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cogmed


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Joined: Apr 13, 2008
Posts: 8
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Posted Apr 13, 2008 at 9:47:33 AM
Subject: cogmed

Has anyone used this software program -Robomemo. I would likt to hear from parents that have actually used this program.Does it really work or is it just another gimmic?

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demarti
Joined Jun 15, 2005
Posts: 84

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Posted:Apr 16, 2008 12:12:14 PM
Subject:Re: cogmed

I don't have any experience with CogMed, but I've been very interested in it. The general concensus from alot of people is that you can't improve memory, not enough studies etc. But I'm a huge believer that you can improve working memory and we worked on this alot(and been successful - although alot of work!). My dd had severe auditory memory issues and had they had this program 8 yrs ago, I would have considered it.

The biggest negative I have with CogMed is the cost! For $1700 it really isn't that much different than many of the other programs out there. For a younger child, I can see this is much more entertaining and might be easier to get your child motivated to do it. Part of the price you pay is the 'coach' and that could be helpful in tips in keeping motivitated when you plateau on a level.

Here's some other lower priced programs that also help with working memory and digit span(meaning the amount of information you can take in at once). We did all 3 of these, plus sound.

Brainbuilder - $60? (very boring, but this helped my dd alot. Had to be 'creative' to get her to do it. Have lots of tips on this.) CogMed appears to take the premise of BB (visual digit span, auditory and reverse) and make it 'funner' to do esp. for a younger child. (recommended to do 15-20min per day, 5x per week)

Earobics (Karloon's Balloons exercise) - $60 (this only goes to a digit span of 5, and you really need 7-9)

Audiblox - ($200-$300?) There a number of visual memory exercises, only 1 auditory, but it is a good one. This is not on a computer, so you as parent have to be the trainer(it's scripted, so not hard). It's easy (sometimes fun) to do, but you have to be disciplined to do it.

With cognitive training programs, you can plateau at a level very easily and then it gets frustrating. Sound Therapy (The Listening Program - $300-$400) can help get through those plateau times easier. Do sound therapy 1st, prior to starting program.

So it really depends on if you have the money and if you think you can effectively motivate your child to consistently do it everyday. Many people fail, because they don't consistently do the program and burn out.

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Kathryn
Joined Oct 02, 2006
Posts: 172

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Posted:Apr 16, 2008 10:41:43 PM
Subject:Re: cogmed

We're about 95% complete with Fast ForWord. That program is supposed to help with working memory too, but I cannot point to any big improvements in that right now since we have been focused on the program. It's the old "I can't see the forest for the trees" thing right now. I can tell you for sure that the exercises that required her to use working memory were very difficult at first, but got easier by the end. And the great thing is that the therapist taught her some strategies for listening based on where she was struggling with FFW. She was not able to hold a long sentence in her head, she she taught her to listen in chunks. After she learned that she could hold much longer sentences in her head and repeat them back to us.

I have never tried the other programs that Demarti recommended, but I know she has mentioned that she was successful with them in the past, so it would be worth researching or trying at least.

I don't know anything about cogmed either. Let us know if you try it and if it works.

Kathryn

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always_wondering
Joined Jun 12, 2003
Posts: 94

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Posted:Apr 17, 2008 7:23:33 AM
Subject:cogmed

"And the great thing is that the therapist taught her some strategies for listening based on where she was struggling with FFW. She was not able to hold a long sentence in her head, she she taught her to listen in chunks. After she learned that she could hold much longer sentences in her head and repeat them back to us."

Strategies are wonderful things. I would listen carefully at the end of your child's therapy to see how they "sell" the results to you. If the object of the program (this particular exercise) was to actually increase the number or words that could be held in memory or the lenght of time it could be held (without using strategies), then the "processing or memory improvement" was not done, but a strategy to circumvent the lack of "processing or memory improvement".

I'm not trying to imply your child isn't getting benefit from the program because I know there are many portions to it. I'm just commenting on your comment and how it is ringing in my head after years of accommodations and strategies being used and passed off as remediation. The deficit still remains and the strategies work until the material or circumstance changes.

Question to ask your therapist and watch in your daughter. Will this strategy take her as far as she needs to go. Was this strategy used because she wasn't progressing in the program and they needed to find an alternative.

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demarti
Joined Jun 15, 2005
Posts: 84

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Posted:Apr 17, 2008 10:27:09 AM
Subject:Re: cogmed

I was thinking the same thing as Always Wondering. Chunking is a good strategy, but you aren't increasing your sequential processing abilities. Ideally, you want to have at least 7 digit spans (or slots) of memory. The more digit spans you have the more pieces of information you can take in and process at one time.

How many #'s can your child repeat to you, without chunking? Presented both visually and auditorily.

If I recall correctly, I think FFW was kind of similar to Earobics in that it really only pushes one to 5 digit span.

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Kathryn
Joined Oct 02, 2006
Posts: 172

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Posted:Apr 17, 2008 4:14:16 PM
Subject:Re: cogmed

Those are good questions. We have not done a digit span test since the school did one in Oct. Last May her digit span was that of a child age 5yrs 3mo (she was 8yrs 3mo at the time). In Oct the school tested her when she was 8yrs 8 mo and they said her digit span was "at near normal levels", but they did not give me an age equiv. At that point we had not started FFW, so I cannot point to that, but the therapist did a lot of work on auditory memory from day 1, which started in June. So, I would attribute her memory increase to daily exercises with the therapist and myself (homework from therapist).

The strategies for listening in chunks have helped with her ability to repeat back even longer sentences, but I'm not sure how permanent that is. And again, as I keep saying, I see improvements, but don't know what they are from and I don't care as long as she is improving.

The therapist was careful not to teach the game to her. She knows that would not help her at all. I do think my daughter memorized some of the answers to one of the games although you can't always predict what the answer is without listening to the questions, but in some cases you can.

Sorry if this isn't making much sense.

I guess we really don't know how much FFW helps auditory memory or working memory, but the point of the program really is to increase auditory temporal processing and that is the strength of that particular program. If a child's temporal processing is normal, then the program may not help the child. I'm not sure.

Kathryn

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demarti
Joined Jun 15, 2005
Posts: 84

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Posted:Apr 17, 2008 6:14:48 PM
Subject:Re: cogmed

The NACD has an onsite program to test your digit span. (you do have to fill out background info etc. they use it as part of their research). You may want to also read up on their articles on sequential processing, digit spans and working memory. It's interesting and they discuss chunking etc.

http://www.nacdtheproject.com/

I suggest you go to the website, as you may be surprised at the results vs. what was tested at school. The WISC cognitive digit span test is slightly different and normalized vs. a pure digit span. You want both a visual and an auditory. If they tested your dd at a 5yr-6yrs - was that a blended visual and auditory result?

My dd took a working memory test with the PACE Gibson Cognitive test and it showed she was above average. But peeling back the layer, she excelled in visual memory, but she got NONE of the auditory memory answers. A lack in auditory working memory can significantly impact your expressive language.

FFW is good in that it provides auditory tonal training. It works on auditory discrimination and background noise issues(to name a few). If you have significant issues with 'sounds' being distorted, improving your auditory memory will be very difficult.

We spent 3 years working on 'working memory'. We did brainbuilder for 9mo., continued with audiblox for another 4-5mo. and then following year we did PACE. (and sound therapy in between!). There are still some aspects of auditory memory that are hard for her. But I DID see a direct relationship with her school work (and reading!) everytime she hit a new level in Brainbuilder. It was very interesting.

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always_wondering
Joined Jun 12, 2003
Posts: 94

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Posted:Apr 18, 2008 7:12:05 AM
Subject:cogmed

"but don't know what they are from and I don't care as long as she is improving."

I know the intent you were meaning - you are very happy there is progress, but as I said before something that looks like progress now can just be smoke and mirrors. You really do have to care how that progress is being achieved or it will bite you in the butt every time. I'd hate for you to be in the same situation I am in.

From reading demarti's posts on other boards, demarti really knows the stuff.

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Kathryn
Joined Oct 02, 2006
Posts: 172

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Posted:Apr 18, 2008 8:14:15 AM
Subject:Re: cogmed

Thank you both for responding. We are meeting with the therapist in the next couple of weeks. I am hoping that she will do some further testing for us, but without that I cannot determine what actual progress she has made. I am anxious to find out and to ask a bunch more questions.

To be honest, I THINK she told me once that working memory is not something that can be increased, but can be made to be more efficient. I was planning to ask for clarification on that because I had read a bunch of articles on improving working memory. She also told me from the beginning that my dd will learn a bunch of new strategies, but then things will step up in school and we'll be back where we started each time needing more help. This is an on going process for sure.

I guess I still have a bunch of questions, but have yet to meet with her for clarification. I will post more when I know more.

Thanks again for your responses.

Kathryn

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Kathryn
Joined Oct 02, 2006
Posts: 172

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Posted:Apr 18, 2008 3:06:53 PM
Subject:Re: cogmed

I also wanted to add that the therapist is working on helping my daughter visualize. She's not making pictures in her head. At school the resource specialist is using the Lindamood Bell V/V program with her and her reading comprehension has jumped up 10 levels in 2 months. Maybe more by now, but that was as of the end of March. She's also asking me for clarification when she hears words she doesn't know. This is a normal developmental step, "what does that mean?" where she never did it before. About a year ago she would point to things and ask me what it is (like the center divide on the freeway). Now she's asking me for clarification on words she has heard "what does disaster mean?"

So, these are the things I am seeing in terms of progress. I know this does not represent progress of her foundational skills, auditory memory, etc.... but I guess with so many interventions happening right now I am just happy that she is making progress in school and with her language skills. But again, you are right about digit span. I understand that we need to have that tested. Her visual memory is excellent and always has been, but auditory memory is a different story altogether. I am hoping the therapist will do some more testing before we meet with her, although I'm not sure since they did a bunch of testing at school in Oct. Is there a waiting period? Not sure. I know the private therapist did a little bit of testing on her rapid naming abilities and a few other things, but since we did not formally discuss testing I'm not sure if she was just doing that for her own benefit to see where she is on those skills.

Thanks again for your responses. My previous post was very early in the morning and I was barely awake! LOL!!

Kathryn

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