6 Cognitive Skills that affect your Child’s Intelligence

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6 Cognitive Skills that affect your Child’s Intelligence

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6 Cognitive Skills that affect your Child’s Intelligence

It is well known how kids develop rapidly and their brains work constantly to explore this and that, analyze why and where, and try to make sense of the world around them.

In other words, kids are constantly developing cognitively.  When they start asking questions and finding solutions by themselves, their cognitive skills develop and improve in a way to help them become life-long learners and achieve great things in life.

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What are Cognitive Skills?

“Cognitive skills” are simply another term for mental skills, these are the skills we use to think, learn, remember, read, reason, concentrate and more. These skills take any incoming information and process it into our knowledge bank.

We have many cognitive skills, these play a huge part in processing new information, if one of these skills is below the required level, grasping, retaining and using different information is impacted. Usually learning struggles are caused by one or more weak cognitive skills.

Here is a brief description of each cognitive skill, in addition to how weakness in these skills affects their learning process and what kind of struggles your child might experience.

  1. Attention

The ability to attend with focus, clarity, and purpose. There are three types of attention, sustained, divided, and selective attention. A weakness might result in lots of unfinished projects, jumping from task to task, a common comment about the child’s concentration ability from their teachers.

  1. Memory/Working

Working memory is related to the ease and capacity to hold data in memory while processing it, enabling you to hang on to information while in the process of using it. Long term memory on the other hand enables you to recall information stored in the past. It simply refers to long-term storage and retrieval ability. A weakness in memory skills results in having to read the directions again in the middle of a project, have difficulty following multi-step directions, or forget what was just said in a conversation. They may forget names, do poorly on tests and forget things they used to know.

  1. Logic & Reasoning

The ability to reason and draw conclusions from given conditions, the ability to reason, form concepts, and solve problems using unfamiliar information or novel procedures. Any weakness in this skill results in frequently asking “What do I do next?” or saying, “I don’t get this,” struggling with math, feeling stuck or overwhelmed.

  1. Auditory Processing
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The ability to manipulate and understand spoken sounds, which is the crucial underlying skill for reading and spelling. It Enables you to analyze, blend, and segment sounds. when this skill is weak, students struggle with learning to read, reading fluency, or reading comprehension as well as learning new languages.

  1. Visual Processing

The ability to perceive, analyze, synthesize, and think using visual patterns and images. A weakness in this skill will result in difficulties understanding what you have just read, remembering what you have read, following directions, reading maps, doing word math problems

  1. Processing Speed

Refers to cognitive efficiency, more specifically the speed of processing simple concepts. Fluency and ease of processing information. It simply enables you to perform tasks quickly and accurately. A weakness in this skill results in feeling most tasks are more difficult than it should be. Taking a long time to complete tasks for school or work, frequently being the last one in a group to finish something.

Let us take a closer look at how our brain handles information, that is how we learn or how we process information or solve problems.

For example, if you were asked to spell your name, to do this task, you simply had to hear, pay attention, and remember the question as you tried to answer it. Then you made the decision that this is an easy question that you do not need to think about because you already have the answer stored in your knowledge bank. You handled this task quickly and easily because you didn’t have to think about it.

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But if I ask you to spell a more complicated word backwards, for example (Education), again you have to hear, attend and remember the question. But this time the answer is not automatic instead you need to think about it using one or more of your thinking skills. You may decide to use visual processing, to create a mental picture of the word “education” in your mind and then read the letters from the end of the word. As you do this, you will lay an imprint in your knowledge bank like walking through foot high snow. If you do this task enough times, that imprint become a solid path so that after the 5th or 6th time, you will not need to think about the answer, you will just go straight to your knowledge bank.

And now, let us take the task of spelling Education backwards and see how any weakness in these mental skills will affect performance:

  • Attention (ATT): in the process of calling out the letters, loses place as distracted
  • Short-Term Memory (STM): cannot remember the question
  • Processing Speed (PS): does not hear the full question
  • Logic & Reasoning (L&R): cannot come up with a solution
  • Auditory Processing (AP): cannot unglue sounds “Ed u ca tion”
  • Long-Term Memory (LTM): cannot remember letters that represent the sound
  • Visual Processing (VP): cannot picture the word

Notice how many cognitive skills play a role in processing information! If even one underlying skill is deficient, the individual’s ability to spell out a word backwards will be limited and less than efficient. These skills are involved in each activity we do throughout the day.

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