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Archive for the tag “Research”

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…

Psychology Today Article: Working Memory Training as an Alternative to Medication for ADHD

Keep It in Mind

Understanding and improving your working memory.

ADHD and Medication: What’s New?

To medicate or not? Research in children with ADHD.

Cognitive ability may decrease at higher levels of ADHD medication. Is this another reason to consider working memory training as an alternative?

http://www.news.wisc.edu/

Study pinpoints effects of different doses of an ADHD drug; finds higher doses may harm learning

March 8, 2012

New research with monkeys sheds light on how the drug methylphenidate may affect learning and memory in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

The results parallel a 1977 finding that a low dose of the drug boosted cognitive performance of children with ADHD, but a higher dose that reduced their hyperactivity also impaired their performance on a memory test.

“Many people were intrigued by that result, but their attempts to repeat the study did not yield clear-cut results,” says Luis Populin, an associate professor of neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin-MadisonSchool of Medicine and Public Health.

Populin was senior author of the new study exploring the same topic, now available in the early access section of the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, published last week. In the study, three monkeys were taught to focus on a central dot on a screen, while a “target” dot flashed nearby. The monkeys were taught that they could earn a sip of water by waiting until the central dot switched off, and then looking at the location of the now-vanished target dot.

The system tests working (short-term) memory, impulsiveness and willingness to stick with the task, as the monkeys could quit “working” at any time, says Populin. The study used different doses of methylphenidate — the generic name for Ritalin — that were comparable to the range of clinical prescriptions for ADHD.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, almost 5 percent of American children are taking medications for ADHD.

Read more…

Cogmed: Some satisfied, and some unsatisfied users

http://www.greatschools.org/special-education/community/discussion.gs?content=53307

Complaints that Cogmed providers and coaches are not disclosing that they make a profit from recommending this treatment are relevant and important!  Hopefully, there are few professionals out there who would gouge their customers/patients or prey on them due to their troubles. Be a good consumer!!  Always shop around (whether it is for a new shirt, medical or psychological treatment, or a new pair of shoes) and remember that prices are not set in stone.  The providers are determining cost based on the market, and it never hurts to ask for a discount or reduced price.  The worst that can happen is that they’ll say “no.”

Used at Universities…

From the NC State website:

A. Cogmed Working Memory Training is a home-based program that helps children and adults with attention problems by training and increasing their working memory capacity, thus resulting in improved ability to follow directions, compete tasks, refrain from becoming distracted, and in general, function more independently. Clinically proven results demonstrate that after training, children improve their ability to concentrate, control impulsive behavior and better utilize complex reasoning skills. In the end, better academic performance can be achieved especially in math and reading.

It is a comprehensive, home-based program. Through active engaging exercises, children (and adults) train at home five days a week for five weeks. An office visit is not necessary. The software automatically increases in difficulty, improving attention abilities. Every participant has a personal coach who leads the training, analyzes results, and provide encouragement through weekly phone calls. Two versions are available, one for children and adolescents, and one for adults. A preschool version is also available.

Q. What is working memory?

A. Working memory is a function of the brain that helps to temporarily store and manage the information required to carry out complex competitive tasks such as learning, reasoning, and comprehension. Working memory keeps information in the mind for a short time, typically for a few seconds, in order to use that information for thinking. In daily life, we use working memory for a number of tasks such as remembering instructions, solving problems, controlling impulses, and focusing attention. These are the activities that typically plague individuals with attention deficits.

Q. What are the signs of weak working memory?

  • Problems focusing
  • Distractibility
  • Difficulties starting and finishing tasks
  • Forgetting instructions

Q. What are the benefits of training working memory?

  • Improved ability to sustain attention
  • Improves impulse control
  • Better complex reasoning skills
  • Better academic performance
  • Parents and teachers also report other benefits in daily life:
    • improved social skills
    • taking initiative
    • remembering things
    • completing tasks like homework assignments more independently
  • When asked one year after training to report on their experience, 79% of parents whose children had benefited from training reported effects had remained or increased.

Q. What does research show?

Research has established an important connection between working memory, attention, and school work. Most children with an attention problem also have working memory deficit. That means they don’t have the same working memory capacity as their peers. Increasing working memory capacity improves attention which helps improve academic performance.

Published, peer-reviewed, and controlled clinical studies have demonstrated that, upon completion of Cogmed Working Memory Training, 80% of participants have significantly improved their ability to concentrate and use complex reasoning skills over the long term. Cogmed Working Memory Training is scientifically validated by placebo-controlled clinical studies published in respected professional journals, and there is an on-going research at several leading U.S. universities. New research suggests positive results for normally-aging adults as well.

Q. How can I get more information?

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