A major shortcoming found in children living with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is working memory. Working memory allows us to hold onto information long enough to achieve a goal such as looking at a phone number and then dialing it. Those with ADHD or the inability to pay attention are lacking sufficient working memory. According to the Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, a new computer program can help relieve this symptom.
Cogmed, a Swedish company, and the Karolinska Institute developed the software, which was used in a US study by Steven Beck, Christine Hanson and Synthia Puffenberger at Ohio State. Fifty-two children, ages seven through seventeen, many who have ADHD, participated in the study over an intensive five weeks performing twenty-five 30-40 minute exercises. The program is built like a computer game, in which the children had to play memory games such as remembering the order of how numbers were said to them. As they improved their skills, the challenges were increased.
Researchers and parents observed the children during the exercises. Parents rated their children as having shown improvement in a variety of areas including attention, ADHD symptoms, working memory, planning, and organization, even four months after the study had ended. In addition, almost one third of the children showed clinical improvement.
The hope is that the program will work along with the child’s medication to alleviate symptoms of ADHD, with a focus on improving working memory. An improvement in working memory will allow children with ADHD to complete everyday tasks more efficiently and with less frustration. This will help them succeed both in and out of the school setting and help boost their confidence, which will last a lifetime.