Cognitive Skills Training for Children

Cognitive skills are the skills the brain uses to think, learn, read, remember, pay attention, and solve problems.

The “cognitive profile” of every child is unique, with some strong skills and other skills that are not as strong. For example, here’s a look at the cognitive profiles of three children before undergoing cognitive testing and training at LearningRx:

Cognitive Skills Profile of 3 Children

You can see that every child is very distinctive in his or her cognitive strengths. What’s more, a child’s cognitive profile influences the kinds of success or struggles he or she is experiencing in school or life. This is because cognitive skills include attention, short-term memory, long-term memory, visual processing, auditory processing, logic & reasoning, and processing speed.

These skills are so critical because they are the very skills the brain uses to think, learn, read, remember, pay attention, and solve problems. These are also the skills that determine IQ. So even one weak skill can make learning or life harder than it needs to be.

The purpose of cognitive skills training for children

Cognitive skills training is a way of targeting and strengthening weak skills. LearningRx offers a very effective form of cognitive training (also known as brain training) that pairs children with their own cognitive training (or brain trainer) for fun, challenging exercises that “work” the brain.

Working one-on-one a brain trainer is so effective because trainers provide accountability and encouragement. They also customize each session to keep things difficult enough to work up a mental sweat, but not difficult enough so that the child feels frustrated or discouraged. Finally, the human interaction provided by one-on-one cognitive training is a powerful change agent. Children typically develop a positive bond with their trainers that fosters a great environment for motivation and results.

Cognitive skills training is an important intervention because, typically, weak skills don’t just “catch up” with age. This is why struggling children often grow into struggling adults.

The difference between cognitive skills training and tutoring

Cognitive skills training and tutoring are very different solutions for very different problems:

  • Teaching and tutoring provide information.
  • Cognitive training strengthens the skills the brain uses to grasp that information.

This is why families of students with a cognitive weakness can find themselves using tutors year after year. For children with weak skills, the problem is not how the information is being presented. Instead, the root cause of the problem has to do with how the brain is grasping what is being presented. Many families discover that once weak cognitive skills are strengthened, the need for tutors is reduced or even eliminated altogether.

That said, tutoring can be an excellent choice if a child is struggling because something interfered with the delivery of classroom content the first time it was presented. This could be due to relocating, missing class due to illness or vacation, or even the absence of a teacher. In cases like these, using a tutor to reteach classroom content can be the perfect solution.

Studies show, however, that most children who struggle in school do so because of one or more weak cognitive skills. In cases like these, cognitive training can get to the root of the problem by targeting and strengthening those skills.

Does cognitive skills training actually work?

Let’s take one of the examples above and see what difference, if any, was made following cognitive training. This 12-year-old was struggling with attention, math, and schoolwork. His cognitive profile showed why. While many skills were very strong, weak skills included processing speed, short-term memory and long term memory—and these weaknesses were making it difficult to focus and perform.

Cognitive Skills Profile and Pre and Post Brain Training Percentile Scores

Following cognitive training, this student showed cognitive improvements across the board, including dramatic gains in his weakest skills.

Naturally, these are the scores of a single student, and you or your child may or may not get the same results. But even when looking at the average improvements of thousands of children and adults who have undergone cognitive training, the results show movement in every cognitive area.

Over a six-year period, LearningRx tested the cognitive skills of 17,998 clients before and after brain training, which revealed dramatic gains in nine core areas of cognitive performance, including IQ.* The following scores are represented below in percentiles, which show where someone ranks compared to 100 of their peers. Here are the results:

Graph of Pre and Post Percentiles of clients before and after cognitive training


*These are the results of past clients. You may or may not achieve similar results.

To learn more about the results of cognitive training, visit and download the full report.

If you or someone you love is struggling with learning, reading, attention, or memory, the next step is to find out why. Call a LearningRx brain training center near you and schedule a time to take a Cognitive Skills Assessment. The assessment takes about an hour and will provide you with invaluable information regarding specific cognitive strengths and weaknesses.