ThinkPrint is framework for understanding how our brains work, and how each of our brains works a bit differently. It is based on five information-processing systems that enable us to experience and respond to the world around us. Understanding a bit about how these work can help us understand ourselves. Understanding a bit about how your (or your child’s) particular set of systems works is my job as a neuropsychologist.

To some extent, we are who we are when we’re born. We inherit a certain kind of intelligence and a certain kind of emotional makeup, or personality, from our parents. Our tendencies, sensitivities, and preferences, individual differences in how we think, learn, feel and behave, are apparent from very early on, and reflect the way our brains are wired.

ThinkPrint is a way of mapping out a person’s unique set of strengths, balances and vulnerabilities among the five systems: Sensory, Motor, Executive, Affective, and Cognitive. This is what makes us who we are. Like a fingerprint, no two are exactly the same. With a better understanding of your child’s ThinkPrint, you are better able to help them become the best version of themselves that they can be.

From the moment we are born, and as development unfolds, our experiences modify our genetic programming. We learn. And as we learn the neural circuits in our brains get wired up, and rewired, and change in the way we think and respond. Our positive experiences enhance our strengths, and our negative experiences can deepen our vulnerabilities.

As a neuropsychologist, I tend to think of people as information processors. This is not really as Mr. Spock as it sounds. When I meet people, or read about them, or watch them do what they do best (build rock walls,┬áplay the guitar, listen to and interpret the thumps and swooshes of my heart and lungs), I marvel at the way their neural circuitry directs their activity so effectively, doing things that I am not able do. (I do realize that this is not what most people are thinking, as they’re waiting for their mechanic to tell them why their car won’t start and how much it’s going to cost to fix it. I’m definitely a bit of a geek.)

We can think about a spectrum of emotionality – some of us naturally feel emotions very strongly, and others do not. We can think about a spectrum of sociability – some of us very much want to be connected to other people, others do not. We can think about a spectrum of novelty seeking – some of us seek things that are new or different, others like things that are familiar and don’t like surprises. These are all examples of differences in how our brains are wired from the start. Of course these tendencies can be modified by experience, but they are powerful elements of our ThinkPrint.