The PACE Story
In 1985 an informal symposium was held in Appleton, Wisconsin
that changed the way we look at learning difficulties. Specialists
in special education, clinical and cognitive psychology, occupational
therapy, central auditory processing, visual processing, learning
disabilities, and memory research from a number of universities
and professional clinics met to ask and answer one question:
"How can we best help individuals experiencing
learning difficulties so that they can learn easier and faster?"
Led by Dr. Ken Gibson, a specialist in pediatric visual
processing, and his brother, Keith Gibson, Ph.D., a clinical
psychologist, the symposium reviewed the existing research
on brain and memory function, visual processing, and learning
For over 15 years, the two brothers had been gathering clinical
experience with both children and adults. They had observed
that some patients seemed to attend better and recall important
facts more easily when they were given short but intense periods
of training. They now asked the question, "what kind
of learning has the greatest impact in the shortest possible
The Gibson brothers developed a series of exercises that
rapidly improved concentration and recall abilities. Soon
they were ready for the first test.
It was important to thoroughly assess each student before
and after the training to see how effective the procedures
were. The initial results were outstanding. Not only did the
initial 35 cases register almost three years improvement in
about three months, but a year later, 98.7% of the test findings
were at or above the initial pre-program level.
As in learning to ride a bicycle or play the piano, the
ability had been strengthened and was an active part of their
mental tool kit. In addition, the grade scores of the children
confirmed that the training had translated into superior academic
Once the fundamental principles had been established, the
program underwent 10 years of review and experimentation.
Other educational, psychological and medical specialists were
brought in and modifications were made as new research became
available. It was soon discovered that students with attention
problems (ADD), dyslexia, memory deficits, and other learning
disabilities were benefiting.
Unlike other learning disability programs that focus on
behavior management or specific academic skills, PACE seemed
to improve the brain's processing ability. For the first time
in educational history, a complete program had been developed
that would do for mental abilities what exercise does for
By 1995, all the effective components were in place. The
program was dubbed PACE for Processing and Cognitive Enhancement.
It has rapidly become the leading cognitive training program
in the USA. Over 700 professionals in more than 350 schools,
clinics, hospitals, and training locations have participated
in the development, testing, and clinical use of the PACE
program to date. PACE continues to collect data from offices
across the country and critically reviews the results to maintain
The purpose of the intense PACE program is to produce significant
changes quickly so that the student sees the changes and stays
motivated to learn. The program is now distributed world-wide
by licensed therapists and educators and is available for
both adults and children.