Hi there! My name is Dr. Don Helms and I am so excited to welcome you to my first blog and the BRAIN LAUNCH community. I know most of you, especially parents of young children and teens will find my information interesting and valuable.
The main purpose of my blog is to provide information that if understood and implemented will help address a couple of our society’s biggest problems.
- The first problem is that over the last two decades the number of children experiencing attention and learning difficulties has escalated significantly. These difficulties have led to more and more students underachieving academically and having negative labels placed upon them.
- The second problem is the escalating number of teens who are not developing the communication, social and problem-solving skills needed to actualize their true potential as human beings.
Let me tell you a little about myself and my journey towards helping solve these destructive problems
I began my professional career as a Developmental / Behavioral Optometrist. You may ask, “Why is an eye doctor writing a blog about the above-mentioned problems”? The answer is that Developmental / Behavioral Optometrists are the true pioneers in the Brain Fitness Industry, so I had a great knowledge foundation and a lot of clinical experience to start my journey.
I quickly realized that if I was going to make a major impact on helping solve these problems, I would have to take a multidisciplinary approach. I began to devour as much current and viable research from a variety of disciplines to create new information processing and intellectual models, theories and developmental programs.
I began conducting clinical studies to determine the effectiveness of my programs and to refine my models, theories, and programs. The results I obtained with my developmental programs were outstanding. However, I realized that if I truly wanted to make a major impact on helping solve these major social problems, I would have to get as many parents involved as possible and make my developmental programs very affordable, while maintaining program effectiveness.
Clinical programs can be effective but can add up quickly, often costing in the range of $1500 to over $5000, so this would not accomplish my goal. I thought maybe I could use technology to make my programs affordable, so I designed a developmental program in 2005 in which the child does the program exercises on a computer. This was affordable, but I realized over time that the main contributor to these social problems is a flat screen over usage, so I asked myself “How would encouraging more flat screen usage be effective in solving these problems”?
In today’s society, attention and information processing systems must be developed in a face-to-face real 3-dimensional setting, not on a screen, to be most effective. For example, the attention skills needed to pay attention to a screen are much different than the attention skills needed to pay attention to a teacher talking in front of a classroom. Three-year-olds can pay attention to a screen but most children today cannot pay attention to a teacher talking in front of the class for more than a few minutes.
Over the last couple of years, I have created a program delivery design that accomplishes the goal of affordability and effectiveness for children in today’s society.
- The BRAIN LAUNCH developmental programs are administered by a parent or other coach (mature teenager or adult) at home, which make the programs very affordable.
- The exercise instructions are delivered online and guide you through the programs in a scripted, step-by-step manner, which make them easy to administer.
- The exercises are done in a face-to-face manner, not on a screen, which makes them more effective. This also provides important child – coach interaction and immediate feedback, which strengthens communication skills and helps parents or another coach more aware of the child’s strengths and weakness.
Also, over the last couple of years, I have created the “Foundational Processing System” model and the “Construct of Optimal Intellect”, which I believe defines intelligence in a new, more meaningful way. Our new programs are based on these processing and intellectual models. The new programs will not only develop information processing skills, but also the thinking and life skills that I believe will optimize a student’s ability to experience a variety of personal successes, build quality relationships and contribute more to society. This, in turn, will lead to a more balanced, meaningful and fulfilling life. I believe these optimal life outcomes are prerequisites for happiness.
Please join me on this very important journey. The only way we can complete this journey is through teamwork. I welcome your feedback and questions.
Dr. Don Helms