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Core Connections Learning Lab

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Our Philosophy

Many learning difficulties can be attributed to one or more weak cognitive skills.  By targeting these weak skills through intense training, the brain can become more efficient.  A more efficient brain means a more successful learner.  This can be life changing for students, families, and adults.

A more efficient brain means a more successful learner.  This can be life changing!

About Me

My name is Tricia Mueller and I am the owner of Core Connections Learning Lab.

I am a Certified Processing and Cognitive Enhancement (PACE) and Master the Code (MTC) Trainer. She has a B.S. in English from Northern Illinois University and an M.S. in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois.

She has worked with special education students and as a certified teacher/librarian for over 15 years.

Tricia opened Core Connections after her nephews completed the PACE and Master the Code programs.  She was so impressed with their gains in self-confidence, reading ability, and over-all academic skills that she wanted to help people of all ages have that same kind of life-changing success at school and at home.

Tricia Mueller



Find Out More


PACE, Processing and Cognitive Enhancement, is an intensive, twelve-week brain training program that targets key cognitive skills that affect an individual’s ability to learn, focus, and remember information.

If you have a child or are an adult who has difficulty in one or more of the following areas:

  • Paying attention
  • Sounding out words
  • Spelling
  • Reading comprehension
  • Understanding/memorizing math facts and/or concepts
  • Remembering directions or lessons

Please call for a cognitive screening.   We can help.

These learning difficulties are many times the direct result of one or more weak cognitive skills.

These cognitive skills include:

  • Working memory – the ability to retain information and use it for specific task
  • Auditory processing – the ability to blend, take apart, and analyze sounds
  • Visual processing – the ability to see and create visual pictures
  • Logic and reasoning – the ability to solve problems
  • Processing speed – the ability to quickly process information and use it for a specific task.

Each skill is directly addressed by the PACE program.   PACE, unlike tutoring or instruction, is done one-on-one with a trainer.

This allows for:

  • Immediate feedback from a trainer
  • Increased concentration which leads to faster results
  • Stretching or constantly pushing students to a more demanding level
  • Loading or adding one skill on to another which improves mastery and leads to automation

The PACE program guarantees a three-year gain in at least one deficient skill area in twelve weeks.

For more detailed information on PACE visit the Processing Skills website.

or call Core Connections at 815-978-7186.

Master the Code

Master the Code (MTC) is a revolutionary sound-to-code based reading system that provides big results in a short period of time for children and adults who read below grade level.  According to the latest research, students who complete MTC average a four-year increase in reading skills over an eighteen week period.

MTC is used in combination with Processing and Cognitive Enhancement (PACE), which is a pre-requisite to the reading program.  Together, PACE and MTC can be completed in 24 weeks.

Along with PACE, MTC develops underlying cognitive skills in order for learners to successfully master the English language.

MTC focuses on the following cognitive skills:

  • Memory – remembering sound-symbol relationships
  • Segmenting – separating sounds
  • Blending – putting sounds together
  • Auditory Analysis – recognizing small changes in sounds
  • Processing Speed and Working Memory – retaining and using incoming information quickly
  • Attention – staying on task
  • Visualization – creating and using visual images

MTC is unique in its methodology.  The program turns letters and combinations of letters in the English language into sound codes. These sound codes become automatic to the learner through drill and practice.

MTC uses the following highly effective training techniques:

  • Immediate feedback from a one-on-one trainer
  • Concentration which means faster results
  • Sequencing of information and tasks from simple to complex
  • Stretching or constantly pushing tasks to more demanding levels
  • Loading or adding task upon task concurrently forcing automation and mastery

For more information on MTC visit

or call Core Connections Learning Lab at 815-978-7186

master the code

MTC develops underlying cognitive skills in order for learners to successfully master the English language.

Interactive Metronome
interactive metronome

Interactive Metronome

Interactive Metronome is a therapy to improve speech/communication, coordination, and learning, in adults and children suffering from a number of conditions including ADHD and Autism, as well as the physical effect of stroke and Parkinson’s.  Interactive Metronome (IM) is a computer-based technology that encourages users to match the computer’s rhythm, thereby improving their internal sense of timing.  An increasing amount of scientific evidence demonstrates that the brain’s internal clock is integral in the development and maintenance of many cognitive, behavioral, social and motor skills.

Unfortunately, when the brain’s timing malfunctions due to a medical condition- such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Autism- or is disrupted by a stroke, a traumatic brain injury, or even a degenerative disease like Parkinson’s, the associated physical, mental and emotional symptoms can be difficult to overcome.  Core Connections offers Interactive Metronome’s rhythmic and movement training exercises to improve functioning in children and adults.

Scientists have always known that timing in the brain affected a wide variety of conditions, but until Interactive Metronome there was not a therapy that could improve timing in both children and adults.  Patients at Core Connections find Interactive Metronome to be a challenging, yet fun therapy that keeps their attention and produces significant results.

Interactive Metronome involves the principles of the traditional musical metronome, combined with the precision of a personal computer to create engaging interactive training exercises.  The program uses headphones along with hand and foot sensors to coordinate movements to computer-generated musical beats.  Like training wheels on a bicycle, a patented auditory guidance system progressively challenges participants to improve their motor planning, sequencing, and rhythmic timing performance.

Interactive Metronome training is currently available in Bloomington at Core Connections, and through a growing network of innovative clinical therapists, child psychologists, and educational specialists throughout the United States.  The training can also be done in the comfort of your own home, with IM-Home.  For more information, visit or

or call Core Connections Learning Lab at 815-978-7186