How Does Brain Training Work for Children Who Struggle With ADD and ADHD?
Children with ADD and ADHD diagnoses often have a difficult time learning and functioning inside and outside the classroom. Fortunately, brain training is an effective intervention that can help lessen symptoms for kids struggling with ADD and ADHD.
Understanding ADD and ADHD
There are three different diagnoses: hyperactive-impulsive ADHD, inattentive ADHD/ADD or combination inattentive-hyperactive ADHD. In order for a child to be diagnosed with any of these three disorders, they must:
- Exhibit symptoms before the age of 7
- Exhibit symptoms in more than one setting
- Struggle to function normally as a result of these symptoms
The most common form of ADD/ADHD is combination inattentive-hyperactive ADHD.
To understand how these challenges affect learning, it’s important to first understand common symptoms.
When a child is struggling with inattention…even small noises or movements around them can distract them from learning. They may have a difficult time staying on task in school or with homework. Their materials are often disorganized, making studying difficult and they may have a hard time remembering information for a test or directions they just heard and are expected to follow.
When a child is struggling with hyperactivity...they may squirm in their seat at school or get up and move around frequently. They may be pegged by their teacher as “too chatty in class” and can appear restless in social situations.
When a child is struggling with impulsivity...they may be prone to interrupting others or be impatient when waiting for people to complete thoughts or tasks. They may also be impatient with themselves in these same ways.
Learn what ADHD looks like in high school and college-age kids in one of our recent posts.
How brain training helps reduce symptoms of ADD and ADHD
While many parents whose kids are diagnosed with ADD/ADHD think only of medication such as Ritalin to help regulate these challenging symptoms, brain training is an excellent option that can actually permanently reduce symptoms. While children who take medication for their symptoms can certainly benefit from brain training, this cognitive therapy can also work independently of medication. Brain training changes the structure of the brain by aiding in the formation of new neural pathways that boost cognitive skills and make learning easier.
Brain training is based on the relatively new concept of neuroplasticity...that a healthy brain is malleable and can learn and grow at any age.
At LearningRx, we perform a thorough cognitive skills assessment for each one of our clients before and after their customized brain training therapy program.
Over the course of nine years, we had the privilege of working with 6,466 children and adults diagnosed with ADD or ADHD to help them create new neural pathways and boost their weak cognitive skills.
We discovered that, among these clients, the weakest cognitive skills were working/short-term memory, long-term memory and processing speed. Broad attention was also greatly impacted.
Knowing what we know about common symptoms of ADD/ADHD, this is not surprising.
- Weak short-term memory looks like inattention, forgetfulness or lack of focus.
- Weak long-term memory makes it difficult for kids to remember information they studied for a test or the names of their classmates or recall details from past events.
- Weak processing speed makes it difficult to complete tasks on time or accurately.
- Weak attention skills make it hard for kids to focus and pay attention and can result in displays of inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity.
Clearly, the primary symptoms of ADD/ADHD speak to underlying cognitive weaknesses.
However, through fun, engaging and challenging mental exercises performed repetitively over a 6-12 month period of time, our clients experienced a substantial boost in these cognitive skills.
Consequently, when cognitive skills get the boost they need, ADD/ADHD symptoms subside to varying degrees.
View the dramatic results of our study here!
Ultimately, brain training can be an effective option for children who struggle with ADD and ADHD. It helps facilitate classroom learning, helps them grow their communication skills and helps them live a more well-adjusted life.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help your child, take our free brain quiz. Then schedule a cognitive skills assessment by giving us a call at 540.579.0545!