What Is Cognitive Skills Training?
Cognitive skills training improves brain functions such as focus, concentration, problem-solving, working memory, and decision-making. It specifically covers the prefrontal cortex, posterior cortex, thalamus, and cerebellum. All of these brain regions are essential for governing attention and cognitive function. By performing regular, intensive training, your child can improve not only their neuropsychological skills but the resilience of their neurons and internal brain networks. For many children with ADHD, addressing these areas of the brain is critical for their development.
Benefits of Cognitive Training
Cognitive skills training leverages the power of neuroplasticity, or the brain’s ability to adapt. As core brain regions grow stronger, your child will see a number of benefits in their everyday life that change how they navigate their ADHD diagnosis.
Reduced ADHD Symptoms
Cognitive training programs target specific deficiencies in attention, working memory, and inhibitory control. By providing your child with targeted exercises that strengthen these areas, they will start to see improvements in the severity of their ADHD symptoms. With regular practice and dedication, cognitive training can help them focus and stay organized for longer periods of time. This can make it easier for them to complete tasks and better manage their emotions when faced with challenges.
The results of cognitive training can be seen in the classroom, too. Improved working memory, processing speed, and executive functioning skills help your child to understand and remember academic material better. Additionally, they can complete tasks more efficiently with improved time management, organization skills, and confidence.
Enhanced Social Skills
Cognitive skills training is also beneficial for developing social skills in children with ADHD. Targeting the specific brain regions associated with socialization enables your child to establish new friends, communicate clearly, and maintain long-lasting relationships. With improved executive functioning, attention control, and working memory, they can better understand and regulate their emotions when interacting with peers. Additionally, they may become better at remembering names, staying on-task during conversations, and following the rules of social etiquette.
By strengthening cognitive abilities and processing speed, your child can complete more tasks efficiently and accurately. This results in improved academic performance and greater success in their daily lives. By becoming more aware of their cognitive strengths and weaknesses, your child can set realistic, attainable goals for themselves. And as they grow and surpass them, they’ll become more confident, motivated, and ready to unleash their full potential.
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Developing a Transformative Cognitive Training Program
As mentioned above, cognitive skills training takes advantage of the brain’s plasticity to strengthen various functions. But where do you start?
Start With a Comprehensive Neuropsychological Assessment
Before you can begin to harness the power of neuroplasticity through a brain training program, you need to know where your child’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses lie. A thorough neuropsychological assessment allows you to do just that. By running a battery of tests and looking at your child’s developmental, academic, social, medical, and psychological histories, you gain a comprehensive understanding of their cognitive skills.
For example, it may show that your child excels in reading comprehension but struggles with social interactions. Knowing this information, you and a licensed neuropsychological professional can develop a cognitive training program that builds on their affinity for language and addresses their social shortcomings.
Challenge Your Child, but Don't Frustrate Them
Once you’ve established what cognitive areas need to be addressed, it’s time to get to work. Collaborate with your child’s neuropsychological professional to push them outside their comfort zone using evidence-backed brain training exercises like neurofeedback. Discomfort and challenge are typical catalysts for growth—they encourage your child to stretch their brain, establish grit, and adapt.
However, it’s important not to push your child too far outside their comfort zone. Give them the ability to build on the information they already know, but don’t push them into deep water without a life vest. Doing so can cause them to panic, shut down, or be afraid to try again.
Consistency is key to effectiveness. Each unique program is going to have different requirements for it to be successful. Some may require that your child engage in brain training 3 to 5 times a week, while others may recommend 2 to 3. In any case, brain programs become successful when they’re performed regularly throughout the week for an extended duration of time. A good benchmark to keep in mind is around eight weeks.
Start Your Child's Transformative Brain Journey With Abbey Neuropsychology Clinic
Overcoming the challenges of ADHD can put a lot of stress on a family, but it doesn’t have to. With a custom-designed transformative brain training program, your child can gain the tools to improve their cognitive functions, excel in school and social interactions, and succeed in their everyday life. Get in touch today to learn more!