Individual with ADHD can struggle with cognitive issues. So-called “brain training” games or apps have been offered up as one way for them to improve concentration, organization skills, and memory. There are many brain training apps available today – e.g., Luminosity, Elevate, Cognifit and others. Part of the key to success with these tools is knowing which ones work best for your situation, and how to use them to maximum advantage. Randy Kulman, PhD offers these tips for getting the most out of brain training apps:
Work on making a weakness into a strength – Select a brain training app that focuses on a specific weakness. Evaluate those areas where you need help and be sure that is what the brain training app works to improve. Research suggests that it is easier to improve a weaker cognitive skill than one that is already a strength.
Choose a training method that you enjoy – Brain training requires sustained attention and hard work. Look for brain training tools that are fun, offer variety, are easily accessed, and keep you excited.
Go beyond simple repetition – Select brain training that addresses related sub-skills, not just one repeated exercise. If you use a program that addresses executive functioning skills, select exercises that work on related skills, such as organization and planning, as these skills are often combined in daily activities.
Think about what you are doing – Brain training, in which all you do is practice screen-based exercises, is unlikely to help you in the real world. Reflect on how brain training can help you in daily routines. For example, in a work meeting or a lecture, consciously apply the focusing techniques used in brain training programs.
Expand on brain training – There are many tools and strategies that complement brain training to improve cognitive skills, such as chunking, connecting emotions, storytelling, and using visualization to improve working memory.
Make brain training relevant to your needs – Learn to identify real-world situations in which you need the trained skill, consider how it is helpful, and then apply the trained skill to new activities.
Whether as part of a treatment plan or just something you want to do on your own, brain training apps can improve cognitive capabilities and executive functioning skills when applied in a way that works for you and your situation.