FAQ on Cogmed
How is working memory related to attention deficits?
We use working memory everyday. It is the ability to keep information in your mind for a short time, focus on a task, and remember what to do next.
If you have working memory problems, it's hard to stay focused, plan next steps, remember instructions, start and finish activities. Deficits in working memory often lead to distractibility. And it may be difficult to remember what someone just said to you, or to take in and remember instructions.
We all use working memory in everyday tasks such as reading, doing math, and organizing. Research into academic performance shows that working memory deficits may lead to difficulties in reading comprehension and math.
What are signs of a working memory deficit?
- Concentration problems
- Daydreaming instead of listening at school or work
- Forgetting instructions
- Forgetting homework, books, gym clothes or instruments
- Problems starting activities and carrying them to completion
- Difficulties getting organized
- Difficulties with reading comprehension
How does the training work?
The Cogmed program involves software training and personal coaching. Here are the steps:
- Interview. Dr. Porterfield or one of his Cogmed-qualified coaches will interview you by phone or in our offices for about an hour to assess specific difficulties and determine whether the program can meet the participant's needs. Most people with attention deficits above the age of six years can benefit. The program also can help other people with working memory deficits who do not have ADHD.
- Startup session. Your coach works closely with the participant for about an hour to enhance motivation and get off to a good start. If the participant is a child, then the parent and/or school-based training aide will join in the startup session.
- Five-week training with coaching. Participants complete exercises using a software program called Cogmed RM (for children) or Cogmed QM (for adults). For about 30-45 minutes every weekday for five weeks, participants complete different cycling visuo-spatial and verbal working memory exercises, and receive encouraging feedback. As soon as the person improves, the software automatically increases in difficulty to push the person to the limits of his or her memory capacity.
- Dr. Porterfield or one of his Cogmed-qualified coaches follows training results over the Internet. Every week, your coach discusses results and developments with the participant (and the parent if the participant is a child) in a coaching session. The coach advises on progress, provides encouragement, and adjusts the training plan, if indicated.
- Wrap-up session. When the person completes the five-week training, the coach evaluates the program with the participant (and the parent if the participant is a child), and produces a training report.
- Follow up. Six months after training, your coach will again interview you by phone or in our Delaware offices to evaluate the participant's progress and determine the potential benefit of booster training.
How do I learn more?
If you think training might be right for you or your child, please contact us.
If you would like to see a demonstration of the software, click here.
On the Cogmed web site, there are 25 videos. If you'd like to peruse them, click here.
To determine whether your computer meets system requirements, click here.