|Description of the Program
Hardy Brain Camp is a program offered exclusively at Boys and Girls Clubs that helps struggling students find success quickly and permanently.
The program works with a computer based technology called the Interactive Metronome. The training helps organize students' brains to improve skills like: focus, attention, memory, coordination, impulsivity, behavior, organization, and academic success.
The Hardy Brain Camp program succeeds where others fail because it works on the root of the child's problem. Most other remedial programs try to help children memorize the information presented in class. The Hardy Brain Camp program trains the brain to learn. This allows the students to pay consistent attention, process information faster, learn the information in class more quickly, and apply it easily.
Students use a computer, headphones and a controller for their hand or foot. Students listen to a beep and work to perform one of 20 specific actions like clapping their hands or tapping their toes as close to the tone as possible. They receive both visual and auditory feedback to help them increase accuracy. Each time they play, they try to improve their score.
While the kids find it fun, the program makes the brain's millisecond timing more efficient and helps them pay attention, think faster and make decisions faster. This helps them in school with things like: attention, reading, math, behavior, organization, focus, memory, coordination, working independently and self-confidence. The improvement is fast and permanent.
Students are referred from Boys and Girls Club staff, local schools, pediatricians and therapists who realize the student needs help reaching grade level goals.
This program is particularly helpful to students with ADD/ADHD, attention problems, impulsivity, dyslexia, learning disabilities, below grade level performance in reading or math, Asperger's, problems with organization and difficulty following directions.
Students with low-functioning autism or severe behavior issues that don't allow them to cooperate during 40 minutes of training do not qualify for this program. Also, students with seizure disorders or health issues that interfere with 40 minutes of moderate exercise would not be eligible either.
The program utilizes the PC computers with Internet access that each Boys and Girls Club already has in their computer lab.
The program lasts for four weeks. For it to show results, students need to attend Boys and Girls Club 5 days a week and work on the program for 45 minutes daily. The program requires consistency to work. Results usually start to be seen at the end of the training time and most students continue to make substantial improvements for a year or two after the completion of training.
One study published in The American Journal Of Occupational Therapy worked specifically with boys with ADHD. Each participant trained for 15 sessions with the Interactive Metronome technology.
Results showed a statistically significant improvement:
Another study performed by Taub, McGrew & Keith in 2005 looked at early reading and math skills. Students took a pre-test, were trained with the Interactive Metronome technology and took a post test.
- Decrease in aggressive behavior
- Motor control and coordination
- Processing speed
- Language processing
- Consistency of responses
Post test scores showed improvements of:
Success Stories from Hardy Brain Camp
- 20% in Letter Naming
- 18% in Sight Word Recognition
- 12% in Math Calculation
- 10% in Math Fluency
According to Jose's teacher, finding him "under the table", "constantly moving around in class", "throwing a fit" or "arguing" was not uncommon. His mom explained that "Jose has trouble with focus. He can't sit still. He disrupts the classroom."
In November 2009, Jose participated in the Hardy Brain Camp pilot program provided through a partnership with the Oxnard Boys' and Girls' Club, J and J Foundation and Hardy Brain Camp. He needed the first six sessions divided into smaller chunks because his attention span was so limited. After that he completed the other 18 sessions achieving scores for focus in the gifted range! This achievement has helped Jose make some big jumps in school.
Jose comments that he reads more. In fact he recently finished Diary of a Wimpy Kid. He relates that "It's a hundred pages. It says a lot of funny things." It is also important to note that he feels "I do my work much faster and find it out by myself."
His special education teacher reports excitedly that "His behavior and academics have definitely improved!" His second grade classroom teacher adds that he is displaying more patience, "rarely interrupts the class", "rarely argues" and "He can read sight words and is almost at grade level in math."
The staff at the Boys and Girls Club has noticed too. They share that "At Round Up he is proud to show papers with good grades," "He stops and thinks before acting" and best of all "He is proud of himself."
Some Exciting Numbers
|Brain Processing Speed
|Amount of Material
Learned in a month
Freddy has been described as "high energy". "Freddy couldn't concentrate" working independently during whole class lessons or at school, during homework time at home or during power hour at the Boys and Girls Club. He would often be found running around.
After participating in the Hardy Brain Camp, Freddy describes the change as "good - when my teacher is telling more stuff, I understand it now." He also notices that "It's easier paying attention now when kids are making noise." Both of these skills are important to success in school.
Freddy's teacher shares that "his attitude to learn has improved." "He starts his work faster and is finishing it faster and he works much more independently."
Freddy's mom sees the progress too. He is more successful with homework and "he is getting much better grades."
The Oxnard Boys' and Girls' Club staff has observed:
- "He is proud that he is getting 100% on some of his work."
- "His maturity level is up.
- "He helps the other kids now."
- "He has more focus and wants to get his homework done. "
Some Exciting Numbers
|Brain Processing Speed
Sherrie Hardy is a learning specialist with over 35 years experience helping students who struggle in school. She has helped over 1,000 children find success using this program.
Hardy understands the frustrations and anxiety students, teachers and parents feel. Hardy herself struggled in school at an early age. Helped by her father's "unique ways of learning that used movement," she found success.
Later, when her daughters struggled in school she tried many of the traditional options without success. Around this time she heard about Interactive Metronome. Her daughters went from being at the bottom of the class to earning honor roll grades. She is a master level Interactive Metronome trainer, participates in the design of new IM programs and beta tests new programs ready for release. Working closely with Interactive Metronome staff, she designed the Hardy Brain Camp program especially for Boys and Girls Clubs of America.
Hardy Brain Camp began with an idea and a dream for helping children.
Hardy worked with a fourth grader named Carlos for a year in her Hardy Academy program,
Carlos went from:
- unfocused to on-task
- a full-day special education classroom to a regular 5th grade classroom
- hating school to being very successful
- extremely behind grade level and now helping other struggling students as a peer helper
- non-reader to reading at fourth grade level
- failing to being selected valedictorian at 5th grade graduation
- unmotivated and frustrated to being selected by his school district as an "Inspirational Student"
Jeff Henley, a member of the Board of Governors of the Boys and Girls Club of America, noticed Carlos' achievements and had the vision of bringing this kind of success to students at the Boys and Girls Clubs across America.
With Jeff's help and inspiration, the first pilot program started in October 2009 at the Oxnard Boys and Girls Club on Seventh Street in Oxnard, CA.
OVERVIEW OF HOW THE PROGRAM WORKS
The Boys and Girls Clubs apply for a grant to cover the costs of offering the program to students throughout the year. After the grant is awarded, the program's software is installed onto a PC in the computer lab of the club. The hardware simply plugs into the USB port.
Before students begin HBC will help you decide which pre and post tests to administer. This is an evaluation used in schools across the country to measure academic performance and processing speed. This will be used to measure each students performance before and after the training. Students also complete a millisecond timing assessment to determine the individualized program will meet their needs.
Hardy Brain Camp trainers set up a custom program for each student and adjust the program throughout the 4 weeks of training for maximum individual progress.
Students train five days a week for 45 minutes each day. The complete training lasts four weeks. At the end of the training, students take a post test to determine progress. Students typically gain a year or more in reading, math, and processing speed (thinking speed + decision making speed).
Students continue to make gains in attention, processing speed and academics for a year or more after the training is completed.
Jose and Freddy's Progress Eight Months Later
Jose was re-tested 8 months after completing his training. His math score was almost at grade level (3.4), his reading was above grade level (3.7) and his processing speed had soared to grade level 6.3. These gains will continue to make success in school easier for Jose year after year.
When Jose learned that more students were being selected to participate in the second phase of the pilot project, he approached Erin Antrim, the program director of the Oxnard - Port Hueneme Boys and Girls Clubs, and told her how much the program had changed his life and asked if he could do the program again so he could do even better at school. The first time he participated in the program he was kicking and screaming and refusing to participate. He was failing at school and was a constant disturbance in class. Now he is enthusiastic about learning and wants to do better! Jose has changed from a turned-off student to an enthusiastic learner who is proud of his accomplishments and self-confident in class.
When Freddy was re-tested 8 months later, we decided to experiment to see how his ability to pay attention had improved. Remember Freddy had said one of the benefits of the training he had noticed was that "It's easier paying attention now when kids are making noise." We set up Freddy's test at a table in a busy room with 15 other students all making noise, yelling and shouting. The noise level was at the point where "you couldn't hear yourself think".
During testing we observed a focused, more organized child who no longer needed to be moving to function. Freddy sat still and stayed focused throughout all of his tests in the midst of the noisy Boys and Girls Club activity room and completed his exams without losing his attention. These exams revealed four more months growth in math (to grade 3.5 - which is at grade level), six month additional growth in reading (to grade level 2.9) and over a year more growth in processing speed to grade level 5.6 - two years above his current grade. This advanced level of processing will continue to facilitate his ability to pay attention in class, advance more quickly and learn more information per year so he can excel in his studies at school.
Freddy is no longer distracted by the sights and sounds around him as he demonstrated during the exams at Boys and Girls Club and in his progress at school. His face beams now as he completes his work, he is proud of his accomplishments and enjoys learning. His future is no longer limited by poor attention and he now has within him the power to learn and to make his dreams come true.
Typically the gains in processing speed, reading and math create higher self-confidence and self-esteem, as we have seen with Freddy and Jose. This translates to an eagerness to take on difficult challenges with the expectation of success. Unfortunately, most failing students aren't given the opportunity to make these kinds of changes.
Failure to learn basic skills during the school day condemns students to failure. A total of 1.3 million American high school students drop out every year because they can't succeed in school.
With six weeks of Hardy Brain Camp training at Boys and Girls Clubs these students can gain the ability to think and process information effectively so they can catch up and keep up in school year after year.
The future can be changed and these potential dropouts can be given the thinking tools to be successful and become productive citizens. Boys and Girls Clubs Hardy Brain Camp program offers struggling young people the opportunity to reach their full potential as productive citizens. The Hardy Brain Camp program is a life-changing experience that gives hope and opportunity to those who need it most.