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ADHD Executive Function and School Success

ADHD, EXECUTIVE FUNCTION AND SCHOOL SUCCESS

      Chris A. Zeigler Dendy, M.S.

                                                                                                                                                                                                       (updated in 2011)

The primary source for this article was my new Teaching Teens with ADD, ADHD, & Executive Function Deficits, 2nd ed (2011)

A Personal Comment: Our youngest son, Alex, struggled terribly throughout his high school and college years with ADHD and executive function issues. We’re proud that he beat the odds and graduated from college. So if your child is struggling in school, don’t give up. My family offers living proof that there is hope and help for ADHD and coexisting conditions.

Please visit our website www.chrisdendy.com to learn more about my family and how we have coped with ADHD.  Several helpful articles are also available for you to download and share with friends. Best wishes for school success to you, your children and students with attention deficits!!

Five years ago, most parents and teachers of students with ADHD didn’t have a clue that a child’s academic success was contingent upon strong executive skills. However, today’s savvy parents and educators realize that deficits in critical cognitive skills known as executive functions  (EF) are slower to mature in many children with ADHD. In 2007, researchers made a startling discovery: the brains of students with ADHD mature three years more slowly than their peers. This helps explain why their executive skills are delayed. Two years later, scientists found that the part of the brain that enables students to work on “boring tasks” such as school work has a reduced number of dopamine receptors and transporters. More simply stated the reduced levels of brain chemistry in this key area explains why students can play video games for hours but struggle to complete their homework in a timely manner.

Read more…

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Cogmed and Aging

Cogmed training and coaching: Improving cognitive symptoms and quality of life in aging adults

Research institution: Mercer University

Researchers: Hyer, L., Atkinson, M.M., Dhabliwala, J., Scoggins, C., and Yeager, C.

Training program used in research: Cogmed QM

Status: Poster presented at 2009 meeting of National Academy of Neuropsychology (NAN). This study is still ongoing.

Overview
To date, cognitive rehabilitation (CR) has not been systematically assessed in various forms of cognitive impairment in older adults as a means of enhancing well being and functioning. While the bulk of studies have addressed normal aging, little effort has been given to age associated memory impairment (AAMI), mild cognitive impairment (MCI), or mild dementia. However, the researchers at Georgia Neurosurgical Institute and Mercer School of Medicine believe that the standard care of older adults with AAMI, MCI or dementia can be improved through CR and caregiver involvement (see Hyer, 2007). Positive changes in cognitive functioning are critical to having a beneficial impact on quality of life, functioning and neuropsychiatric symptoms (mood and anxiety symptoms). Thus, this team feels that it is vital to investigate whether combining a CR program with caregiver coaching will improve outcomes (quality of life, neuropsychiatric symptoms and patient and caregiver adjustment) in older adults with memory deficits.

In order to assess two aspects of patient care, cognition and psychosocial support, these researchers are assessing how Cogmed and its coaching model impact aging adults with AAMI, MCI and mild dementia. Patients train with either the adaptive version of Cogmed (treatment group) or the non-adaptive version of Cogmed (control group) for 25 sessions over two months. It is hypothesized that not only will patients who receive the adaptive training improve but also, that the coaching involved in the training program will strengthen caregiver-patient interactions and contribute to patient quality of life and symptom experience.

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