What are cognitive skills?
To understand the importance of cognitive skills, it is necessary to look at learning as two distinct parts:
- specific academic study and
- a student’s underlying ability to learn.
Cognitive skills are the underlying tools that enable you to think, prioritize, plan, understand, visualize, remember, create useful associations, and solve problems successfully .
Cognitive Skills are every student’s foundation for successful learning.
The 7 core cognitive skills are:
We train 3 types of attention: sustained, selective and divided attention.
What it does: Enables you to stay focused and on task for an extended period of time.
Common problems when this skill is weak: A Lot of projects are left unfinished, jumping from task to task.
What it does: Enables you to stay focused and on a task despite distractions.
Common problems when this skill is weak: Easily distracted.
What it does: Enables you to remember information while doing two things at once.
Common problems when this skill is weak: Difficulty multitasking, frequent mistakes.
What it does: Enables you to recall information stored in the past.
Common problems when this skill is weak: Forgetting names, doing poorly on tests, forgetting things you used to know.
Memory (Working or Short-Term)
What it does: Enables you to hang on to information while in the process of using it.
Common problems when this skill is weak: Having to read the directions again in the middle of a project, difficulty following multi-step directions, forgetting what was just said in a conversation.
Logic & Reasoning
What it does: Enables you to reason, form ideas, and solve problems.
Common problems when this skill is weak: Frequently asking, “What do I do next?” or saying, “I don’t get this,” struggling with math, feeling stuck or overwhelmed.
Also known as phonemic awareness.
What it does: Enables you to analyze, blend, and segment sounds. It is a critical skill in beginning to read, and spelling.Common problems when this skill is weak: Struggling with learning to read, reading fluency, or reading comprehension.
What it does: Enables you to think in visual images.
Common problems when this skill is weak: Difficulties understanding what you’ve just read, remembering what you’ve read, following directions, reading maps, doing word math problems.
What it does: Enables you to perform tasks quickly and accurately.
Common problems when this skill is weak: Most tasks are more difficult. Taking a long time to complete tasks for school or work, frequently being the last one in a group to finish something.
Each of these skills plays a specific and necessary role in effective academic performance. Weak skills result in a diminished capacity to learn and perform.
Symptoms that signal the possibility of a cognitive processing problem are:
- Difficulty paying attention & staying on task
- Problems remembering – forgets instructions or what was read earlier
- Struggling to comprehend
- Taking a long time to complete tasks and avoiding work that seems complicated
- Difficulties sounding out words and spelling
- Problems creating mental pictures, making associations & conclusions
- Making frequent “careless” errors
Check out our Testing and Our Training on Cognitive skills.
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