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A Press Democrat Blog

Dr. David Sortino

YOUR CHILD'S LEARNING BRAIN

The (World Series champion) Giants’ Brain?

What are the motivating factors to the fantastic success of the Giants at their World Series playoffs:  experience, leadership, athletic skill? The one angle that is not being addressed has to do with the function of the players’ brains when concerned with the perception of winning or losing. For example, I work with young athletes who are often placed in competitive situations that actually lead them to failure. Often, their brains are not ready to compete at a high level… Read More »

Global warning, not just global warming

Every generation has its challenges. In the ’30’s and ’40’s it was the Great Depression. In the ’60’s, it was the Vietnam War.  For today’s generation of students it should be global warning and not just global warming.  Unfortunately, global warming is something long term and not in your face like Vietnam and the Great Depression. Perhaps this is why you do not see more of this current generation marching in the streets and/or questioning the status quo regarding global… Read More »

Neurofeedback and the Learning Brain

One of the greatest problems confronting parents and teachers in dealing with your child’s learning brain is the array of choices one faces when dealing with underachievement and/or a learning disorder. Intensive tutoring, medication and/or various other therapies may be  tried with little success. Ultimately, these parents come to me, a neurofeedback facilitator, for additional support. I’ve found neurofeedback to be a  successful hands-on strategy to help children achieve a successful learning brain.  And in over 90% of my caseload,… Read More »

Throw Like a Girl?

A recent commercial sponsored by Research Now called “throw like a girl” describes how the loss of power (confidence, self esteem) can occur when a girl reaches puberty. According to the commercial, when the interviewer asked girls who had reached puberty to demonstrate what it is like to “throw like a girl” the girls demonstrated “stereo typical limp arms” and/or “silly facial expressions” of what it is like to “throw like a girl.” However when the interviewer asked pre-puberty girls,… Read More »

Common Core Standards’ Impact on High School Drop Out Rate

We will learn in a year or so whether or not Common Core Standards is a successful program. Particularly, we will discover whether it lowers the consistent (high) school drop out rate, which can run between 45 and 55% respectively (inner city) or if the program has raised the drop out rate. The state will always have a percentage of students who will excel regardless of the educational philosophy. Another percentage of students will get by and another percentage of… Read More »

Understanding Your Child’s Leisure Brain

One of the least discussed yet critical causes for student success in school is the ability of a child to experience what brain scientist’s call the leisure brain. This condition of the brain occurs when a student’s brain can breathe in a relaxed manner, taking in impressions with no pressure. In this environment, the brain allows for a processing that brings about greater organization and reassessment of the person’s state of being. This leisure brain condition is similar to the… Read More »

Middle School Discipline – What Works

The recent suspensions of several Sonoma County middle students should be a wake up call regarding zero tolerance as a viable school discipline program.  A zero tolerance policy imposes automatic punishment for infractions of a stated rule, with the intention of eliminating undesirable conduct. The middle school students were reprimanded for what was described as taking only a sip from a soda can laced with alcohol.  Suspension was the end result for all students involved. The question that needs to… Read More »

The New DUI: Cellphone Use

The proliferation of cellphone use while driving which caused the unspeakable, recent tragedy on  Highway 12 could happen to anyone and at anytime. Someone needs to take action. What we need is for a politician to step up and identify cellphone use while driving as punishable as a DUI. A good place to begin would be a possible bill increasing punitive results for misuse of a cellphone while driving. Dangerous cellphone use while driving is a problem for all segments… Read More »

Why Student Underachieve

In order to understand why certain students underachieve in school, we need to have a basic understanding of what major brain centers are associated with achievement and your student’s learning brain. The left and right sides of a student’s brain must work together for effective learning to take place. Unfortunately, most school curricula cater to the left side or the sequential, mathematical, linear, verbal and logical areas of the student’s brain. One important reason for low achievement is because a percentage… Read More »

Stopping School Violence: Restorative Justice or Zero Tolerance

The Obama administration’s recent press release concerning the elimination of a zero tolerance discipline philosophy in American public schools is long overdue. Zero tolerance is a tool that became popular in the 1990s, supporting uniform and swift punishment for offenses such as truancy, smoking or possession of a weapon. Violators could lose classroom time and even be saddled with a criminal record. The recommendations encouraged schools to ensure that all school personnel be trained in classroom management, conflict resolution and… Read More »