceptual processing system to send auditory information to the brain in the same order it was receivedKeeping sounds, words or steps in a set of instructions in the right order.
Visual Processing Visual Processing SpeedThe ability to perform tasks quickly – such as scanning, inspecting and comparing information or processing incoming information quickly.Obtaining relevant information from a graph or reading the faces of a group of classmates.
Sensory IntegrationVisual-Auditory IntegrationThe ability to match auditory and visual stimuli and coordinate them into a meaningful product.Connecting the sight and smell of an orange into a single concept.

BrainWare SAFARI and Students with Learning Disabilities

Cognitive remediation is different from accommodation