What is ADD/ADHD?

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), is really a group of symptoms that involve developmentally inappropriate levels of inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity. Many people have trouble paying attention at times or can be impulsive, and many people have high energy levels. That doesn’t mean they have ADD/ADHD. The symptoms become a disorder when they are extreme for the age of the individual (developmentally inappropriate), and when they interfere with an individual’s ability to function in school, work and life.

There is no cure for ADD/ADHD, but there are a variety of treatments, from medication to behavioral therapy that can help children and adults with ADD/ADHD to function more effectively. Recent research in the field suggests that training cognitive skills, including working memory and other attention-related skills, may also be beneficial in helping individuals with attention issues, whether or not they rise to the level of an ADD/ADHD diagnosis, to focus and attend.

Assessing and Remediating Attention and Working Memory

The Mindprint Cognitive Assessment can be used to assess Attention and Working Memory skills.  It does not yield a diagnosis, but can by a professional as one of the inputs considered in arriving at a diagnosis.  It is often used to support the selection of strategies to support students with weaker attention and working memory skills, regardless of whether or not there is a specific diagnosis.

BrainWare SAFARI develops 43 cognitive skills in an intensive and integrated manner including 6 important attention skills:

Visual Sustained Attention

The ability to stay on task for a sustained period of time, dealing with visual information.

Auditory Sustained Attention

The ability to stay on task for a sustained period of time, dealing with auditory information.

Visual Selective Attention

The ability to attend to one input while not being distracted by other inputs, dealing with visual information.

Auditory Selective Attention

The ability to attend to one input while not being distracted by other inputs, dealing with auditory information.

Divided Attention

The ability to attend to two activities at the same time, such as taking notes while listening to the teacher.

Flexible Attention

The ability to shift focus from one task to another quickly and efficiently, when necessary.

Closely related to the ability to control the focus of our attention is the ability to hold multiple pieces of information in our minds while we manipulate them – a process called working memory. Working memory is often described as a temporary storage system or the worktable of our mind. Many individuals with ADD/ADHD and those who simply struggle with attention also have working memory deficits. BrainWare SAFARI also develops working memory.While there has not yet been a large study the impact of cognitive training with BrainWare for individuals with ADHD specifically, most of the studies that have been completed in schools did not exclude students with ADHD. In studies of students working in a resource environment in various schools, attention skills were often a concern. In these types of studies, attention skills have improved across the board. Also, anecdotally, some parents of children with ADHD and clinicians and teachers working with such individuals have noted improvements in attention and focus following use of BrainWare SAFARI.

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