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Is ADHD Overdiagnosed? Results From a Recent Study

Although it is well established that many children with ADHD are never identified or treated, the extent to which children are incorrectly diagnosed with ADHD is not known. There are several reasons to be concerned about over or incorrect diagnosis. First, it can lead to children being inappropriately treated with stimulant medication when they do not need it. Second, it may contribute to children not receiving treatment that would better address another condition they actually have. Third, it could contribute to increased health care costs and health challenges later in life. The possibility of stigma is also an important factor to consider.

Clear diagnostic criteria for ADHD is set out in the DSM-IV-TR. In addition to a minimum number of inattentive and/or hyperactive-impulsive symptoms, children must show impairment from these symptoms in at least two settings, the symptoms must cause clinically significant impairment in social or academic functioning, they must have been associated with some impairment before age 7, and they must not be better explained by another mental disorder such as a mood or anxiety disorder.

Unfortunately, some clinicians who diagnose ADHD in children may not carefully follow the diagnostic guidelines. Instead, clinicians’ may focus on the presence of particular symptoms that they believe are central to the disorder and when these are present, fail to consider whether all the necessary additional criteria are met.

It is possible that this partially explains why many more boys are treated for ADHD than girls. Specifically, boys with ADHD are more likely than girls with ADHD to display disruptive behavior. If clinicians regard disruptive, impulsive, and hyperactive behavior as primary to the disorder it could contribute to boys being overdiagnosed and girls being underdiagnosed. That is because when such behavior is present, clinicians may be less attentive to necessary diagnostic criteria that are not met. And, when it is not evident, clinicians may disregard or at least underemphasize the presence of other ADHD symptoms when making their diagnostic decision.

A very interesting recent study in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology presents a very interesting look at this issue [Bruchmuller et. al., (2011). Is ADHD overdiagnosed in accord with diagnostic criteria? Overdiagnosis and influence of client gender on diagnosis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 80, 128-138. The study demonstrates that not all clinicians follow DSM-IV criteria “…requirements to base their diagnosis on a thorough evaluation of relevant diagnostic criteria.” Preliminary evidence suggests this may especially be true for male clinicians evaluating male children. Diagnosing children incorrectly can potentially lead to a number of adverse consequences and this research will hopefully contribute to raising awareness of this important issue. Click here to read the entire article.

Why I Recommend Cogmed Working Memory Training

Extensive research has clearly indicated that poor working memory is a significant contributor to learning difficulties for many children especially ADHD children and adults. Cogmed’s program is designed to train and improve working memory and has accumulated substantial research support, with more than a dozen studies published in leading scientific journals.  These include studies that have looked specifically at the impact of working memory training on student achievement and attention. Cogmed Working Memory Training has been widely used in Swedish schools for a number of years and is now being introduced to schools in the US and Canada.


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Strong New Support for Neurofeedback Treatment for ADHD

Strong New Support for Neurofeedback Treatment for ADHD **

Neurofeedback – also known as EEG Biofeedback – is an ADHD treatment in which individuals learn to alter their typical EEG pattern to one that is consistent with a focused, attentive state. This is accomplished by collecting EEG data from individuals as they focus on stimuli presented on a computer screen. Their ability to control the stimuli, for example, keeping the smile on a smiley face or keeping a video game playing, is contingent on maintaining an EEG state consistent with focused attention. Neurofeedback proponents argue that this ability generalizes to real world situations and results in better attention during academic and related tasks.

Although neurofeedback for ADHD has been controversial for many years, research support for this treatment is growing. In fact, in October, 2012 the American Academy of Pediatrics rated neurofeedback as a Level 1 “Best Support” Intervention for ADHD; this is the highest possible rating and at the same level as medication treatment combined with behavior therapy; you can find the ratings at I have long supported and written about Neurofeedback in both editions of my book, The Gift of ADD: Secrets for Transforming Liabilities Into Possibilities For Parents and Teachers” particularly since medication has never shifted educational gains, changed outcomes for, nor addressed ADD/ADHD students unique brain wave patterns or learning differences.

How do the benefits of neurofeedback for ADHD compare to those provided by stimulant medication? Medication remains the most widely used ADHD intervention and examining this question is thus important. A previous study comparing neurofeedback to medication treatment showed that both treatments yielded significant benefits and did not differ significantly from one another. However, an important limitation of this prior study was that children were not randomly assigned to medication or neurofeedback treatment; instead, parents selected the option they preferred for their child. This limits the conclusions that can be drawn in several important ways. First, without random assignment, preexisting differences between children whose parents preferred neurofeedback and those who preferred medication may have influenced the findings. Second, without random assignment one cannot determine whether neurofeedback is effective for children with ADHD overall, or only for those children whose parents select it.

New Research Comparing Medication to Neurofeedback

Two recently published studies addressed this limitation by randomly assigning children with ADHD to either medication or neurofeedback conditions.

Study 1 – The first study [Duric et al., (2012). Neurofeedback for the treatment of children and adolescents with ADHD: A randomized and controlled clinical trial using parental reports. BMC Psychiatry, 12, 107] was conducted with 91 6 to 18 year olds (mean age of 10.5) in Norway. Participants were randomly assigned to receive neurofeedback, stimulant medication, or both.

Neurofeedback treatment was conducted in 3 40 minute sessions per week over 10 weeks, i.e., 30 sessions total. The primary focus was to decrease theta activity and increasing beta activity. This is consistent with numerous findings that a high theta/beta ratio is a reliably found in individuals with ADHD.

Children in the medication group received treatment with methylphenidate, the generic form of Ritalin. Medication was provided 2X/day at a dose of 1 mg per kg.

Children in the combined group received both treatments.

Results – Parents completing ratings of core ADHD symptoms before treatment began and 1 week after neurofeedback had been completed. Children in all groups – neurofeedback, medication, and combined – were reported to show significant reductions in inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive symptoms. Although between group differences were not significant, the effect on inattentive symptoms appeared largest for the neuorfeedback only group. An unexpected finding was that for all groups, the impact on hyperactive-impulsive symptoms was consistently larger than for inattentive symptoms.

Study 2 – A second study published earlier this year [Meisel et al., (2014). Neurofeedback and standardized pharmacological intervention in ADHD: A randomized controlled trial with six-month follow up. Biological Psychology, 95, 116-125) extends this work by obtaining feedback from teachers in addition to parents – including assessments of educational performance – as well as 2- and 6-month follow up data.

Participants were 23 7-14 year-old children with ADHD – 11 boys and 12 girls; the study was conducted in Spain. Participants were randomly assigned to neurofeedback or medication therapy. Neurofeedback consisted of 40 sessions (approximately 30 minutes/session) provided over 20 weeks. As above, treatment focused on suppressing theta activity and enhancing beta activity.

Medication treatment was with methylphenidate at a dose of 1 mg per kg following Spanish national treatment guidelines for ADHD. Children receiving medication continued to receive it across the 6-month follow up period.

Data was obtained pre-treatment, immediately after neurofeedback ended, and again 2 and 6 months later. Mothers and fathers completed ratings of core ADHD symptoms, oppositional behavior, and functional impairment. Teachers also rated ADHD symptoms, oppositional behavior, and children’s performance in reading, writing, math, and oral expression.

Results – Immediately following neurofeedback treatment, maternal ratings for both groups indicated significant reductions in inattentive and hyperactive-impulsive symptoms; declines in attention difficulties were more pronounced and differences between groups were not significant. Significant reductions in oppositional behavior and reductions in overall functional impairment were also reported. These improvements were generally maintained at the 2- and 6-month follow up.

Reports from fathers were less consistently positive. For neurofeedback, ratings of inattentive symptoms showed significant reductions at each period but were of lesser magnitude than what mothers reported. Declines in hyperactive-impulsive symptoms and oppositional behavior were not significant. Results for the medication group were similar; the only difference was that fathers reported lower oppositional behavior at 6 months, a reduction that was not evident in the neurofeedback group.

Results from teachers were especially interesting. For the neurofeedback group, significant reductions in inattentive symptoms were only marginally significant at the immediate post-test, but were both significant and of large magnitude at the 2- and 6-month follow ups. The same was true for hyperactive-impulsive symptoms and oppositional behavior. At post-test, teachers also reported significant gains in all academic areas, except for math which was marginally significant. These gains generally persisted across the 6-month follow up.

For the medication group, significant reductions were also reported for core ADHD symptoms and oppositional behavior. The magnitude of these improvements tended to be larger than for the neurofeedback group, but not significantly so. However, no improvements were evident for any academic area at any time point.

Summary and Implications

Across both studies, neurofeedback and stimulant medication treatment yielded significant and generally consistent benefits for children with ADHD. In contrast to prior studies comparing neurofeedback and medication, both employed random assignment. The second study had several additional strengths including collecting data from multiple informants – including teachers – and following children up to 6 months after neurofeedback treatment ended. It is thus especially promising that benefits evident for neurofeedback when treatment first ended were generally retained over this period. Medication related gains also persisted, which is not surprising given that children continued on medication.

Both studies have limitations that need to be recognized. The sample sizes were small which makes finding significant differences between treatments more difficult. Neither study was conducted in the US and one must be cautious about assuming the findings would apply to US children. However, there is no reason I know of why a different pattern of findings would be expected here.

Obviously, parents were not blind to their child’s treatment; in the second study, there is no indication that teachers were kept ‘blind’. The inclusion of data from ‘blind’ observers and/or objective measures of attention that are less susceptible to expectancy effects would have made for a stronger study. Apparently, objective assessments were collected in study 2 and will be published separately; I will be eager to learn what was found.

No mention is made in either study as to whether children actually showed improvement in producing and maintaining the EEG states that were targeted in training. This, as well as the absence of a ‘sham’ feedback condition makes it impossible to conclude that it was feedback on EEG states, as opposed to non-specific factors linked to neurofeedback treatment (e.g., therapist attention) that are responsible for the gains.

I would also note that in both studies, children received a standard medication dose based on body weight rather than determining the optimal dose for each child via a titration trial. Standard dosing is not the best way to optimize medication benefits, and gains may have been greater if titration procedures were employed.

These limitations not withstanding, results from these studies suggest that the benefits of neurofeedback for ADHD may approximate those provided by stimulant medication. Study 2 also suggests that neurofeedback may produce academic gains that medication does not. Thus, while neither study is perfect (then again, no single study ever is) both point towards the value of neurofeedback treatment for many children with ADHD. There is also much clinical evidence for the support of neurofeedback.

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Parenting ADD/ADHD Children

Parenting is the most complex and difficult job we ever do as adults and few of us have any real training in what works and what doesn’t. Most of us rely on what our parents and significant adults taught us even though these strategies are scientifically proven to fail. Parenting is even more challenging when we have children who have more difficult temperaments or are impulsive. What we know from scientific studies is yelling and reasoning with your children is equally ineffective.

Sadly, many family therapists and parenting educators aren’t aware of the best research, either, which means that even when parents do seek professional help they often won’t get the advice that is most proven. In fact in a review led by Sheila Eyberg at the University of Florida and published in the January Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, only 16 programs designed to treat children with disruptive behavior have been shown to be “well established” in randomized clinical trials.

The Eight Biggest Mistakes Parents Make

  1. Parents Don’t Consistently and Powerfully Set Limits Not setting limits has been shown to create more rebellious and defiant children. This because they feel unsafe without limits and the push the envelope to get their parents to respond.
  2. Parents Nag, Lecture, Nag, Lecture, Then Yell Studies show that humans tune out when commands or requests are repeated. Nagging is actually a form of “negative reinforcement” and children often continue misbehaving to get parental attention. We tend to ignore good behavior and focus on the negative because it creates discomfort which we naturally try to avoid. Praise on the other hand is one of the most powerful tools we have to influence a child’s actions. Typically praise is used poorly by not being specific enough with our praise so that children understand what you want repeated. Using positive reinforcement—to praise your child immediately, specifically and enthusiastically works and creates a happy home. Encouragement is more powerful than praise because it leads to children to self validate rather than needing someone else to recognize their worth.
  3. Parents Overprotect it’s difficult to see your child struggle or experience disappointment. Parents often jump in too quickly which doesn’t allow the child to learn resiliency. We have to show kids we believe that they are capable and allow them to face the consequences of their behaviors as well.
  4. Parents Aren’t Specific with Their Praise and Praise Too Frequently Most praise children get from parents and teachers is far too generic (i.e. great job, You’re a good boy) and the praise is far less frequent than we think. In fact, children receive 45% more negative feedback in a day than positive. Praise that is non specific make children less motivated, less self-confident and they will have a harder time dealing with failure.
  5. Punishment is Too Severe 90% of parents believe spanking young children is acceptable. Discipline is about teaching; not punishment. The goal is to help the child to develop the inner voice of discernment and make choices based on that voice rather than the threat of punishment or the need to have adult supervision to make the correct choices. Harsh punishments (i.e.. grounding for a month or spanking) work only in the short term but teach children to be unfair or to use physical violence to solve problems. Discipline works best when it is immediate, fair, logical or natural (or set up in advance such as through an early warning to shift behavior). When discipline is too severe it breeds anger and resentment and a desire to get back at the parent. Punishment erodes the relationship with the parent.
  6. Place Attention On Changing Behaviors Rather Than Teaching Compassion Research shows that the most important quality to develop for success in managing relationships at work, in school or in our families is compassion. Children need to learn to be aware of how their actions and words will affect the feelings of others and themselves. We help children to learn empathy through being empathized with. Modeling this behavior for children and discussing feelings in different situations is critical to this development.
  7. Grades Take Precedence Over Creativity and Results Trumps Effort Too much emphasis is placed on learning facts and rules. Those who learn to read early and parrot back information while sitting quietly impress us more than those who are creative and learn and process differently. Yet creative thinkers are more likely to be resilient when the first idea doesn’t work. When we reward “getting the answers right and right away” children who struggle or take longer to learn something lose he will to keep trying. Effort is more important to success than knowing facts. Using open-ended questions or having children explore more than one way to solve problems helps them become independent thinkers and life-long learners.
  8. Parent’s Don’t Focus Enough on Fun Life is serious enough. Laughing and playing together are key to a healthy family and to raising emotionally healthy children. Planning regular outings and things like family game night strengthen your relationships and build trust and love.

The Gift of ADD – Transforming Liabilities into Possibilities

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The ADD Code – Why Outcomes Haven’t Changed and How They Can

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Working Memory Training

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Establishing your ADD Child’s Unique Dominance Profile

Did you know that ADD/ADHD persons have a very different learning profile which can make classroom learning more difficult? Did you know there is an easy way to determine what your learning profile is? In this video, highly acclaimed teacher & award winning author discusses these topics.

Uniqueness is not something highly treasured in schools because they are set up to teach in “one size fits all” ways perhaps thinking it is the easiest way to reach large numbers of children. Because of this, it is unfathomable how many people never reach greatness because their innate genius is never nurtured. Because of this, it is unfathomable how many people never reach greatness because their innate genius is never nurtured.

Neurological dominance and physical dominance are similar. Each of us has a preference for writing with one hand over the other. At the same time we also have preferences for how our brain processes information. Different parts of our brain uniquely process information. Therefore a person’s Neurological Dominance will strongly influence how they behave and interact in the world. No one way is better. They are merely different. Neurological Dominance shapes the basis of our personality.

Get your child’s unique dominance profile

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Natural ADD Treatments – Why Outcomes Haven’t Changed and How They Can

“After nearly 60 years of treating the symptoms of ADHD/ADD with drugs outcomes for children and adults with this difference have remained unchanged and unacceptable.

In other words we are no further ahead in improving success for these children despite the fact that these drugs have reduced some of the bothersome behaviors of ADD particularly in the classroom.

In this video, highly acclaimed teacher& award winning author MaryEllen Jirak explains Why ADD Outcomes Haven’t Changed, and How They Can.”

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Is there a correlation between ADD/ADHD and allergies?

 Yes, children diagnosed with ADD have a much higher incidence of allergies. Chemicals, flavors, natural salicylates and colorants used in foods are all responsible for causing allergies and hyperactivity. Studies are now showing that up to 5 out of 10 children could improve the symptoms of their their condition by omitting certain components from their diets. Doctors are now realizing that some salicylates found in food can cause allergies, such as asthma or eczema both of which are seen in large numbers of ADD/ADHD children. Eliminating offending foods, artificial additives, and salicylates from the child’s diet can improve health and eliminate many symptoms such as hyperactivity and irritability. 

Children who are allergic to salicylates usually are allergic to artificial colors and flavors too. Artificial colors and flavors are contained in almost all packaged/processed foods. It is important to read labels and buy as much natural and organic foods as possible. Often the allergies we see in these children are what are called accumulative allergies. This means that when large amounts of one offending allergen (food or environmental) or smaller amounts of several offending allergens are encountered their is a reaction. This reaction can be behavioral or physical. This is why many of the studies that have been done weren’t conclusive in their findings. There is however, no doubt that diet and the environment play a crucial role in ADD/ADHD symptoms. Allergic responses to food and other environmental substances should be ruled out before a final ADD/ADHD diagnosis is made since allergies often lead to an inaccurate diagnosis.

See my report on Why Dietary Intervention is necessary and Finding the Right ADD Diet along with my new book Cracking the ADD Code which discusses the many underlying causes of ADD. 

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Learn why ADD/ADHD is a GIFT and an ADVANTAGE


What if Award winning ADD/ADHD author MaryEllen Jirak could show you:

 How ADD/ADHD is a Gift that can be used to your child’s advantage
 Natural ways eliminate symptoms of ADD/ADHD
 How to unlock your child’s hidden talents 
 Help your child succeed in school and in personal relationships?

You’d want to know how it’s done, wouldn’t you?


“In a few short months your child can become more empowered in all areas of their life and more self accepting of their gifts in order to take challenges and turn them into assets…” 

Imagine for a moment that this highly acclaimed teacher and award winning author, educated in the science and psychology of human behavior, could walk into your home or child’s classroom and share with you  proven techniques you need to achieve amazing high-impact results in your child’s behavior, socialization skills, and school performance using the fewest steps in the shortest amount of time.

You’d want access to her strategies, wouldn’t you? 

MaryEllen Jirak is the fresh new face of ADD smart success today when it comes to relationship and school success and creating happy, productive students and conflict-free homes.

She cuts through the noise and limiting beliefs by helping children and parents easily discover, acknowledge and strengthen their own personal greatness. She re-empowers parents to work as a stronger team, building trusting relationships and heartfelt communication with each other and their children.

Imagine your children happy, cooperative, and fun and as successful students who are able to reach their potential. Conflict-free communication flows easily at home and your child has stellar behavior and joyful friendships at school.

You’d want to know how it’s done, wouldn’t you? MaryEllen Jirak knows, and she is accessible to show you, too.

Testimonial from the parent of an ADD child

 “Thank you for your great contribution to our family. You played a huge role in transforming our son’s life and helping our family. The result is a beautiful young man who is now consistently focusing on and using his best behavior regularly. He is cooperating with his entire class, politely asking if he can play and being patient when he can’t. The change is absolutely tremendous! THANK YOU!”

T. Cerceo (California)

 See Why MaryEllen affectionately refers to ADD persons as Creative Risk Takers, and how this is an advantage. 

  • 80% of all successful entrepreneurs have some form of ADD. These people include billionaire Richard Branson (of Virgin Records), JetBlue founder David Neeleman, Ben Cohen (of Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream), Stephanie Frank (author of Accidental Millionaire), Jay Abraham (the world’s most successful marketing consultant who charges $40,000/day) and many, many other successful men and women. Learn the exact strategies how these people used ADD to become super-successful.
  •  Many of the most brilliant and creative ‘movers and shakers’ of the previous and current century were ADD creatives: like Einstein, Edison, Thoreau, Beethoven, Alexander Graham Bell, Isaac Newton and hundreds more.
  • Did you know that ADD people have on average a 20% higher IQ than non-ADD people? Discover how to use your higher IQ to your advantage.
  • Discover how to determine your child’s learning profile and use it to their advantage in any learning environment.
  • Why ADD is actually a superior brain-type in many situations and how you can use it to achieve all your goals and desires.
  • Discover other little-known amazing qualities that only ADD people possess and how you can unleash these powers to get into healthy long-lasting relationships. (personal as well as business relationships)
  •  How to transform negative ADD traits into unstoppable success strategies.
  • How you can use a no-brainer method to get things done twice as fast as people without ADD.

 You’ll also learn strategies for:

  • How to help your child achieve each and every goal in their life by teaching focusing techniques.
  • How to get your child to complete tasks without conflicts.
  • How to create a false deadlines and “trick” your child’s mind into accomplishing tasks.
  •  How to stop your child from waiting till the last minute to get things done.
  • How to stop your child from getting bored and to do what they enjoy doing.
  • How to help your child release old limiting beliefs and instill empowering new ones.
  • How to use music to keep your child focused on things they need to get accomplished.
  • Why listening to music in another language helps you stay motivated into accomplishing a “boring” task.
  • How to avoid overwhelm so tasks get done.
  • How to use your child’s creativity and risk taking skills to crack the school success code so they don’t have to spend years trying to “figure” it out.)
  • ADD success techniques your doctor probably doesn’t know about (but would use himself if he did).
  • How your child’s brain is wired differently and how you can use it to their advantage.
  • Why it’s important to get advice from people who have lived the ADD experience. (Seeking advice from non-ADD people can be dangerous to your health and your confidence.)
  • The kind of people who you should take advice from if you have ADD and want to be successful in life.
  • The one incredible quality ADD people posses that allows them to overcome almost any roadblock life throws at them—and how to unlock this power hidden inside your child.
  • Finally, the answer to the biggest and most critical question almost all ADD people have but don’t know.


It’s more simple than you think! 

What People Are Saying:

“MaryEllen’s book is a definite encyclopedia of information on ADD/ADHD and many alternative to medication based treatments of this issue. MaryEllen, through her warm and caring style of writing, communicates a wealth of information to the struggling parents, seeking help for their child diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, helping them see the true gifts of their child’s abilities, not just their impairments. She suggests practical, easy to implement strategies for parents and teachers of ADD/ADHD children. A must read for everyone involved with an ADD/ADHD child, even if you are an M.D. writing prescription for ADD/ADHD patients and don’t agree with all of her suggestions, you should know about them. In our clinic specializing in non-medication based treatment of ADD/ADHD and Learning Disorders this is one must read text book for every parent, we even use it in our parent training classes.”

Ali Hashemian, Ph.D. (Walnut Creek, CA)

“I am the mother of an 10 year old girl with ADHD, OCD and Sensory Integration Disorder. I was inspired by the title of MaryEllen’s book The Gift of ADD enough to purchase it. I just finished reading it, and I have to say, “THANK YOU!” My daughter is the first girl I have ever known with ADHD. Because of this I have felt very lonely and isolated, as if I were the only one to see the wonder and beauty that is underneath the appearances of ADD. I also purchased the parent class and workbook which have been extremely helpful. I think we need to celebrate these delightful kids!”

 Pam (Seattle, WA)

 “I think any parent would benefit from reading this book. The Gift of ADD ” It is an incredible resource that I am recommending to all of the parents in my group. My child has ADHD, but in reading this book, it really could be renamed “Coaching Children To See Their Strengths.” In other words, I think any parent would benefit from reading this book.”

 R.V. (North Carolina)

The Authors Story

As is the case with most women Creative Risk Takers (CRT—ADD) I was not diagnosed until adulthood. It wasn’t until I began reading and researching everything I could find to help my son and students that I began to realize what my own endless energy, need for experience to learn, intuitive sensibility (the— “I just know”, that we all have), physically/emotionally feeling and experiencing the emotions of others, multi-focus, and scattered, anxious, compulsions, and overwhelmed sensations were about my neurological and biological makeup.

My ability to think on my feet and “feel” when a lesson needed to go in another direction for better clarity and “just knowing” what to say was producing students with results that went beyond what was reasonable to expect with standard teaching. Children who were told they would never read moved from first grade reading at a fourth grade level. Even though no emphasis was placed on test scores (because I believe they tell us so little about a child’s true potential and intelligence) my students test scores consistently were 20% higher than the rest of the district.

Through focusing on their gifts, I saw students appear dramatically less hyperactive, increase their ability to focus, regain hope and motivation and start improving in behavior and school work. My own son has come to know his value and inherent goodness and all who know him feel blessed and loved.

As time passed and my son completed high school I knew that I needed to impact greater numbers of people to see themselves as the gifts that they are. My vision is to shift education’s and our society’s focus on problems to solutions. To help people to begin to look at what is positive and a strength in each of us, how important each person’s contribution is to the success of the whole, and how much richer the world is when each person reaches their highest good is now an even deeper passion for me.

My life even when very young has always been about creating and maintaining harmonious relationships and being of service to others. Having personally experienced the negative symptoms of ADD I know all too well the potential downsides that constantly make the news headlines. I am particularly aware of the pain women who most often go undiagnosed in childhood experience as they reach midlife. In fact, there are as many or more girls and women Creative Risk takers as males.

It has taken me many years to perfect a system… that has helped parents and children improve their lives, behavior, school performance and be happier…This process is extremely easy to learn and is individually tailored for each person.

Sadly, 95% of people with ADD/ADHD do not have access to this information and thus don’t share their unique gifts. They simply don’t know the correct strategies that would make their lives amazingly successful and fulfilling.

Additionally, many parents of ADD/ADHD children have no idea how to advocate for nor help their amazingly gifted children and have to resort to medicating them. Most parents are convinced medication is the only solution.

“The difference this book and website have made in the short two or three months is astonishing…”

“MaryEllen’s book and advice has helped me in more was than I have time to mention. I absolutely love her positive outlook and insights. Never before have I heard anyone say let a person with ADD engage all of their senses and work first from their strengths in order to focus, and my degree is in early childhood education! As a single parent with ADD raising a child with ADD, structure was a real struggle for us. MaryEllen’s book and website have given me SO many tips and strategies not only to help myself, but to help me help my son. The difference this book and website have made in the short two or three months is astonishing. Thank you MaryEllen. We are both works in progress, but thanks to you I have hands on strategies that work!! Keep up the great work!”

M. Taylor (CA)

What Are ADD Experts Saying:

 From the expert who wrote the book foreword:

“A wonderfully imaginative, hopeful, helpful, and wise voyage through the world, not only of ADD, but of human nature itself. I highly recommend this delightful, intelligent book.”

Edward Hallowell, M.D., – Author of Driven to Distraction and Answers to Distraction

“A masterful synthesis of the current research as well as new ideas with thoughtful recommendations to help ADD children overcome the challenges of their differences. This balanced approach assures everyone that they will not only survive but also thrive from the ADD experience.”

Thom Hartmann – Author of, ADD Success Stories- A Guide To Fulfillment For Families With Attention Deficit Disorder, Healing ADD, and The Edison Gene


“The Gift of ADD is a treasure chest of strategies, tips, and resources that will bless the house of any parent who has a child that has been, is now, or might be in the future diagnosed ADD or ADHD. MaryEllen Jirak combines just the right balance of research, inspiration, and practical knowledge to help parents awaken the genius of high-energy kids. I am so happy to see (finally!) a book for parents that focuses as much on the gifts, talents, and abilities of kids labeled ADD/ADHD, as on their challenges. I hope that this book sells hyper-actively!”

Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D.,  – Author of, The Myth of the ADD Child, and Awakening Your Child’s Natural Genius


“The Gift of ADD helps to put a new and very positive face to the ADD picture. This informative book provides extraordinary insights and wisdom that will open you to a new experience of your ADD child.”

Sandra Rief, – Author of How to Reach and Teach ADD / ADHD Children


“The Gift of ADD creates a balanced approach to the ADD dilemma and offers practical ideas for creating more love and less fear, more joy and less pain, and more achievement and less failure in creative people of all ages. Every page of this remarkable resource is filled with a love of children, a passion for life, and a deep wisdom gained from many years of conscious parenting, teaching, and relating.”

Carla Hannaford, Ph.D.,  – Author of: Smart Moves: Why Learning Is Not All In Your Head


“A wealth of practical and solidly researched information for parents and professionals of all levels of experience. The casual, personalized writing style engages the reader and transforms potentially confusing and technical data into understandable and applicable guidelines. It is a relief to read such a rational, healthy approach to rearing and teaching inconvenient children.”

John Ratey, Ph.D., Co – Author of Driven to Distraction and Answers to Distraction, Author of User’s Guide to the Brain: Perception, Attention, and the Four Theaters of the Brain


“The Gift of ADD puts ADD in proper perspective and invites us to honor our strengths and return to our inner source of serenity and wisdom. It helps our capacity to more consciously parent, teach, and live.”

Cherie Carter-Scott, Ph.D. – Author of, If Life is a Game. These are the Rules: Ten Rules for Being Human


“This book is both inspiring and practical. The author has done our homework for us, compiling a vast amount of research in a multitude of areas and presenting it to us in a readable format. This book is a wonderful blessing to parents and teachers who deal each day with children who need love, honoring, and understanding. As a parent and professional, I highly recommend this book.”

Paul Dennison, Ph.D.  – Educational Kinesiology Foundation; Developer of Brain Gym


“The Gift of ADD is an invaluable guide to any parent or teacher living with the up-and-down disposition of an ADD child. This book offers excellent new insights into the A.DD personality and shows how to address more than just symptoms.”

Siegfried Othmer, Ph.D. – Founder and Chief Scientist, EEG Spectrum International


“The Gift of ADD offers no gimmicks or pat solutions; it does give the reader a thought provoking and well-informed approach to raising and teaching the ADD child. This is the most practical approach to helping children-as well as yourself-cope, survive, and thrive in life.”

Valorie Wells, Ph.D., – Hypnotherapist/Trainer


But now there is hope!

My step by step process, will show you exactly what to do in a sequential and logical fashion how to discover and nurture your child’s precious ADD/ADHD gifts. You will also learn how to be an unbelievable advocate so your child will receive the appropriate assistance for the greatest academic success. My hope is that through my experience and years of trials your child’s and your life can become all you dream it to be more quickly.

It’s more simple than you think!

Have You Tried Every Treatment Plan, Tried Endless Medications, Taken Every Alternative Pill and Potion And Are Still Battling Annoying ADD/ADHD Symptoms, Then Read On To Discover A New Way…

  • Now you don’t have to spend hours researching and reading journal articles. In fact, you don’t have to know anything about treatments. I have done the homework for you.
  • You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars each month on medications that only treat symptoms while at the same time diminishing your creativity.
  •  Experience a new lease on life by learning techniques on how to laser focus.
  • Unlock your child’s (and your own) inner genius. You have an immense potential within you, even if most people don’t believe in you. The key is becoming independent of the “good opinion” of others and helping your child to become as well.
  •  How to use movement to increase focus.
  • Why the idea of “less distractions” improving focus for ADD persons is a myth!
  • Improving your focus as a parent can help your child focus better.
  •  Hyperactivity and ADD: While many Creative Risk Takers experience hyperactivity it is not an inherent trait of ADD. Girls and women are less likely to experience the hyperactive piece and are often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.

By Making A Few Small Changes In The Way You Do Things You’ll Achieve Dramatic Results

Some of the changes will start right away and others will gain momentum over the weeks and months ahead. Being clinically diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, doesn’t mean your child can’t succeed. They can. Just as the many greats before them have, their Gifts can propel their life to levels that you never imagined possible. It begins with believing something positive about your child and teaching them to do so as well and then taking positive purposeful action.

You’ll learn everything you need to know about using ADD to your child’s advantage when you read the book and access the website and incorporate the products and interventions that best fit their profile. These techniques and interventions are truly the most-effective methods ever developed for people with ADD who want to achieve super-success in life. They are based on years of research and trials. There are no drugs involved. And there are no gimmicks. It is a process built on Psychoneuroimmunology or mind-body technology and a multi-modal approach that I developed and use myself. Since there is no one cause and because each person is an individual certain interventions will be unique to your profile.

 “It’s Simple To Get Started On The Path To Success Today”

All you need to do is sign up below, and you will receive:

  • Disciplining From the Heart article
  • 5 Step Report
  • A 30 minute phone consultation with MaryEllen

The entire process is extremely straight forward and takes no longer than 1 minute.

Yes, send me the full package now!

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Working Memory Problems Associated with Attention Deficit Disorder

In this article we will explore some of the recent relevant research in the areas of working memory, learning disabilities and ADHD. These studies point out the importance of discovering any comorbid conditions that may exist with ADHD to adequately choose the most advantageous instructional strategies that will most benefit each child.

ADHD children are frequently diagnosed with language impairments (LI). Both of these conditions are identified with poor academic achievement and ineffective comprehension. Children with LI have difficulties with structural language, logic, and narrative dialogue (Cohen & Vallance 2000). Deficits in expressive language ability and auditory verbal memory lend to reduced practical competence among children with LI because response time, lexical selection, cohesion, and topic maintenance are all negatively impacted (Cohen & Vallance 2000).

Reading disabilities (RD) frequently exist in children with ADHD. RD begins with difficulties decoding words. This affects the child’s reading comprehension and fluency. Decoding skills are connected to phonological processing (the ability to understand and recall the use of sounds) (Kuder, 2008). These poor phonological skills create difficulty identifying sounds within words and the words themselves (Kuder, 2008). Studies show that reading comprehension relies heavily on working memory (Swanson & O’Connor, 2009; Martinussen & Tannock, 2006).  Working memory is responsible for holding recently perceived information and making connections with previous knowledge allowing for understanding of what has been read.

Learning and language acquisition both rely on the importance of attention, short-term, and working memory (Kuder, 2008; Lerner & Kline, 2006).  Attention allows the child to discriminate information in short-term memory and to exchange with and retrieve information from long-term memory (Kuder, 2008). Through this process, new information can be connected to previously stored knowledge. Working memory receives information from the senses, processes the information, and sends it to short-term memory. Working memory has been the focus of recent research on children with reading disabilities (RD), language impairments (LI) and ADHD (Martinussen & Tannock, 2006;  Swanson, Kehler, & Jerman, 2010).

In attention deficits there is an impaired ability to screen out unnecessary information and attend to what is most important at a certain time. A child with attention deficits, perceives many sensory stimuli competing for their attention and is unable to easily focus adequately on the primary learning task. Research shows that this deficit is in selective attention, much more than in sustained attention (Weiler, Bernstein, Bellinger, & Waber, 2002). Most of the research has centered on children with clinical levels of inattention, but without clinical levels of hyperactivity/impulsivity (ADHD-predominantly inattentive type (ADHD-IA). Selective attention relates to the ability to perform a task while experiencing competing non-relevant stimuli (Weiler, et al., 2002). Children with selective attention difficulties processed information more slowly than the control group particularly when there was increased cognitive pressure and several component operations. Interestingly however, the same children did not experience comprehensive information processing deficits, nor did they experience problems with attention on tasks that demanded sustained attention (Weiler, et al., 2002).  They showed no delay in performing tasks of motor response and basic decision making either (Weiler, et al., 2002). This research suggests that ADHD-IA children are able to allocate information to working memory in the presence of fewer distractions and or an elevated level of motivational interest. Parents and teachers observe this when these children are engaged in tasks which hold sustained interest.

ADHD children with comorbid LI have greater difficulty with working memory measures that those without LI in both verbal and nonverbal working memory (Cohen et al., 2000). One study found that even when nonverbal data is involved working memory is language based (Cohen et al., 2000). Difficulties processing phonological information in working memory, pragmatics, and narrative discourse skills are all related to LI. The weakest pragmatic skills are connected with having three comorbid conditions: ADHD, LI and RD. LI is associated with narrative discourse even if no RD is present. Further, impairments in auditory and verbal memory are predictors of poor pragmatic competence (Gomez & Condon, 1999).

Children with ADHD have moderate working memory deficits when compared to control populations; however, these deficits are more highly connected with comorbid disabilities, rather than the ADHD per se (Martinussen & Tannock, 2006). Studies also show that central auditory processing deficits are more likely to be associated with learning disabilities than ADHD (Gomex & Condon, 1999; Kataria, Hall, Wong, Keys, 1992). However since more than fifty percent of ADHD children have comorbid learning disabilities and LI these studies explain some of the reasons outcomes have remained less than optimal for these typically bright children.

MaryEllen Jirak MS. Ed is a long time educator with a master degree in Special Education. She is also the author of The Gift of ADD Secrets For Transforming Liabilities Into Possibilities and a new book called Cracking The ADD Code: Why Outcomes Haven’t changed and How They Can , plus a number of other eBooks on Attention Deficit Disorder.

Get more natural treatments for attention deficit disorder

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What are Dominance Profiles and Why Are They Important

What Are Dominance Profiles?

In this newsletter we will discuss what Dominance profiles are and look at the importance of knowing your child’s profile to increase their chances of success in school.

I’d like to begin with a Paul MacLean quote from his book, The Triune Brain In Evolution: “If uniqueness were an indispensable requirement for an evolving society, every person would be indispensable.” Unfortunately uniqueness is not something that we highly treasure in school yet it is what we most admire in our greats in all walks of life.

Lateral dominance is our natural and innate way of learning from and processing information. Dominance Profiling is a technique for assessing a person’s learning style. Each of us has a preferred way of taking in and learning from the world. Understanding your child’s (or your own), learning characteristics can assist you to see why we each act and learn in certain ways especially when under stress. From this knowledge, strategies can be developed to ensure your child will learn more effectively. 

Our dominant, innate, basal patterns are especially valuable for understanding children in school. Yet they are also helpful to understand the behavior of adults when they are under stress. Knowing about and developing new strategies for learning enables a person to broaden and break free of the restrictions of their innate profile. Our dominance profile is based on our dominant brain hemisphere, eye, ear, hand and foot. This profile determines how we prefer to learn, perceive, and respond to the environment. As we take in new information especially when we are under stress, we access the senses which are ideally linked to our dominant brain hemisphere. This direct link is formed when our dominant eye, ear, hand, and foot is opposite our dominant brain hemisphere. When our dominant brain hemisphere is not opposite our dominant senses (as is true for many people) then learning is more difficult if different strategies are not used.

Why Schools and Parents Need to Know About Dominance Profiles

Research shows that there is a huge and disheartening incongruity between unfavorable school instructional methods and the learning profiles of the majority of students. Schools have certain expectations about the ways students should learn. Student’s who fail to fit this profile are seen as inferior rather than viewed as learning differently.

Labels that are used in school systems like “Gifted and Talented” or “Special Education”, have a direct correlation to a child’s inherent dominance profiles. This incongruity is a major contributing factor in higher numbers of students with dominance profiles that don’t fit teaching methods being identified as ADD/ADHD, Dyslexic, and Emotional Behavioral challenges and other limiting labels. With no considerations or adjustments made to address normal differing profiles, children whose profiles don’t fit the set teaching methods will continue to appear less capable. The sad truth is however that only about 15% to 20% of the population ideally fit the typical teaching practices used in schools today. 

Learn how you can test your child for their Dominance Profile and to learn the strengths and challenges of that profile, or check out some of our Attention Deficit Disorder eBooks

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Poor Working Memory and ADD

Do you, a child or loved one have difficulty with attention, concentration, focus, impulse control, social skills or complex reasoning? Has your child been diagnosed with Learning Disabilities or ADHD? The major problem may be a poor working memory.
Working memory is a principal cognitive function associated with attention and focus. It is the ability to maintain information for several seconds in your mind, manipulate it, and apply it in your thinking and reasoning. It is fundamental for concentration, problem solving, and impulse control. It is essential to improve intelligence and is a crucial indicator of success both academically and professionally. Poor working memory is a primary difficulty associated to ADHD, and other learning disabilities.

Working memory has also been found to be the most important factor in determining learning outcomes for students of every age. Its importance outweighs IQ and phonological skills in learning success.
Since one in ten students has poor working memories, a good number of students are unable to reach their learning and social competency potentials. Working memory is a fundamental cognitive tool needed to accomplish a multitude of tasks. It is particularly important in reading and math. It is the basis of classroom learning: beginning with copying from the blackboard and following directions to more complicated tasks like reading comprehension, mental math, and mathematical word problems.
A majority of students with learning challenges demonstrate visual-spatial and verbal working memory difficulties. This compromises their ability to process and store information effectively resulting in less than optimal performance. Unless they receive assistance to improve their working memory these students will not perform as well as their peers.
Cogmed Working Memory Training is an computerized program that provides intensive training of working memory, a key executive function that is critical in regulating attention and in a variety of learning activities. The program has been the subject of multiple studies in peer reviewed journals.

Until recently, there was no way to get a first hand feel for how the program actually works. However, Cogmed’s new demo site now lets you do just that. You can try both the adult (RM) and child (QM) versions and see what it is like to train your working memory. RM version can be used for most children age 5 and up.

Watch a demo to see how cogmed memory training works or try it by visiting the new demo site. Just enter test for the username and test44 for the password.

If you are ready to learn more about how the Cogmed training program can assist you or your child to develop a long-term increase in working memory capacity, please  call (415) 550-1723 today. 

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How Cogmed Works

Cogmed Working Memory Training (Cogmed) is a computer-based solution for attention problems related to poor working memory. The program combines cognitive neuroscience and innovative computer game design with close professional support to deliver substantial and lasting benefits.

The program consists of 25 computerized training sessions, each 30-45 minutes long. Each session is made up of a variety of tasks targeting the many different aspects of working memory. The training is done on a computer at home, in school, or at work. The training program lasts five weeks and the client accomplishes five sessions each week. It is a rigorous program designed to improve working memory through intensive and systematic training.

Strength of the Training

Cogmed challenges the user’s working memory capacity. Each of the computerized, cognitive exercises were designed by neuroscientists to target this key cognitive function that has been proven to be fundamental to executive function and attention. The details of the exercise design allow the program to be intensely focused while also providing slight variations. The logic is very much like in the case of the fitness machines used for building muscle strength in a gym. Cogmed is highly focused, cognitive weightlifting.


The level of difficulty in the training is adjusted in real time based on the user’s performance. Fine-tuning the calibration specific to each user means that each individual is always training at the very edge of his or her cognitive capacity. This holds true for all users, from a young child with severely impaired capability, to an adult in adequate cognitive shape. Cogmed training challenges and improves your brain no matter where you begin the process.

How Cogmed Improves Other Cognitive Skills

When you improve your working memory capacity, the change generalizes to all functioning. This means, the changes are translated to other processes not just working memory. By training a tightly defined cognitive function, you create a cascading effect of improvements. You will be better able to pay attention, resist distractions, self-manage and learn.


Many studies of Cogmed’s efficacy have been published in peer-reviewed journals since 2002. These include several randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials, as well as studies documenting changes in brain activity following Cogmed training. You can find a complete list of completed and ongoing research related to Cogmed on their website. Other studies are listed on the supporting research section of this website.

Quality Assurance

Every use of Cogmed programs is backed by a Ph.D. psychologist or a medical doctor (MD) who ensures that the quality of service meets Cogmed’s standards. Great Beginnings is Cogmed Qualified Coach Site, with quality assurance provided by the Abbey Neuropsychology Clinic, a Cogmed Qualified Practice.

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Who Can Be Helped by Working Memory Training?

Dr. Rosemary Tannock who is a professor of psychiatry and special education at the University of Toronto and a senior scientist at the Hospital for Sick Children as well as a leading expert on working memory, says that working memory is important for everyone. “We use working memory almost constantly in daily life,” she says. “It’s required for learning, problem solving, reading, listening, and many other tasks of large and small importance.” A steady stream of recent research has affirmed the importance of working memory to a broad range of populations, including:

Students – Nowhere is working memory more crucial than in the classroom. Math, reading, and the processes we use to internalize information are utterly dependent on a healthy working memory capacity. Without working memory, learning could not take place. In her book, working Memory and Learning: A Practical Guide for Teachers, Dr. Susan Gathercole a renowned expert from the University of York, calls working memory “the engine of learning” because it has shown to be the primary indicator of academic performance.

Test Takers – High school, college, and graduate students around the U.S. determine their future in large part by their performance on standardized tests such as the SAT, Act, GMAT, LSAT, and MCAT. Lasting several hours, these tests require students to focus at a very high level, meticulously manage their time and perform well under pressure. To do so effectively, students need a strong working memory. Research from leading neuroscientists indicates that working memory is the most important indicator of academic success. In a testing environment, working memory is what allows the student to quickly recall information, make mathematical and logical computations and stay focused as a time limit approaches.

Athletes – Athletes thrive on their ability to make split-second decisions. Working memory, which is crucial for performing under stress, is a tremendous asset on the sports field, “Athletes have to take in and hold onto different sets of information on the field or court,” says Dr. Paul White, a clinical psychologist from Witchita, Kansas, “Working memory impacts their ability to make decisions and be effective.

Professionals – Professionals are challenged more than ever to stay on track, prioritize activities, and overcome the persistent distractions that slow productivity. Working memory is crucial in this en vironment. Professionals with strong working memory capacity are efficient with their time and well equipped to multi-task. They perform well under pressure, remain organized and stay focused on the task at hand.

People with attention deficits – When working memory is impaired, the impact on daily life can be quite debilitating. Working memory problems are present in a range of medical conditions including many who have been diagnosed with ADHD, victims of stroke, and traumatic brain injury and cancer patients who have undergone chemotherapy. Understanding the way that working memory functions and how it is made stronger or weaker is crucial for effectively improving the daily functioning for these populations.

Aging adults – Working memory reaches its peak between 25 and 30 and then begins a gradual decline. Around the age of 55, impairments in working memory become noticeable in daily life. “It is natural for working memory to decline with age,” says Dr. Lee Hyer, a psychologist from Georgia who specializes in senior care. “As a result, it becomes more difficult to think, organize, plan and do several things at once. When you look at aging brains, there are areas that are affected both by the normal aging process and other brain areas that, for many, represent a degenerative process, such as dementia. Working memory is almost always involved in all decline processes.

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What is Working Memory – Why is it Important?

Working memory is connected with the coinciding storage and processing of transitory information. Various components of working memory are connected with different functions. These components are responsible for comprehension, attention, retaining and retrieving information. Functions such as maintaining orientation in space, following directions or patterns and monitoring changes within the visual field over time are all carried out here. (Kibby, Michelle, Marks, Morgan, & Long, 2004). Once any information is processed, it is sent to long term memory to be stored.

Skilled readers have stronger, more efficient working memories than poor readers. This is not due to poor reading skills, rather it is because they have less working-memory capability to perform reading and non-reading tasks (Swanson, &Siegel, 2001). More than two decades of research shows a clear and distinct correlation between working memory deficits and Learning Disabilities diagnosed in children and adults (Swanson, & Siegel, 2001).

Working memory has also been found to be the most important factor in determining learning outcomes for students of every age. Its importance outweighs IQ and phonological skills in learning success.

Since one in ten students has poor working memories, a good number of students are unable to reach their learning and social competency potentials. Working memory is a fundamental cognitive tool needed to accomplish a multitude of tasks. It is particularly important in reading and math. It is the basis of classroom learning: beginning with copying from the blackboard and following directions to more complicated tasks like reading comprehension, mental math, and mathematical word problems.

A majority of students with learning challenges demonstrate visual-spatial and verbal working memory difficulties. This compromises their ability to process and store information effectively resulting in less than optimal performance. Unless they receive assistance to improve their working memory these students will not perform as well as their peers.

With such a compelling correlation between the working memory and the learning disabilities, it is clear that schools must improve instructional methods which enhance a student’s effectiveness in maintaining and manipulating more information. This can be attained through a focus on well designed, research-based instruction, which enhance “on-task behavior”. Strategies such as mnemonics, keywords have been shown to be very effective in decreasing the strain on the working memory. This assists the student’s ability to more easily retrieve already stored information and place their attention on processing incoming information. The use of positive feedback, scaffolding, and Cogmed can improve the proficiency of the working memory and profoundly affect the person’s overall achievement.

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Cogmed Overview

Cogmed Working Memory Training

Great Beginnings in partnership with Abbey Neuropsychology Clinic is honored to provide Cogmed Working Memory Training.

Cogmed is a computerized training program whose efficacy has been demonstrated through peer-reviewed scientific journals, including several randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials, and evaluations by research with no affiliation to Cogmed. It was designed by leading neuroscientists to improve attention by effectively increasing working memory capacity over a 5 week training period.

Cogmed has been shown to be effective for persons diagnosed with attention deficits, those who have sustained a brain injury, stroke victims, persons experiencing the deteriorating effects of normal aging, or those not performing up to their potential, academically or professionally, given their intelligence and effort.

 Having a strong working memory is essential to learning. Poor working memory can result in significant learning difficulties. Possessing a strong working memory is a key indicator for academic success and translates into more effective classroom performance, particularly in reading and math.

Working memory is a principal cognitive function associated with attention and focus. It is the ability to maintain information for several seconds in your mind, manipulate it, and apply it in your thinking and reasoning. It is fundamental for concentration, problem solving, and impulse control. It is essential to improve intelligence and is a crucial indicator of success both academically and professionally. Poor working memory is a primary difficulty associated to ADHD, and other learning disabilities.

Attention, concentration, focus, impulse control, social skills, and complex reasoning skills are all substantially improved by Cogmed training through the long-term increase in working memory capacity. The outcome is enhanced performance, heightened attention, and success. Research and clinical results demonstrate that Cogmed’s Training effects are long lasting making its benefits even more compelling. Following initial training, an added bonus of Extension Training is available to users at no additional cost.

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Supporting Research for Cogmed

Supporting Research

For More information read the following articles

  • The cognitive and behavioural characteristics of children with low working memory. Child Development, 2009.
  • Verbal and visuo-spatial short-term and working memory in children: Are they separable? Child Development, 77, 2006
  • How does working memory work in the classroom? Educational Research and Reviews, 1, 134-139, 2006.
  • How does working memory work in the classroom? Educational Research and Reviews, 1, 134-139, 2006.  link
  • The cognitive and behavioural characteristics of children with low working memory. Child Development, 2009.
  • Verbal and visuo-spatial short-term and working memory in children: Are they separable? Child Development, 77, 2006.  link
  • Working memory and other cognitive skills as predictors of progress towards early learning goals at school entry.British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 23, 417-426, 2005.
  • A structural analysis of working memory and related cognitive skills in early childhood. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 87, 85-106, 2004.
  • Working memory, but not IQ, predicts subsequent learning in children with learning difficulties. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 2009.
  • Working memory in children with reading disabilities. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 93, 265-281, 2006.
  • Attentional and executive function behaviors in children with poor working memory. Learning and Individual Differences, 18, 214-223, 2008.
  • Working memory and short-term sentence recall in young children. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 17, 207-220, 2005.
  • Working memory and special educational needs. Educational and Child Psychology, 22, 56-67, 2005.
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Understanding The A.D.D. Ear Connection

During the first fifteen months of life all learning is centered on the development of the Inner ear (vestibular) system. Coordination, balance, movement in space, integration of vision and movement, all rely on optimal functioning of the vestibular system. The vestibular system also maintains our arousal state through its connection to the reticular activating system (RAS), which keeps us alert and responsive to sensory stimuli.

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Why Drug Treatment For ADHD Is Dangerous

Drug treatment for ADHD is dangerous for several reasons. First, since there still is no definitive test for ADD/ADHD many children with other medical or emotional problems whose symptoms parade as ADD/ADHD never get treatment for their real problems. ADD/ADHD individuals also never get treated for the many underlying causes of the symptoms we see.

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Talking To Kids About LD

While parents are able to find information and resources about learning disabilities more easily than ever, they still ask, “How do I talk to my child about their learning disability? How do I keep his self-esteem and motivation strong?” Here are some ideas to guide you at different developmental stages. 

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Preparing ADD Kids for Change

If your child has Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD), you probably know how difficult it can be for him to transition from one situation to another. He feels most secure and behaves best when life follows a regular schedule. Just as he’s settled into his new school year routine, along comes the holiday season – turning his schedule upside down! How can you prepare him for holiday challenges? Can you help him manage his behavior so he has a fun and holiday and more success at school? 

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Discover Your ADDvantage: Tools for discovering the gift in ADD

Discover Your ADDvantage: Tools for discovering the gift in ADD

If I could show you:

  1. That ADD is a Gift
  2. How your or your child can use their gift to their advantage
  3. How to eliminate symptoms in natural ways
  4. How to unlock your child’s hidden talents
  5. How your child can succeed in school, and personally

You would want to know how it’s done, wouldn’t you?

In a few short months your child can become more empowered in all areas of their life and more self accepting of their gifts in order to take challenges and turn them into assessts.

In this informative presentation, you will learn:

*The 3 reasons a multimodal approach to ADD is needed
*The 5 steps to take to uncover your child’s or your own ADD gifts

Where: 5718 Geary Boulevard, San Francisco, CA 94121 / 415.379-9830
When: Thursday May 3, 2012 / 6:30 – 8:30 PM

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Portrait of the A.D.D. Person

When we think about ADD, our attention immediately goes to four major characteristics: selective attention, impulsivity, distractibility, and hyperactivity. Yet ADD is much more complex than that. To affect outcomes we must understand the symptoms of ADD, why they exist, and not only address them in more appropriate ways but also address the underlying learning difference—the ADD profile and their gift. 

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Vestibular System

During the first fifteen months of life, all learning is centered around the development of the vestibular system. Coordination, balance, movement in space, integration of vision and movement—all rely on optimal functioning of the vestibular system. The vestibular system also maintains our arousal state through its connection to the reticular activating system (RAS), which keeps us alert and responsive to sensory stimuli.

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Understanding ADD

Is your child difficult to manage? Are they having learning and behavioral problems in school? Are you searching for new answers? This information can get you started in the right direction.

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Addressing Biological Differences

Biological Differences cause many of the bothersome symptoms seen in ADD/ADHD. By addressing these; miraculous behavioral changes happen.

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Addressing Neurological Differences

Neurological Differences are responsible for both learning and attention challenges. By addressing these differences learning and focus improve without interfering with the child or adult’s ability to access their genius unlike drug therapy which may temporarily help focus and behavior but blocks the creative process and abilities.

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Addressing Learning Differences

Persons with ADD have a unique learning profile which inhibits learning in a school setting because of how most schools approach teaching. Understanding your dominance profile and improving working memory deficits can be the difference in learning success.

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ADD Books

Inform yourself in order to transform your child’s or your own life.

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Having a good coach can mean the difference between struggle and success. Also when addressing working memory deficits through Cogmed training a coach is key to achieving the best results.

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If you’d like to schedule an event, see upcoming events, or set up an interview click here.

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Goal Setting

Here are some goal setting techniques for those with ADD or those working with an ADD child.

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