Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, is a condition that can respond well to non-medication based options. There are several evidence-based options, including behavioral management, organizational techniques, and a newer yet powerful cognitive rehabilitation approach called Cogmed. Cogmed can be used with people as young as 5 and there is no upper age limit. There are three different games for three different age groups.
Over 30,000 people around the world in approximately 26 countries have used this “cognitive rehabilitation” approach involving a computer game designed by published neuroscientists. These neuroscientists, led by Dr. Torkel Klingberg, discovered that if you forced the brain to repeatedly practice focusing, than it could get much better when focusing tasks in daily life presented themselves.
Cogmed has been used successfully as a stand alone treatment for ADHD-like problems, as well as a technique that could be used in conjunction with medication. But Cogmed has no “side effects” like medication can, and teaches the people to become less frustrated by focusing tasks in their daily life. That is one reason it has so much appeal, it helps people learn to face focusing tasks with more confidence. Another fact: medication only works when you take it, whereas research results indicate Cogmed works even 3,6,9, and 12 months after one is done with it. Why? What we are learning is Cogmed can help the brain seemingly “rewire” itself such that those parts of the brain involved in focusing are strengthened. It is as if going throug the 5-week Cogmed workout is like taking your brain to the “brain gym” where it gets repeated “focusing workouts” using a fun computer game.
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While the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Pediatricians (AACAP) determined that cognitive rehabilitation techniques should be considered evidence based treatments, Cogmed stands out as uniquely well-researched. I am a scientist by training, and before I chose to selectively use Cogmed in my practice, I read over 20 research articles to determine if this was really a valid approach. I also interviewed several colleagues who have scientifically credible reputations who cannot be swayed by mareting campaigns. I found the Cogmed group was truly about remaining scientific.
Let me clarify that I do not consider Cogmed a cure for ADHD, but it has been very effective in helping people do the following:
-focus for longer periods of time
-be less distractible
-improve their retention of information
-be able to complete their homework quicker
I encourage you to www.cogmed.com to research this approach. There are more than 20 ongoing Cogmed research projects occurring currently and the list is growing. Most of the research findings reported have not been funded by Cogmed. You can read summaries, review all of Cogmed’s published research, and see the list of all ongoing projects at www.cogmed.com/research.
This data consistently shows subjects across various populations with poor working memory were able to improve their capacity translating to real life focusing benefits. The results have been published in credible peer reviewed journals such as Science, Nature Neuroscience, Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and Development Psychology. Studies have been executed at places including the University of York (UK), University of Notre Dame, Harvard University, and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.