Unsure what constitutes brain training? You are not alone. This alternative treatment means different things to different people, and encompasses a wide range of programs — some more reputable than others.

In this video, learn about the two types of brain training used for ADHD.

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What is Brain Training?

Countless apps and games promise to make you smarter or more focused.

But do they count as brain training? What does that term really mean?

“Brain training” hinges on the idea of “neuroplasticity,” a theory that the brain can adapt and grow at any age.

The term is used to describe a range of programs, exercises, or tools designed to “strengthen” brain functions, including:

  • Memory
  • Focus
  • Concentration
  • Executive functions

“The potential for brain training as a new therapeutic tool is phenomenal. By understanding brain circuitry, we can tailor interventions that medication or psychotherapy do not access or improve. These programs are not invasive, have minimal side effects, and are, for the most part, fun.” – Amit Etkin, Ph.D.

When we talk about brain training for ADHD, we generally refer to:

  • Neurofeedback
  • Cognitive training

Neurofeedback is a process of monitoring brain activity using sensors. Then, learning to change thought patterns with practice based on these results.

BrainPaint and Play Attention are two popular neurofeedback programs.

Cognitive training is the process of building a specific ability – like reading or problem solving – with games or exercises.

LearningRX is a popular cognitive training program.

Given the wide range of brain-training programs and approaches, it’s impossible to say whether brain training in general helps ADHD symptoms.

“Rather than paying attention to any generalized conclusions about the effectiveness of brain training, parents should carefully investigate the claims and research support for any particular approach they are considering.” – David Rabiner, Ph.D.

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