Attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a condition with patterns of inattention, impulsivity or hyperactivity. Some children suffer from all the components of ADHD, while others have one symptom.
In Singapore, community studies show that the prevalence of ADHD in children aged 14 years and below is estimated to be 5.29%. However, despite the low prevalence, ADHD is the fourth contributor to disease burden in Singapore. ADHD is also blamed for poor academic performance in 4.9% of children in primary school.
Cognitive training is recommended to help children with ADHD disorder. Enrolling these children in the cognitive development learning centre has helped reduce the symptoms and severity of ADHD.
Cognitive computer training programs
At the moment, most of the cognitive training programs are available online. Children with ADHD are introduced to various programs, such as Play Attention and Brain Train to help prolong attention and reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity.
The tasks available in these programs take into account the severity of ADHD. For example, highly impulsive children can be introduced to cognitive training programs to capture their attention for long periods. This allows the child to learn how to complete tasks with minimal distractions.
One on one sessions with trainers
Besides computer programs, some children with ADHD require additional support from trainers in a controlled environment. These sessions are as important as the computer programs. Most cognitive development learning centres recommended computer programs and professionals trained to provide additional support to children with ADHD.
During these sessions, clinicians introduce mental tasks and deliberate distractions that target multiple skills. These tasks test the child’s working memory, processing speed, long-term memory, visual processing, attention, auditory processing, logic and reasoning.
The cognitive training intervention for children with ADHD considers the need for the initial removal of distractions in their environment. However, trainers appreciate that these children are expected to live in a community where distractions are inevitable.
Instead of taking distractions away completely, the ultimate intention is to improve the child’s attention skills. Over time, the trainer may even opt to introduce distractions and environmental stimuli to test the child’s ability to maintain focus after intense cognitive training.
Introduction of coping mechanisms
Besides introducing activities to enhance brain development in a child with ADHD, cognitive training also introduces measures to help with stress triggers. Some symptoms of ADHD, such as impulsivity and hyperactivity, are severe when a child is stressed.
Professional trainers at the cognitive development learning centre appreciate that stress triggers can sometimes be unavoidable. However, the child can learn various ways to cope and even adjust his reactions to environmental stimuli.
There is no doubt that cognitive training helps to reduce impulsivity, hyperactivity and inattentiveness in children with ADHD. Trainers introduce brain training activities associated with focus.
The tasks given also vary, from simple to complex, to test the child’s cognitive progress. While cognitive training is periodical for most children, those with ADHD may need regular sessions to ensure they do not suffer setbacks.
Some children with ADHD require repetitive actions to develop habits, such as the completion of tasks. When enrolling your child at a cognitive development learning centre, it is important to consider the possibility that this is a long-term program.