The key solution – Cognitive Skills
“Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school.” — A. Einstein
The key to solving a persistent learning challenge is to strengthen a person’s basic processing or cognitive skill set.
This chapter will answer foundational questions that are of interest to every parent who has a child with a learning disability:
- What are cognitive skills?
- How are cognitive skills like learning tools?
- How do cognitive skills impact performance and success?
- How can we determine the strength of cognitive skills?
- Which cognitive skills are most important for success?
The answers to these questions are truly encouraging. If there is an identifiable cause for the learning struggle, and if that cause can be treated successfully, the learning difficulty can be solved! Yes, it’s true—learning difficulties can often be permanently overcome.
Cognitive Skills in Kids— Understanding the basics
1. What are cognitive skills?
I want to emphasize again that cognitive skills are not at all the same as the subjects taught in the classroom at school. Those are academic skills, which consist of knowledge about different subjects like math, history, and government.
People are often surprised that there’s a difference between cognitive and academic skills. Actually, there’s a big difference. Cognitive skills are the mental capabilities you need to successfully learn academic subjects. Underlying cognitive skills must function well for you to efficiently and easily read, think, prioritize, understand, plan, remember, and solve problems.
Throughout this book you will encounter several terms that all mean essentially the same thing: cognitive skills, mental skills or tools, underlying skills, learning tools or skills, processing skills, and intelligence. Don’t be confused! These terms are synonymous in our vocabulary about learning. For our purposes in this book, please keep in mind that cognitive skills are the individual mental skills we use to learn.
Cognitive Skills in Kids— Key points
Here are some basic points to remember:
- When cognitive skills are strong, academic learning is fast, easy, efficient, and even fun.
- When cognitive skills are weak, academic learning will be, at best, a struggle.
- Cognitive skills are, therefore, the essential tools for learning.
It will help immensely if you keep these points foremost in your mind as we examine mental skills more closely.
Mental or cognitive skills may seem a bit mysterious because they are not easy to see or recognize by themselves. But, without the underlying cognitive skills, you and I could not process the information received from every possible source — sound, touch, sight, taste, and smell.
Excerpts of the book Unlock the Enstein Inside by Dr. Ken Gibson