Cogmed in Denver

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Additude article about Cogmed

Programmed for Success?

The training consists of eight simple, memory-tuning exercises. The software prompts you, for instance, to listen to a string of numbers and recite them backwards, or to watch sections of a grid light up in sequence, and then copy the pattern. It’s not exactly scintillating stuff, but over time, I found myself enjoying and getting better at the drills. I suspect my son shared this experience. The program provides graphs that chart your progress, and both of us watched our lines go steadily upward. Tuckman kept telling my son how much better he was doing than I was — another powerful motivator for him.

The obvious question for consumers is how this proficiency translates into real-world skills. Cogmed representatives say 80 percent of those who complete the training experience “significant change.” I looked for signs of improvement, both in Buzz and me, and didn’t see anything dramatic. At the start of Week 3, I forgot my purse when I went out to dinner. On the other hand, after only a couple of weeks, it seemed that my son was making more eye contact, and having fewer and less intense temper tantrums. Amid one of our most difficult summers ever, full of cabin fever and conflict, we had some unusually calm conversations. Furthermore, after Buzz hacked into my Facebook account, sending goofy messages to my friends — alas, not unusual behavior for him — he apologized, which wasn’t exactly on par with teaching himself Farsi, but, for him, was extraordinary.

Results Over Time

Tuckman tells me that the changes often take time to appear — sometimes several months after the training is completed — so I’m staying hopeful.

Meanwhile, I’m pondering two questions: 1) Might it be that anything else that was going on in our lives this summer — from family therapy to the fact that my son was out of school for a couple of months—helped improve his behavior? This is something only a controlled study could tell us, and I had only my anecdotal experience. 2) What role did our expectations play in the improvements we saw?

LA great deal of research has been done on the placebo effect, all of it suggesting that expectations matter mightily. It’s also a no-brainer that when a parent directs intense, positive attention toward a child — from closely monitoring his diet to schlepping her to violin lessons — it’s bound to have a positive effect.

Might it be that my son was being perceptibly nicer because I’d been sending him my own “You Rock!” signals every time he completed a day of Cogmed training? I’ll probably never know, but I am convinced it didn’t hurt.


This article appears in the Winter 2011 issue of ADDitude.
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The Best of Denver’s ADHD Specialists Offers Cogmed to his Clients

Lawrence S. Allen, Ed.D.

lawrenceallen

Dr. Lawrence Allen is a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of children, adolescents and adults with learning differences, attentional issues and emotional/behavioral difficulties. He has been in private practice for over twenty five years. Dr. Allen has been featured in professional journals, magazine articles, TV programs and has done research in the field of learning and memory. He has spoken to a variety of audiences including parents, schools and professionals.

Dr. Allen is currently on the medical staff of Children’s Hospital in Denver, Colorado. He was on the professional advisory board of the Learning Disabilities Association of Colorado, is a clinical supervisor at the University of Denver’s professional psychology program and serves as a consultant to several private schools in the Denver metropolitan area. In addition, Dr. Allen is a member of the APA, CPA and the Association for the Advancement of Psychology.

Pamela Allen, M.A. is a certified special education teacher whose focus has been evaluating and treating children with learning and language differences, attention deficits, and emotional/behavioral concerns. She served as an Educational Consultant in the public schools for over twenty years and in addition, has done private educational evaluations. Ms. Allen has currently trained as a Cogmed Coach and is a volunteer for the Mizel Museum in Denver, Colorado.

Dr. Allen and his wife, Pamela are the parents of two adult children.

Contact: Dr. Lawrence Allen, Pamela A. Allen

Address:
1777 S. Harrison Street, Suite 800
Denver, CO 80210

Phone: (303) 300-6564

Email: drlallen@gmail.com
Website: www.drlawrenceallen.com

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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