4 Brain Training Therapies for ADHD Children and Adults

These alternative treatments -- electrotherapy stimulation, low-energy neurofeedback, working memory training, and interactive metronome -- can help attention deficit adults and children manage ADHD symptoms without medication.

Working Memory Training

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Working memory is the ability to hold onto information long enough to accomplish a specific goal; you keep a task in mind as you work to accomplish it. Several studies conducted by the Karolinksa Institute, a medical university based in Stockholm, showed that five weeks of working memory training reduced symptoms of inattention and hyperactivity in children.

How It Works When you improve working memory, you improve fluid IQ -- the ability to solve problems or adapt to situations as they occur. Most kids who complete memory training become more alert to their surroundings. They are also more alert to social cues. Parents often report that their kids become more “mature.” They take charge of their hygiene and do chores without being nagged. They remember to bring materials to and from school. Seventy-five to 80 percent of kids show improvement after memory training. At six-month and one-year follow-ups, about 80 percent of subjects maintained their working memory gains or improved on them.

How to Get Started Cogmed developed software that trains working memory on a home computer. Exercises are in a video game format, with colorful graphics and crisp sound. In one exercise, a child shoots down floating asteroids; in another, he recalls numbers in reverse order from which they are given. The training takes five weeks, five days a week, one hour a day. The cost ranges from $1,500 to $2,000, and it is not covered by most medical insurance plans. The Cogmed program does not claim to replace medication, but to manage symptoms that meds don’t.

Next: Interactive Metronome

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