What are Cognitive Skills?

Cognitive skills are not the same as the subjects taught in a classroom; those are academic skills, which consist of knowledge about different subjects. Cognitive skills are the mental capabilities you need to successfully learn academic subjects. Underlying cognitive skills must function well for you to efficiently and easily read, think, prioritise, understand, plan, remember, and solve problems.

Each of your cognitive skills plays an important part in processing new information. That means if even one of these skills is weak, no matter what kind of information is coming your way, grasping, retaining, or using that information is impacted. In fact, most learning struggles are caused by one or more weak cognitive skills.

Below is a brief description of each cognitive skill targeted by our training programs, as well as struggles you may be experiencing if that skill is weak:

Attention

Attention

Sustained

What it does: Enables you to stay focused and on task for a sustained period of time.

Common problems when this skill is weak: Lots of unfinished projects, jumping from task to task.

Selective

What it does: Enables you to stay focused and on a task despite distractions.

Common problems when this skill is weak: Easily distracted.

Divided

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.

Memory

Memory

Long-term

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.

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 and Reasoning

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 and comprehension, feeling stuck or overwhelmed.

Auditory Processing

Auditory Processing

What it does:
Enables you to analyze, blend, and segment sounds.

Common problems when this skill is weak:
Struggling with learning to read, reading fluency, or reading comprehension.

Visual Processing

Visual Processing

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.

Processing Speed

Processing Speed

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.