Posts Tagged ‘brain fitness pro jr’

Week 5, trying DoubleTrouble

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

As my son has ADHD, we are following the Brain Fitness Pro Jr recommendation to move up to two training sessions per day starting this week (Week 5). My son is 9, but decided to give Double Trouble a try anyway (the Help file suggests that it is recommended for children ages 10 and up).

His first session of Double Trouble went well and he immediately grasped the concept and moved from 2 items up to six in relatively short order. I think the novelty of the new game was a good motivator for him. So for his first session each day this week, he continued with Double Trouble. His scores were:

4.38

4.88

5.13

5.88

4.88

He found Double Trouble very challenging, so for his second session each day he chose Straightahead (except for Day 1 of Week 5, where he tried Switchback, but found it very confusing to mix that with Double Trouble). His Straightahead scores were:

6.25

6.75

6.63

7.25 (new high score)

His Straightahead scores have improved steadily; his average scores have been:

Week 1 5.73

Week 3 6.68

Week 5 6.72

So at this point, I do have some questions:

1) Is mixing two different games in one day a good idea, or should he should he do the same game twice each day? What about changing games from day to day, or week to week? I’m trying to let my son drive the process, but at the same time, would like to advise him as to how to make the best use of his time and effort.

2) Have the effects of the Junior games been studied, and have the use of Straightahead, Switchback, and Double Trouble been shown to have the same effects on working memory as duel N-back training?

3) At times my son appears focussed on the game, but still has trouble progressing (for example, today he started Double Trouble with 6 items, but quickly went down to 4 items). Is there some strategy or technique I can suggest to him to help him focus his attention? Now that the novelty of the games has worn off, I fear that he is just glazing over at times.

 

Brain Fitness Pro Jr, weeks 3 and 4

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

After completing one week of Straightahead, and one week of Switchback, my sons scores for weeks 3 and 4 were as follows:

Week 3, Switchback: 4.63, 5.75, 4.5, 5.75, 6.00

Week 4, Straightahead: 5.88, 7.13, 7.13, 6.75, 6.5

I’m not sure how to interpret the results. Given that my son scored 6.5 on his third day of Straightahead, I was hoping for more consistent improvement after four weeks. His usual mid-week spike is encouraging though. His Switchback scores for his second week were marginally better than during his first week. I haven’t noticed any improvements in his ability to focus during written tasks, or math work, or even during his Brain Fitness Pro Jr sessions.

He definitely finds the exercises very hard, and is sometimes reluctant to move up a level when given the choice. I always encourage him to move up, and he’s been pleased when he’s succeeded at the higher levels, but typically moves down again within the same session. As he moved up to 7 and then 8 objects in Straightahead, I suggested strategies to use, such as grouping the numbers into 3-digit and 4-digit numbers. This seems to work for him when he says them aloud, although he’s not always quick enough to say them before the program’s auditory prompts start. Sometimes I also see him tracking the positions of the objects with his cursor as he listens to the auditory prompts, and I think that might be a useful strategy for him as well.

We’re now ready to begin phase 2, which will entail two Brain Fitness Pro sessions per day for the next four weeks. My son is still doing the sessions willingly, but I can tell he is growing frustrated by his slow progress. Hopefully he will start to see some consistent improvement, which would be encouraging for him.

Brain Fitness Pro Jr, our journey begins

Monday, January 30th, 2012

My son started using Brain Fitness Pro Jr last week. He is 9 years old, and has been diagnosed with ADHD, primarily inattentive. His test scores show major deficits in the areas of working memory and executive function, and he struggles with basic skills such as memorizing multiplication tables, spelling, etc., though his verbal scores are very high as are his math problem-solving skills. When he was about four years old and I started teaching him to read and play piano, it was like groundhog day: he would forget a word he’d read in the previous sentence and have to sound it out each time he encountered it. The next day would be the same thing again. While he did learn to read and play piano, it was slow-going, hard work for him, despite his love of books and music. Printing and cursive writing were more of the same, it took a lot of one-on-one training sessions to get his cursive writing to a functional level–he would often forget what a letter should look like.

Our psychologist recommended trying CogMed, but due to the high cost involved, I decided to try Brain Fitness Pro Jr first as I have the time to spend with my son to ensure he completes the exercises, and feel I have a good understanding of the subject from the reading I have done. I am hoping to see some improvement in his working memory and focus. He is beginning to understand that he has issues in these areas, and is somewhat self-conscious and intimidated at school as a result.

Week 1: He started with Straightahead. His scores for the first five sessions were: 4.63, 6.13, 6.5, 5.63 and 5.75. He was curious and motivated for the first few days, but the tedium set in fairly quickly.The sessions last 12 minutes, and that’s enough for him. I see his focus start to wander after the first five minutes or so and his performance declines. Next week we still try Switchback.

Week 2: My son’s scores on Switchback were 2.63, 3.88, 5.38, 4.00, and 4.63. Interesting that it follows the same rise-fall-rise pattern as the first week on Straightahead. I haven’t timed it, but it seems that my son starts to lose focus after the first 5-6 minutes, I see his performance decline after that point. As a note to the software designers, while my son and I both find the Looney Tunes voices of Daffy Duck and Yosemite Sam cute when they are encouraging, I have to say that I didn’t care for the “No, no, no, you’re doing it all wrong!” message you get after giving too many incorrect responses. Being blasted with “You’re doing it all wrong!” when struggling with a┬átedious but hard task didn’t do anything to boost my son’s spirits, even if it was said by Daffy Duck. He KNOWS he’s doing it wrong and already feels badly about it.

Next week we will go back to Straightahead.