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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can you give me a quick overview of PACE?

Yes, here is a very quick 11 point overview:

  • PACE is based on the best scientific research available and is continually modified to incorporate new scientific data.
  • PACE targets and trains those skills that are most likely to have a meaningful impact on learning performance and academic abilities.
  • PACE is provided individually to achieve significant results quickly.
  • PACE consists of sequenced procedures to challenge - not bore or frustrate - the student.
  • PACE is provided on a one-on-one basis to allow immediate feedback (error correction and positive reinforcement).
  • PACE improves the student's self-esteem by allowing him or her to actually see the difference in his or her own performance.
  • PACE drives new skills to the subconscious so that they become habitual and automatic.
  • PACE procedures appear to be non-academic so that they are different from the schoolwork with which the student may have had negative experiences.
  • PACE develops meaningful skills that are used in the student's daily activities so that there is a high level of retention.
  • PACE produces valuable results (there is a high return) when considering committed effort, time, and finances.

2. What are the major causes of learning problems?

About 85 to 90 percent of learning difficulties are due to poor underlying learning skills. These skills include:

  • Attention/Concentration: the ability to stay on task or ignore distractions. For example, continuing to read a book while another group is in a discussion.
  • Phonetic awareness: the ability to blend sounds, segment (unglue) sounds, and analyze sounds. Problems with reading new words or spelling errors in writing result from poor phonetic awareness.
  • Memory: the ability to recall short or long term information. For example, copying from a board (short term) or taking a final history exam (long term).
  • Comprehension: the ability to understand.
  • Visualization: the ability to create mental pictures. For example, seeing "in the mind" a math word problem before trying to solve it.
  • Processing Speed: the ability to handle and process information quickly.

3. Are learning difficulties due to a lack of instruction?

This is easy to determine. If you or your child is able to understand and perform as others do with extra help or tutoring, then the cause of the struggle is poor or inadequate instruction. But if good performance is achieved only after long hours, sweat, or many mistakes, then the problem is deeper.


4. Is a lack of motivation the cause of learning problems?

Very few enter school or a job not wanting to succeed. It is only after they find it difficult, experience failure, or are ridiculed that they avoid the activities that give them pain. In other words, a lack of motivation is usually the result of a learning problem - not the cause.


5. Are learning difficulties inherited?

Heredity does play a role, but it is minor. It is generally believed that between 40% and 70% of our mental abilities are learned, not inherited. Therefore, we can accomplish far more if we stop blaming the problems on genes, which we can't change, and start enhancing the skills that are learned and can be changed.


6. Can a child with normal intelligence have a problem with learning?

Absolutely. IQ is only an average of many different learning skills, which means it's possible for someone who has "normal" intelligence to have scored high on some skills and low on others. And if those "low" scores are in the skills required for reading or math, then reading or math achievement will be low even though IQ is "normal." Read more about the misinterpretation of achievement and IQ test scores.


7. If learning skills are learned, why are they not learned in school?

Every school activity a child does has the potential to further develop an underlying learning skill. But this will only happen if the activity is challenging. School lessons are often either too hard (frustrating) or too easy (boring) because children seldom have equal learning skills. Therefore, to make significant improvement in these skills, individual attention is required.

Many schools simply don't have the time or funds to provide this very intensive and structured one-on-one training. Also, most teachers tend to teach to the child's stronger skills. By avoiding the weak skills, they don't get developed. The result may be a life-long learning handicap.


8. Where can I find help?

The purpose of PACE is to help people learn easier, faster, and more efficiently. To do this, we first determine if any learning skills are deficient. If there are, we determine how much they can be improved and what impact the improvement will have on the person's learning and life. If that impact is significant, we then design a very intense one-on-one training program that involves active participation by the child's family. (One of the most significant and noticeable impacts that PACE makes on childrens' lives is on their self-esteem. When children see improvements in their performance, they feel much better about themselves and work harder to achieve even more.) We can give you the name and telephone number of a provider in your area, help you become a provider (college degree required) , or train you to tutor your own child.


9. Is PACE based on clinical results or laboratory studies?

PACE was developed in clinical settings using real people with real learning problems but utilizing and applying the best scientific research.

PACE is directed by some of the nation's most highly regarded experts on learning in the fields of clinical and neuropsychology, visual and auditory processing, and education. These experts have been responsible for hundreds of professional articles, research projects, books, publications, and lectures throughout the world. Their purpose is to ensure that new developments in learning are applied to help those with cognitive deficiencies succeed.

In the last few years, great strides have been made by researchers to expand our understanding of how the brain works. This has allowed the creation of better learning models and remedial strategies to help those who have difficulty learning. Today, PACE is at the forefront of using this knowledge to make significant improvements in learning skills.


10. Why are most PACE training procedures non-academic?

Academic content could cause some students to resist training because it may seem too much like school, which the student may associate with negative experiences. Also, the short-range goal of PACE is improved learning performance. PACE improves the student's learning performance so that the student is able to learn more easily and efficiently. This then makes it possible to achieve PACE's long-range goal of improved academic or job related performance.


11. What is a training task like?

PACE training procedures are made up of tasks that are designed to meet specific goals. The tasks are related, make repetitive demands on a deficient skill, and progressively increase in difficulty. This is a process-specific approach to training (as opposed to a general stimulation approach). A process-specific approach targets the same function systematically and repetitively with related tasks.


12. Why is PACE provided one-on-one rather than in a group?

PACE is done one-on-one for two reasons. First, the activities need to be sequenced according to each student's skill level. Each training task demands very specific skills. The student needs to be constantly challenged. If the task is too easy, it's boring. But if it's too hard, it's frustrating. Procedures that are challenging will cause the most improvement.

Second, we need to provide immediate feedback. Students need praise when performing correctly as an incentive to keep working, and they need correction when making an error so they are aware of the mistake. Later, they learn to recognize and correct their own errors.


13. How is PACE different from other remediation programs?

Traditional help for individuals with learning problems has typically focused on one of four methodologies:

  • sensory therapy (vision, auditory)
  • motor therapy (speech, occupational)
  • psychotherapy (motivation)
  • academic remediation (remedial reading, learning disabled programs, tutoring)

Although these methods may be effective in correcting a sensory, motor, or very specific academic problem, they have had limited results in significantly improving learning performance.

PACE, on the other hand, is a process-specific approach using planned, repetitive exercises that place demands on deficient mental functions. When the student masters the exercise, a more demanding exercise that targets the same mental skill is available to continue the training.


14. Do all PACE students progress at the same rate?

No. Normally a student with fewer deficient learning skills will progress faster than a student with many. Each procedure is graded according to difficulty and tasks become progressively more complex. Pace is regulated by mastery, so the number of tasks completed during training differ from student to student. In other words, once the student passes a task, he or she is then allowed to progress to the next challenge (a more difficult task).


15. Do PACE students get frustrated?

Seldom. Because we start at the point the student can achieve and then gradually increase the demand - like a video game - the student gains ability and confidence. At times the student may get frustrated in the same way she or he would with a video game.


16. Do the results last?

Yes. The skills developed are used each day the student is in school or at work. They are constantly being used and therefore don't regress. This retention is reflected in a study that showed that 98.7% of the one year follow-up cognitive test scores were at least as high as they were at the completion of PACE.


17. Why does PACE require so many hours per week?

We believe that getting big, fast changes is far better than getting slow, gradual changes for two reasons. First, it is easier to get parents to commit to working very hard for 12 weeks than one hour a week for 18 months. Second, it's important that students see big changes quickly - this will increase their self-esteem and they'll be motivated to work even harder because they can see the payoff.


18. How do we know if we are getting results?

Our training is not done in secret. Parents are required to spend at least 3 hours per week doing procedures with their child. Therefore parents will know if improvement is being made.


19. If we're not seeing results, what do we do?

Stop. If at any time you are not satisfied that the changes are not worth the time, money, and effort, stop. We're here to help get maximum improvement in the shortest period of time. If it's not happening - don't continue.


20. What does a PACE program cost?

PACE is licensed to providers who set their own fees. The fees vary by location and type of provider. However, in most cases, the fees are similar to the fees charged by tutoring centers.


21. How does PACE differ from academic tutoring?

PACE tackles the cause rather than the effect. If the reason for learning difficulties is poor instruction, then academic tutoring is the correct solution. But if there is a deficient underlying learning skill, then academic tutoring is only a stop-gap and will need to be repeated year after year. PACE, on the other hand, "cures" the cause.


22. Is there a satisfaction policy?

Many providers (check with your provider) offer a satisfaction policy.

If after four sessions you are not completely satisfied you may discontinue and get a full refund.


23. Can I talk to someone who has gone through PACE?

We wish everyone would. Our greatest supporters are our own parents and students. Your local provider will likely have the names of people you can contact. Also, please look through the parent comments on this website. They are not doctored (in fact, they are not even the best of the best), but the bulk of the comments on this website come from one office during a three month span. Click here for parent and student comments.


24. What results does PACE get?

PACE's pre and post test results show changes in cognitive skills which are unmatched. And our studies are not just done on small control groups of 15 to 25 students but on thousands of students and by a multitude of providers throughout the country. Average gains in deficient learning skills are greater than 3.6 years in only ten weeks! These gains are reflected in IQ scores that show an average 28 point increase where IQ was below the norm and an average 13 point increase where IQ was initially above the norm! For more details click here.


25. How will PACE affect dyslexia (poor reading)?

Numerous studies have shown the major cause of reading problems is the inability to 'unglue' sounds in words, blend sounds to form words, and analyze sounds within words. In other words, most students with reading problems struggle to hear, analyze, and separate the individual phonemes in words. Furthermore, it has been shown that children don't automatically learn to segment words into sounds simply because they are exposed to a reading system.

PACE includes procedures that evaluate, pinpoint and develop to advanced levels the underlying mental skills required to assure fast and efficient learning-to-read skills. Beyond this, the developers of PACE have also developed a revolutionary new sound-based one-on-one reading and spelling program called Master The Code. For more information see www.masterthecode.com.


26. How does PACE affect motivation and self image?

Internal motivation comes from within a person. It is a person's individual need - for a reason that others may not even be aware of - to attain a goal. Those with a history of learning problems are often lacking in this area. They do not feel that they can attain goals, so they do not have the motivation to try to attain them. The possibility for improvement seems so poor that they do not sustain the maximum effort that should be put forth to accomplish a task. Therefore, in PACE, we make sure students quickly achieve many small successes. In many cases, within three weeks, students have moved beyond what they had previously thought would be impossible, and are then ready and eager for new and greater challenges. Success breeds success, and as students experience improved skills and capabilities their self image will soar!


27. Do you have a trial program?

Most providers offer a four session money back guarantee. This gives you a chance to test the waters. If after four sessions you don't feel comfortable or doubt the effectiveness, or for any reason you don't want to continue, stop. Providers don't want to continue unless you fully support the program. (Check details with your provider).


28. How does PACE handle mistakes and errors?

To accomplish a task, a student needs feedback so that he or she can understand what is correct and what is incorrect.

If the student performs a task correctly, the trainer reinforces the performance by giving immediate praise. This will create a sense of accomplishment in the student and an internal motivation to keep trying to succeed.

Besides positive reinforcement, the student also needs corrective feedback. If the student performs the task incorrectly, the trainer informs the student of the error and has the student repeat the task. Then, when the student understands when an error has occurred, he or she can enter the second stage of correction. This involves the student correcting his or her own errors and repeating the task on his or her own. Finally, the student is allowed to continue a task without interruption - even after an error - as long as he or she is aware of it.


29. How long does it take to complete PACE?

After 10 or 12 weeks, post testing is done to determine progress. Because the average improvement is about 3.6 year gains for each deficient skill, most students are then at or above their age level. At this point providers, parents, and students can determine if they need and want to continue. Our recommendation is that as long as the gains being made are worth the time, money and effort - continue, and if not - discontinue.


30. To what degree can mental skills be changed?

Mental skills may sometimes appear fixed, especially since IQ results have been used for years to classify and label people as having a specific level of intelligence. But the truth is that we do not have to accept poor mental skills because we can improve them. They are not fixed. A numerical IQ result is simply an average of the many mental skills that are tested by an intelligence test. This average reflects a person's present level of mental functioning - not a fixed ability that is constant across a life span. Mental skills are learned skills and can, therefore, be practiced and improved.

For years, we have known that we can modify and improve mental skills. But most efforts at helping students with learning problems still ignore this knowledge. Instead, many people try to modify the student's environment.


31. What studies show that mental skills can be modified?

There are numerous studies that show this modification is possible. The following is just a sample of these studies supporting the fact that a wide range of mental skills can be - and have been - improved.

Using a program aimed at developing reasoning and figural classification skills, Jacobs showed a measurable improvement in these skills, a better retention rate, and a transfer of skills to related tasks.

Meichenbaum was able to improve mental performance in a variety of therapeutic situations by modifying the inner speech patterns of children and adults, which shows that learning and memory skills can be trained.

Blank revealed IQ gains of 14.5 points in a one-on-one program that lasted 75 minutes per week over several months. The IQ gains dropped to only seven points when the amount of training was reduced to 45 minutes per week.

Bloom and Broder, using an individualized problem-solving training program, obtained significant gains in grades if there were more than seven sessions.

Lindamood reported individual reading gains averaged 2.4 years in a four-month period for eighth and ninth graders who received auditory-conceptual training.

Greenspan showed a significant improvement in directionality and a reduction of reversal errors after using perceptual-motor training.

Impressive training results have also been documented by Feuerstein, Holzman, and Trabasso for reasoning; Belmont, Brown, and Wanschura for memory; Klahr and Siegler for problem solving; Farr, Hendrickson, Walsh, Brown, Getz, Halliwell, Rowell, and Rosner for visual processing; and Peters, Rose, Yates, Varner, and Turner for auditory processing.

Click here for study results of the PACE program.. The results not only show tremendous changes in processing skills (a 3.6 year improvement in 10 weeks), but also a significant transfer to higher mental skills (a 23-point gain in IQ).

Neurobiologically-based facts and scientific studies show how skills can be modified. But the question of how training exercises can benefit everyday life remains. The answer is transfer.

Transfer occurs when a person applies some previously gained knowledge to a new situation that requires a similar task. For example, a person who learns to play a card game can apply this knowledge to help him or her learn how to play other card games. The first game teaches the person how many points cards typically are worth, how the cards are typically divided among players, which cards may be considered "trump," and the value order of the cards. If a person can learn these rules that are common to most card games, he or she will find learning unfamiliar card games easier.

The same is true for mental training. A student who learns how to use visualization to remember a list of presidents will be able to use this same strategy to help him or her remember a story or spelling list as well. And a student who learns to do two or three tasks at one time (such as count by three while following a moving object and clapping in beat) will be able to listen to a teacher and take notes at the same time. Each skill learned in PACE will transfer to help the student perform other activities that use the same skill.

Not only is this transfer "horizontal" (similar tasks), but it is also "vertical" (affecting higher mental skills). If a person learns a skill that a higher mental skill is dependent upon, that higher mental skill may be improved as well. In other words, a student who learns to process information faster, concentrate more, visualize, remember, and conceptualize auditory patterns better will find learning much easier and faster. PACE targets the processing skills that academic skills rely upon to make learning easier and more efficient for the student. Then the student will no longer have to learn to process, but can process to learn. See parent and student comments.


 

Five steps to help you help your child

By following these steps you will have gained some very important information that will dramatically improve you child's ability to do well in school.

  1. Understand the causes of learning difficulties.
  2. Know the skills necessary for fast and efficient learning.
  3. Find out what skills are weak.
  4. Learn what needs to happen to improve learning skills.
  5. Take specific steps that can help your child or student gain the skills needed to become a successful student.
The concepts that I'll cover apply not only to children, but to adults as well. I have, however, written these pages referring only to children to make your reading easier. If you are an adult with some of the above learning problems, please click here for a web page that is directed towards adults.

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