I am pleased to offer Cogmed Working Memory Training for children, teens and adults who would like to improve their attention, complex problem-solving, reading retention, planning, and ability to follow instructions. Through intensive computer-based training at home, Cogmed has been found to improve participants’ ability to remember and mentally manipulate information. Cogmed has a strong research foundation showing that 80% of participants experience significant improvements.
I first became aware of Cogmed in 2006 when I saw a presentation at the national CHADD conference. I was intrigued by the research findings that were presented. Since then, I’ve kept an eye on Cogmed to be sure that there is really something to it. Four years later, I decided that the research makes a compelling case for Cogmed’s benefits and have added it to my practice. And the research keeps coming.
We Use Our Working Memories Constantly
We use our working memories to store and manipulate information and to hold thoughts on deck while paying attention to something else. It’s like the equivalent of RAM in a computer. The more mental RAM one has, the more complex tasks one can process. Students with weak working memories struggle with following the teacher’s lecture, filtering out distractions, organizing their writing, resisting the temptation to blurt out answers, etc. Adults with weak working memories struggle with remembering items on their to-do list, prioritizing, remembering what others have said, managing time, etc. People with ADHD often have weak working memories which can be strengthened with Cogmed, but most people who would like a stronger working memory can also benefit.
Research Shows that Cogmed is Helpful
I am very much a skeptic when it comes to alternative treatments or interventions because so few of them have any decent research backing up their claims of effectiveness. This is where Cogmed stands out from the crowd and why I have chosen to associate my name with it. Cogmed’s effectiveness has been supported in studies published in top notch journals, including by researchers with no affiliation to Cogmed. Cogmed has been found to be effective at four levels:
- Participants improved on neuropsychological tests of working memory and attention.
- Participants showed improvements in attention and impulse control on rating scales.
- Participants showed academic improvements.
- Participants showed changes in brain activity levels on PET and fMRI scans in the areas that are involved in working memory.
When you combine all these results, it really makes a compelling case that Cogmed is an effective intervention. I invite you to review the research yourself at www.cogmed.com/research and welcome your questions.
The Training Process
Cogmed Working Memory Training is performed on your home computer which makes it very convenient. As with most things in life, though, those who experience the greatest benefit are those who work the hardest at it. The logistics of the training work like this:
- Assessment We meet to discuss whether you or your family member is a good candidate for Cogmed Working Memory Training and what kinds of gains you can reasonably expect. We will also fill out some rating scales before beginning training, in order to measure gains after the training.
- Orientation We go through a demo of the exercises that you will be doing on your home computer and discuss how to set up the logistics of the training for maximum benefit.
- Active Training The training is done on your home computer five days a week for five weeks. We will do a brief weekly check-in (by phone or in person) to discuss how the training is going and how to maximize the training process. The Cogmed training web summarizes your performance so we can track progress and also address any concerns.
- Post-Training Assessment We meet one month after completing the training to fill out rating scales to identify your progress. There are also measures built into the training program that track progress over time. Research has found that people continue to show improvements even after the training is completed.
- Optional Extended Training If you would like, I will activate the extension training to provide 100 booster sessions over the next year. Many trainees find that they don’t need the extended training, but it is included as part of the overall package.
If you would like additional information about Cogmed Working Memory Training feel free to contact me or check out cogmed.com.