What is Cogmed?
Cogmed is a therapeutic program that increases focus, attention to the task at hand, ability to carry out complex instructions or multi-step tasks, and improves organization and planning.
Who Can Benefit from the Cogmed Program?
Children or adults with diagnosed or suspected attention deficit disorder, people with brain injuries, like concussion or stroke, or anyone who has similar symptoms, such as trouble concentrating, difficulty following instructions, or feeling like they can’t think clearly, can all benefit from the Cogmed Program.
How Does Cogmed Work?
Humans have different types of memory. “Working memory” is short-term memory that takes us from one moment to the next. For example, you find yourself thirsty, so you get up to get yourself a glass of water. That takes several steps. You have to walk to the kitchen, open the correct cupboard and select a glass, go to the sink or refrigerator to put water in the glass, and then you probably want to go back to what you were doing before you felt thirsty. It’s our working memory reminds us that we are in the kitchen to get the water, and what we were doing before that..
At some point, we’ve all found ourselves stressed or overly tired, and we get to the kitchen and can’t remember what we’re doing there, or we get interrupted and can’t remember what we were doing previously. These types of working memory gaps can happen for a number of reasons.
Attention deficit disorder is associated with a lower-than-average working memory capacity. Increasing the capacity of working memory improves attention, concentration, following instructions, and all of the other “deficits” typical of the disorder.
Similarly, those who have similar deficits resulting from stroke, concussion, or traumatic brain injury, can also improve their working memory, which improves their ability to plan ahead, complex complex tasks, or perform at school or work.
Is Cogmed Something I Do On My Own?
You will go through the exercises on your own, but you’ll also have one of our occupational therapists as your coach. You and your coach will have a first meeting to talk about your goals and come up with a program plan.
You’ll work on the program using a computer or tablet, or even your smartphone for 20 to 50 minutes at a time. The session length, number of sessions per week, and number of weeks, will all be part of the plan you set.
Your coach will check in with you once a week to see how you’re doing and address any issues you’re having.
Do the Improvements Last?
They do! Quite a number of scientific studies have been done on the Cogmed program. These studies have confirmed that Cogmed can greatly improve the ability to focus attention for longer periods of time. Over the period of the program, the training exercises get more difficult. More of the brain is used and more neural pathways are created. These are permanent changes, and your coach will show you ways to use those improvements in your everyday life so the effects of Cogmed are long-lasting.
What Are the Training Exercises Like?
Have you ever played the card game concentration where you lay out all of the cards upside down and flip over two at a time trying to make a match? The exercises are a bit like that. They are games that, like any other, you get better at the more you play.
The exercises get more difficult as you progress, so it can be challenging! But stick with the plan and you will love the results!
Would you like to find out more about Cogmed? Please get in touch. We’d be happy to answer your questions.