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Has anyone used the Learning RX (or PACE ) program?

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Joined: Aug 31, 2007
Posts: 10
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Posted Aug 31, 2007 at 11:33:09 PM
Subject: Has anyone used the Learning RX (or PACE ) program?

Hello. I'm seriously considering enrolling my son in a cognitive skills improvement program at a Learning RX center. It works on all cognitive skills: verbal processing, auditory processing, visual processing, memory, attention, etc. "Learning RX" is the franchise name for the program that is also called PACE when it is provided by a private trainer or tutor. (They also used to have a home-use kit called "Brain Skills". It sounds like a fantastic program, but it is very expensive and it would require lots of driving, so I am trying to check it out the best I can. They make some pretty impressive claims and show significant numbers of students' before and after test results showing huge gains.The speech-language pathologist who runs the Learning RX center said she has been helping kids for 20 years and used all kinds of programs, including Lindamood Bell and FastForWord, but she decided to drop them and just use this one because she saw such phenominal results in such a short time and all across the board for a wide range of cognitive skills. They use the Woodcock-Johnson cognitive skills test both before and after and guarantee at least a 3 year gain in at least one weak skill area in 20 weeks of using the program! Anyway, has anyone had any experience with this program?
It sounds too good to be true, so I am concerned that if it is so fantastic, why hasn't the learning specialist who first tested my son heard about it? Why isn't this program mentioned in books I've read on LD?
I've read some pretty impressive stories on a homeschool message board from folks who've used the program. That is how I first heard about it. Thanks for any help you can give me.

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Laura
Joined Nov 10, 2007
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Posted:Nov 10, 2007 9:31:54 AM

We just completed the Learning Rx program this week. Our daughter did quite well on the exit exams; unfortunately her improvements there did not transfer to school. We still have to reteach her at home as much as we did prior to the program. It was interesting how she jumped four grade levels in reading because we only did the reading program for a few weeks. We asked to quit the reading program when we realized that it focused on phonics, not reading comprehension.
Part of the reason the skills our daughter obtained from there did not transfer to school may be due to the fact that our daughter has Aspergers (with a significant delay in her language development). Children with Aspergers and autism often have a difficult time transferring what they learned in one situation to another situation.
My opinion about Learning Rx is that it's really a program to enhance learning, not fix learning disabilities. Keep in mind the tests they use to measure grade improvement don't necessarily correspond to what children are doing in school, and if your child shows two grade level improvements on THEIR TESTS, they get to keep YOUR MONEY!

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rogomom2
Joined Oct 03, 2007
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Posted:Nov 10, 2007 1:45:12 PM

I've never heard about this program, but my daughter went through another program where they administered the Woodcock Johnson before and afterwards. My daughter did greatly benefit from the program that she went through, but I did not believe she made as great leaps as the testing suggested. I asked them more about the test and found that they gave the exact same test both times, so the reading passages and words etc. she had seen at least once before (I did not ask them if they used the words and passages during tutoring as well, which would have altered the results even more). I think her results particularly in the area of comprehension were wrong. It would have been a better assessment if they used different reading passages and words the second time. That said, the claim of 20 weeks does seem unrealistic to me. The program my daughter is in now is designed to last four or five years. That seems more in line with what I would expect to really help alleviate some of my daughter's key issues. However, as I said, I don't know anything about this program, so maybe it would have some good benefits.

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Laura
Joined Nov 10, 2007
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Posted:Nov 10, 2007 3:10:38 PM

The test results from Learning Rx were highly exaggerated. My daughter is in fourth grade and consistently scores in the first or second grade reading level at school. In fact, I saw her reading score last week at school, and it was in the first grade level. Though, I do think she reads a little better than that, Learning Rx claims that her reading is now way above average for a fourth grader. They also claim she's now in 63rd percentile in vocabulary (CELF-4 test), whereas, on the IOWA she was in the bottom 5%. The test results from Learning Rx are not accurate, and I am sure that my daughter's teachers would agree.

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majaw
Joined Aug 21, 2003
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Posted:Nov 20, 2007 12:56:15 AM

We did PACE and Master The Code two years ago. My child was in 6th grade at the time. We did it 5 days a week for four months. Since PACE was different than school my child didn't complain about doing it. We were pretty faithful about doing it. I saw some benefit but not as much as they claimed there was.

We recently started going to a certified Dyslexia tutor and that has help more than Vision therapy or PACE. I've seen more improvement in reading and spelling in the past four months than during either of the other two programs. We did vision therapy for about two years and PACE and Master the Code for four months. Both were expensive and so is the tutoring but the tutoring has been worth every penny we've spent. I can't say that for the other things we've done.

The certified Dyslexia tutor teaches using the Barton method and adds other activities to meet her students needs. Two of my children are tutored in reading and spelling but my neighbor's child also tutored in math.

If you're interested in seeing some of the exercises they do, send me an email with your name and address and I'll copy some of the exercises and send them to you.

Maja

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teacher
Joined Jan 08, 2008
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Posted:Jan 08, 2008 11:00:30 AM

Hi,

I just sent an email to the one user who asked about Learning RX and if it helped or not.. perhaps that person can post my response here too. Anyway .. my understanding is the PACE program helps build additional synaptic pathways in the brain while strengthening all the necessary learning skills needed to learn. After the program your child is able/ready to learn academics including the basic skills. So teaching is still required after the program. This is my understanding and what I've heard from parents. They too say PACE was great .. didn't see any real improvement anywhere from a few weeks to months (some see immediate) ..the child during this time is "catching up" and internalizing what they previously were unable to learn. That is why some folks say Pace did little however the tutor or the program after pace was phenominal. Just my opinion .. Here are two books I've read on the subject of PACE and Master the Code ..
http://www.thebraintrainers.net/ (Florida Pace Provide's site) Unlocking the Einstein in your child and Why our children aren't reading and what we can do about it .. Amazon .. http://www.amazon.com/Children-Cant-Read-What-About/dp/0684853566/ref=ed_oe_p

So after PACE is completed your child will be able to learn and catch up quickly given the correct environment and resources. Instruction is required to get there. Perhaps the learning RX centers provide the instruction too? I only know of PACE at this point. PACE is a permanent solution to avoid compensating for weak learning skills.

The testing from PACE tests to show which cognitive skills are weak - then trains to strengthen - then post tests to show improvements for the learning skills. The Woodcock Johnson has been used and shown equal improvements of pre and post test for skill improvement levels. (learning skills . ability to learn successfully) Your child should now be ready to walk into a classroom, given proper instruction/resources, and learn. The testing shows you the increase in cognitive skills strength which is needed to learn.

Master the code .. the pre/post test .. the child finishes armed to read at their post test level .. now the child needs instruction (reading) to get there beyond the strategy of Master the code .. they need to implement their strategy in the classroom (integrate and generalize) .. that will vary like anything else you do at a learning center .. it requires working with the school teacher, in my opinion, to ensure the child is using the strategy and even parents providing the student with prompts or cheat sheets on how to use the strategies .. practice too. MtheCode provides a more accurate and easier approach to learning the english language code for reading and writing and spelling. It is not Phonics .. It is understanding that our language produces noises(sounds) and that letters and combinations of letters are used to represent those sounds. Not that our language is composed of 26 letters that have sounds associated with them because as you know our language is not 1:1 correspondence .. however a lot of our children learn this way and the other sounds are taught using digraphs, blends and word families. This makes it very difficult for children who are unable to "unglue" sounds to read successfully. master the code sets out to overcome this roadblock.

Hope this helps a bit? I'm still learning as I move along too .. I'm heading to colorado next week to get my provider license to help many children I work with in special education and my own family. Think of PACE as an investment for your child's future.

Colleen from NJ.

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teacher
Joined Jan 08, 2008
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Posted:Feb 12, 2008 3:10:49 PM

All, I finished my training for PACE and Master the Code and I'm now a licensed provider in the state of NJ working within Hillsborough and the surrounding areas. email me direct at colleenbain@patmedia.net I'm still working on my web site http://els4kids.com Enhanced Learning Skills for Kids. I started the PACE program with my two children and we are currently about 8-10 hours into the program. I am thrilled at the early results and the program boasts results will begin around 6 weeks (30 hours) into the program. I think the best AHA for my daughter, who has very weak visual processing skills, was enabling her to process one of those black and white pictures where if you focus on the black you see the image in the white and vice versa .. we started but she could not see anything in either the black or white and shortly there after it clicked .. she was thrilled!! PACE provides multiple ways to strengthen visual, auditory, integration processing and much more. Her Visual Processing and tracking is improving little by little ... she now plays video games with her brother .. before beginning PACE she would start and then jump up after a few minutes saying she couldn't take it any more. Now she is scoring high points and proving a challenge to my son. My son is doing well too. I've pulled him from his occupational therapy. I have too many good things to report for this forum .. keep checking our progress at our site.
Again to reply to statements above about PACE as the program relates to Learning disabilities I would say PACE doesn't claim to cure Autism or any other medical diagnosis. However, if the child has a learning disability as a comorbidity of a disorder the child should be screened to identify if weak cognitive skills are the cause for learning challenges. If they are then PACE and Master the Code will improve those skills enabling and empowering the child to walk into a classroom, understand, internalize, retain and learn content. Think of trying to go to work and being charged with creating a comprehensive Power Point Presentation for use with the Big Money Making Client. No problem right? What if your computer overall isn't working, your computer's processor is really slow, your PPT application isn't working or the latest version and the list goes on and on - without the tools to do the job (in this learn, research, present) you will most likely pull your hair out, hire someone else to do it for you or just give it what you can and be miserable. With students, they try their best to learn but after a while without the tools needed to be successful they sort of give up. The parents hire someone else to get the job done - the tutor - well that doesn't solve the underlying problem. Like in the example above, if you don't fix the computer and/or software you'll never be able to do the job yourself. Same with the tutor, eventually the child relies on the tutor to fix it just so for the child to understand the work. Anyway .. I typed way too much already ... I hope everyone will keep researching on PACE and Master the Code .. these tools will help empower your child to be successful in school with learning, socializing and even sports!

Thanks for reading .. Colleen
http://www.els4kids.com
Enhanced Learning Skills for Kids

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Laura
Joined Nov 10, 2007
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Posted:Feb 16, 2008 10:40:29 AM

How many months can it take with the PACE program before one sees improvement? It has been over 3 months since we finished the Learning Rx (Think Rx and Reading/Language Rx) program, and our daughter is still bringing home D's and F's. We are really concerned that we wasted nearly $7,000 on the Learning Rx program. We are also questioning their testing methods since their tests reflect that she's much further advanced than what we are seeing on the achievement tests at school.

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demarti
Joined Jun 15, 2005
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Posted:Feb 18, 2008 2:33:24 PM

Given your dd has Aspergers, I suspect she has language/sensory issues that are still causing learning roadblocks for her.

It may be that Learning RX did resolve some of her cognitive roadblocks, but if you have not resolved or been remediating the language issues or other sensory level issues, you probably won't see the results you would like.

It would appear to me that the Learning RX you went to, probably has little experience with Aspergers and severe language disorders.


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Laura
Joined Nov 10, 2007
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Posted:Feb 23, 2008 7:12:25 AM

The director of the center is a speech therapist who specialized in Aspergers. She sold me on the program by claiming that my child’s ability to process what she’s hearing would improve so much that she would spend less effort processing what people are saying to her and could focus more on her social interaction. She said that she had seen this improvement with many Aspergers children. However, when our daughter had problems keeping an exact beat with the metronome used in many of her exercises, I later figured out that her trainer did not have experience with such children and did not understand that children with Autistic spectrum disorders may have trouble with their motor skills or syncing to a beat. The sound of the metronome itself aggravated our daughter, and there were many times I picked her up from Learning Rx that she would be in tears because she had to practice the exercises over and over until she kept the beat. I had a talk to the director and she did inform the trainer that our daughter did not have to keep an exact beat after all. Later the trainer wouldn’t allow our daughter to pat her legs to keep the beat; she strictly had to keep the beat in her head as she gave out the answers. She certainly did not understand that our daughter needed the gross motor movement to aid her since keeping the beat required EXTREME concentration on her part. Unfortunately, I think our daughter placed more focus on keeping the beat than giving out the answers. Often it was not until after she memorized the answers that she could keep the beat with the activity. Towards the end of the program, I found out that our daughter was only the third child with Aspergers that came through that center. So you’re right, the center did NOT have experience with Aspergers. I was definitely misled, and I hope other parents with children like mine don’t have the same experiences at Learning Rx.

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teacher
Joined Jan 08, 2008
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Posted:Feb 23, 2008 11:54:49 AM

Laura,

I would be surprised then, given Asperger's, that the Learning RX even gave you a guarantee? I know with PACE I only guarantee based off of what the Research population was and Asperger's, I don't believe, was listed. Even with my daughter, brain injured, no guarantee, and she too is struggling with the metronome but I allowed modifications to meet the objectives to meet the goal of becoming on beat. She is now able to do every beat ... it took her about 12 hours into the program thus far .. I did not let the "beat" issue keep her from the exercises. I was able to keep her on beat through counting, tapping her shoulders, etc. I guess a big challenge you will have to consider - not sure if this was even an option - why didn't you sit in on the sessions yourself to see what was happening? Now, I would be a bit offended, myself, from that quesiton but be prepared .. in response simply state you anticipated the center knew what they were doing. Also, realize, the results will continue to surface for a while .. there are reports of kids who keep growing in areas - like motor - a year after their initial training. If you feel your child was not given the best chance given her special needs then I would go over the contract again and see if they can work with personal providers in your area to fill in any gaps where you think your daughter needs assistance. I know with the personal providers we train the parents/family on how to integrate the methods into daily life. This way the student and parents can work with the student ongoing after the program is completed. In other words, once you end with LearningRX your child should continue to take advantage of strategies integrating them daily and continually prospering from the benefits. If this is not happening and your child does not have any physiological issues above/beyond cognitive .. I would keep talking with the center. Again, with Asperger's, I don't know if a guarantee is given .. I don't give one but I usually don't need one either. I continually work with the family in areas of weaknesses until reach strengths. My daugther resembles autism in many ways and my son was tested for asperger's because he resembles very closely. Both of my children are doing fine and showing improvements on the program. Every child/situation is different. The point of the long post is your child still needs intervention and you need help determining the cause of the roadblock to learning.

Hope this helped a bit.

Colleen from NJ

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Laura
Joined Nov 10, 2007
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Posted:Feb 23, 2008 12:23:00 PM

Thank you, I will take a look at the contract. I did take some time off work to sit in on the sessions for the first few weeks, and I did express my concerns to the trainer about the metronome then. My mother-in-law, a retired elementary education teacher, sat in a few times well. It was our daughter's second trainer who replaced the first trainer that was so rigid and would not listen to me about the metronome among some other things (like doing the same column of math computation over and over until she memorized the order of the answers). When I complained, the director did intervene about the metronome, but for the most part, I was told to accept their methods since they were the experts. In order to meet my end of the contract, I did the activities as I was told.

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teacher
Joined Jan 08, 2008
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Posted:Feb 23, 2008 3:47:50 PM

Well, personally, I would have stopped the program if you felt uncomfortable with what you were witnessing. However, given the circumstances your other choice now is to look into a personal provider. Seriously, if you are interested in helping your daughter go further, you can find a provider to train you and you work one-0n-one with your child. First, look over your contract see what was and was not promised to you. If they only promise a gain seen in cognitive learning but you question the results of the screening tool then you should be able to request a woodcock johnson be administered to ensure your child aligned beyone the post screening tool. If your child shows a drastic difference then I would push for additional weeks of training for free. That is what I guarantee - if after as a personal provider program the student completes the 24 week program and doesn't show at least one 3 yr gain then I will continue to train for 3 weeks free .. do I want to do that, know .. do i anticipate this as a possibility, nope .. I work with the children 5 x a week myself without parental intervention. Costs more for the parents but I know I can help the student get more out of an hour with me than at home, etc. I truly want my students to progress and see proof of progress not only on my screening assessment but have the schools, teachers, the student and parents mention improvements to me. Than, I congratulate the student because as a trainer I do nothing more than guide the student to improve their learning skills .. in other words they do all of this themselves, become empowered and understand they have the skills to do this and progress in their learning and other areas of their lives.
Good Luck and keep in touch!
Colleen from NJ
colleen@els4kids.com

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Laura
Joined Nov 10, 2007
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Posted:Feb 23, 2008 10:35:03 PM

You're right; I should have quit the program. Actually, I tried to quit the program in September last year when it was obvious that my daughter had not made any improvement and was actually doing worse in school. The director had a meeting with me and urged me to continue the program and explained that many kids don't show improvement until the end of the program. I brought our daughter's schoolwork to the last meeting with Learning Rx in order to show the director how poorly our daughter was doing. The director was perplexed by her performance at school since it did not correlate with how well she tested on Learning Rx's exit exams. The director then told me that it could take a few months after finishing the program before our daughter shows any improvement at school. Right now, we are trying to put the Learning Rx experience behind us and don't want our daughter to have any more dealings with them. I hope that by sharing our experiences, parents will read about them and will make a wise choice on whether or not to use Learning Rx. I did open another forum a while back to encourage parents who benefitted from Learning Rx to share their experiences and to describe their children's learning disabilities because I do believe that it can help certain kids. It has too or it would not be in business! But I also hope that parents who have a child like mine will avoid it. I also hope that a Learning Rx provider reads what I have written and will choose to be honest with a parent about whether or not the program can REALLY help his or her child, and if the provider says that the program can help that child that the child is handled in sensitive, well-planned manner.

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teacher
Joined Jan 08, 2008
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Posted:Feb 24, 2008 12:26:53 PM

Laura,

All Learning RX's are not equal though .. as you state .. you really don't want to give them all a bad name if one is an issue ... it depends on the trainer you get. I have talked with a handful of folks who went the Learning RX route prior to becoming a trainer for PACE and they all had great experiences. That is why I still believe the personal provider via PACE is the route to go. The whole experience is much more personalized and the family is integrated into the experience. Everyone knows what is happening at all times. As a trainer, if you, the family and/or student do not want to continue because you do not see the benefit I would let you end .. I want your heart in the experience ... Where do you live ? If you want to talk offline via phone feel free to reach to me colleen@els4kids.com my email will just ask you to verify once to avoid spam. Thanks again for keeping the conversation going. Its important to understand your options, check out your trainers credentials, realize that no two learning RXs are alike other than the programs they put your children through. Just like school, the curriculum is the same but the teacher who delivers the content can make a world of difference. That is something to look into, Laura .. ask to speak with other parents at the learning RX who went through the training with your trainer to see what their experience was like .. you would need to know this anyway. if everyone is having issues than the trainer could be the issue ... if not than there is still something blocking your daughter's learning other than cognitive issues. That is the most important point to keep upfront. There may something else physiological getting in the way - not the asperger's but yet another comorbidity, perhaps, that may not be all cognitive based .. there may be optometry or motor needs above and beyond cognitive causes.

Thanks..

Colleen from NJ

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Laura
Joined Nov 10, 2007
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Posted:Feb 24, 2008 7:01:57 PM

Yes, I do blame part of the program's failure on our daughter's second trainer. Towards the end of the program, our daughter did have another trainer that was alot more positive. I personally think the director should have been working with our daughter since she was an experienced speech therapist that specialized in Asperger's. I really do think the director cared about our daughter. However, I think that the curriculum should have been adjusted given that our daughter has trouble transferring what she learns in one situation to another. For example, most of the visualization and comprehension exercises involved listening to descriptions and picking out a certain arrangement of shapes. She became quite good at that activity, but she was not able to transfer that skill by visualizing what the teacher was telling her or what she was reading about in science or social studies. The visualization and comprehension activities should have been a lot more varied in her case so that it would become applicable beyond shapes in her mind. I sent you an e-mail regarding my contact information. Thanks for your concern.

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teacher
Joined Jan 08, 2008
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Posted:Feb 24, 2008 7:31:55 PM

I agree with you because I work the student's current studies in school into the PACE program activities. So, for example, when teaching visualization and working the exercises we will use the student's testing / studies / notes and immediately transfer the learning skill and ability into the real world activity.

Colleen from NJ

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Laura
Joined Nov 10, 2007
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Posted:Feb 25, 2008 7:17:01 AM

Learning Rx should have done exactly that when the program was over and our daughter was still making poor grades. However, I believe that with the drastic improvement between her before and after test scores, the people at Learning Rx felt like they had accomplished plenty. I wish I had given more thought about the fact that the jumping of grade levels in test scores only applied to their tests before I chose to use the program.

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teacher
Joined Jan 08, 2008
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Posted:Feb 25, 2008 9:29:25 AM

Laura,

The jumping of scores applies also to woodcock johnson not just to the LearningRX test .. The test the center provides should align with other tests that measure "cognitive" skills .. achievement tests usually only show academic scores and not cognitive learning skills .. depends on what the school is testing for and most don't grab for the IQ at every test. However, the Woodcock Johnson should align to their Gibson Screening Tool. Is this the test your daughter took at school or the state standardized tests?

Colleen

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demarti
Joined Jun 15, 2005
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Posted:Feb 25, 2008 11:50:58 AM

If I were you, I would be raising holly stink with the center and ask for some of your money refunded (50%?). Is there a lawyer you could involve inexpensively?

$3500 can buy you some other very good 'sensory' level remediation. My dd with language processing issues was VERY successful with sound therapy. Many SLPs are now combining the sound therapy with 'movement' exercises that address vestibular function and left/right brain integration. The center we go to has been very successful in incorporating these two aspects in working with autistic spectrum kids. (cure - no, dramatic improvement in function - yes)

It would be very interesting to see if after sound therapy(or even movement therapy), your dd was able to tolerate the metronome? There's a timing/rhythm aspect to what these types of therapies address (we did several rounds of sound therapy and I took my dd to interactive metronome provider to be tested and she scored higher than any student he had ever tested! She was also very sound sensitive - couldn't even tolerate a flushing toilet - and this all went away after sound therapy. We didnt' need to do IM. )

Note: there's alot of different 'flavors' of sound therapy out there and alot of different types and philosophies on movement therapy. So you have to really have done your homework and balance with what is available to you in your area as well as with you can afford.

$7000 is on the very high end of remediation. The bottom line is that it's just dang expensive period no matter what you do. Decide what your total budget is? How much CAN you afford when it's all said and done over a several year time period?

I've probably spent over $15k(maybe even $20K) in the last 7 years on various therapies. Some better than others, but I felt that none were a total waste of money. If I learned something from them (and maybe it was just better knowing what works and doesn't work), then it was worth the money to me.

It has given my dd's life back to her and that was worth alot more than what I have spent.

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teacher
Joined Jan 08, 2008
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Posted:Feb 25, 2008 3:30:56 PM

demarti,

The PACE and Master the code programs are not really considered remediation .. they literally aim to correct the weak learning skill so remediation will be effective. I do not know what happened with Laura and the Learning RX but what a shame because I agree that Laura can make a case by requesting that the center help her by testing Woodcock Johnson for cognitive levels ... the achievements will test academics unless the school zeroes in on cognitive IQ. So Laura can keep pushing but it sounds like she wants to distance herself at the moment. If Laura contacts me offline I can get her in touch with Learning RX headquarters so she can question them directly .. not the learning center by her but the headquarters. Hope this helps.

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