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ADHD Learning Struggles Are Rooted in Weak Cognitive Skills

October is National ADHD Month

New Report Suggests ADHD Learning Struggles Are Rooted in

Clusters of Weak Cognitive Skills

A new report is sharing some interesting findings that may help those suffering from learning struggles. Specifically, that training one specific skill—such as attention—isn’t enough because ADHD learning struggles may be rooted in clusters of weak cognitive skills.

“About 30% of our clients were diagnosed with ADHD before coming to us,” says Tanya Mitchell, Vice President of Research & Development for LearningRx (, a one-on-one brain training franchise with 80 centers across the United States and locations in 40 countries. “We found that most of those students, in addition to weak broad attention skills, had weak long-term memory, processing speed and working memory.”

According to Mitchell, cognitive skills can be targeted with personal brain training, which incorporates immediate feedback, intensity and loading, among other features, to train those weak skills.

“Over a six-year period, we had 5,416 children and adults come to LearningRx with the diagnosis of ADHD,” she says. “We measured the cognitive performance of these clients before and after brain training, and the largest gains were seen in IQ, auditory processing, long-term memory and broad attention. After LearningRx brain training, IQ scores improved by an average of 15 standard points, and broad attention skills improved an average of 24 percentile points.”


As the chart above indicates, most of the clients who had been diagnosed with ADHD had very low pre-training processing speed (33rd percentile), long-term memory (34th percentile) and working memory (38th percentile). But after one-on-one brain training, all of these skills improved.

“Of course, every person is unique, so there’s no guarantee everyone will have these exact results,” says Mitchell. “But we’re not talking about a handful of people. These are the results of more than 5,400 clients, which provides some of the largest data ever on the impact of one-on-one brain training.”

The full results can be found on page 25 of LearningRx’s 48-page 2016 edition of “Client Outcomes and Research Results.”

“Weak cognitive skills are to blame for most learning struggles,” explains Mitchell. “But these brain skills can be trained to make learning easier and faster. These results provide significant insight into why one-on-one brain training works best on attention struggles when multiple cognitive skills are targeted. We’ve found similar results with other learning struggles among our 95,000 graduates. Although one weak cognitive skill in particular may be steering the direction of the learning struggle, other brain skills are usually weak. The good news is, once we identify which cognitive skills are weak, we can customize a program to train those skills.”

Because parents are often the first to notice when their child is struggling, it’s often helpful for them to know the warning signs of a cognitive skills weakness so they can recognize them and have their child’s brain skills assessed. To start, parents can take this free online survey.