Scientifically Proven Strategies to Improve Working Memory of Children with ADHD

Based on the findings of one study, an intensive computerized training program can significantly improve the working memory of children with ADHD, especially the performance of non-trained nonverbal reasoning tasks. This improved performance of non-trained nonverbal memory includes visuo-spatial working memory tasks and Raven’s progressive metric. “A visuo-spatial WM task is a task where circles are presented one at a time in a four-by-four grid.” (p.3.). Raven’s progressive metric is a test for nonverbal mental ability. Examples can be seen at: The improved performance can be seen after 24 days of training (with 30 trails of training for about 25 minutes each day).

The details of training are below: 

How is the training conducted: “Four subtests were presented during each training session: (1) A visuo-spatial WM task where circles were presented one at a time in a four-by-four grid (same task as the one used for testing). (2) Backwards digit-span. A keyboard with numbers was shown and digits read aloud. The subject then marked the digits, but in the reverse order. (3) Letter-span task. Letters were read aloud one at a time. The subject had to remember the identity and order of the letters. A row of lamps was then visible and a flashing lamp cued the subject as to which letter should be reported back, for example, if lamp no. 3 was lit, the subject should report the third letter that they previously heard. (4) Choice reaction time task. This task was not a WM task but a mixture of a reaction-time task and a go/no-go task, and was included based on the evidence from our laboratory that children with ADHD are im- paired on similar tasks. Two grey circles were presented on the screen (horizontally oriented in the two-choice condition). Subjects were told to press a spatially congruent key when one of the circles became green, and to withhold responding when one of the circles became red.” (p. 3)

How long after the training can the improvement be seen: “Subjects completed 30 trials on each WM task every day, and the daily training time was approximately 25 min. Time between test and retest was 5±6 weeks during which the subjects trained 24.3 days on average.” (p.3.)

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Created on November 21 2015 at 08: 00 AM

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Details Scientific Answers


1: "Computerized training of working memory in children with ADHD-a randomized, controlled trial," Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 2005, by Klingberg, T., Fernell, E., Olesen, P. J., Johnson, M., Gustafsson, P., Dahlström, K., ... & Westerberg, H.. (Citations: 1162).

2: "Training of working memory in children with ADHD," Journal of clinical and experimental neuropsychology, 2002, by Klingberg, T., Forssberg, H., & Westerberg, H.. (Citations: 795).

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