What Are Executive Functions?
Our Executive Functions represent a plethora of mental functions which control our logical reasoning, strategy, planning/organization, problem-solving, and hypothetical-deductive reasoning skills. These functions are often impaired in ADHD children and adults. For example, planning helps us formulate an action plan and define and organize our priorities to solve a problem or complete an activity. The control of these functions is critical to our everyday lives, school, work, and home. Here’s a simple example; the teacher assigns homework and your child cannot formulate a plan to start, complete, and then turn it in.
Strong Executive Functions are supported by underlying cognitive skills.
What Are Cognitive Skills?
Cognitive skills are:
- Paying attention
- Visual processing
- Pattern recognition
- Auditory processing
Attention Is A Skill and Play Attention Can Increase this Skill
We are all born with the ability to pay attention. Some of us better than others. People with ADHD don't have a lack or 'deficit' of attention; they have an inability to sustain and direct their attention at will.
Attention is a skill that can be practiced and improved given the right tools. Play Attention uniquely allowsÂ you to see your attention on the computer screen. You can actually control the computer exercises by attention alone! Without this feature, you're simply guessing whether you're paying attention or not.
Play Attention uses BodyWave technology to allow you to see your attention in real time. This teaches you to sustain and direct your attention at will.
Visual Processing Is A Skill and Play Attention Can Increase this Skill
Visual Processing is the brain's ability to see, analyze, and think with mental images. People with ADHD frequently have a very difficult time with visual processing as they only take in bits and pieces of data that they view. Play Attention teaches visual processing by specifically teaching pattern recognition governed by attention. Using BodyWave technology, you activate a visual sequence, analyze it, and then repeat it back to the computer which in turn offers you a more difficult sequence upon successful completion.
Memory Is A Skill and Play Attention Can Increase this Skill
Memory is the ability to store, retrieve, and recall information. Many different types of attention have been identified.
- Long-term memory is memory that we keep for our lifetime or for a very long time. A good example may be your multiplication tables. While you may be rusty, you likely remember 2 x 2 or 4 x 1 even though you learned this many years ago. We use long-term memory at school and work when we try to spell words, comprehend reading material, or recall facts on tests. Forget an answer on a test? Forget a phone number? Your homework assignment? Your long-term memory has failed you.
- Short-term memory or working memory is the ability to hold information in your mind while you simultaneously perform a mental operation or calculation.Â Students with short-term memory or working memory problems may need to have directions repeated or have problems following multi-step instructions,Â and quickly lose track of immediately pressing tasks.
- Spatial memory is also quite difficult for ADHD persons. Spatial memory allows us to remember where we leave things (like our checkbook, homework, or car keys), how to navigate our way through a building, and is fundamental to being organized.
Play Attention works on all of these areas. We have exercises for short-term memory, working memory, and spatial memory. These all significantly bolster long-term memory!
Auditory processing Is A Skill and Play Attention Can Increase this Skill
Auditory processing refers to the brain's ability to process, analyze, and comprehend incoming sounds, and information. This is a critical skill when working at the office or in the classroom. Play Attention features a terrific Auditory Processing game to enable you to follow multiple step instructions, follow a conversation with your spouse, and perform well in the classroom or workplace.
How Play Attention Works
To understand how Play Attention works, it is important to understand how new neural networks are formed during the learning process.
Current research clearly demonstrates that the brain is always changing (adjusting our neural networks) due to learning and our environment. This process is termed neuroplasticity. Simply put, the brain constantly changes when we learn something new. The brain is an amazing instrument that also has the ability to compensate when it's not fully functioning.
Play Attention students actually train themselves to control the conductor that controls attention! The brain will change if we instruct it to. This is the foundation of all teaching and learning from pre-school to post graduate. Heretofore, attention was nearly impossible to teach because it is not tangible - not something that is concrete like a pencil. Play Attention students can see their attention in real-time by controlling the computer screen with their attention alone. Now, attention is concrete and controllable.
Practice Makes Perfect
The only way to fully learn the skill of attention is to practice it over and over again just as is done with an athletic endeavor. If we play soccer, we practice our free kick many times to perfect it. We practice our golf swings the same way.
Play Attention allows students to practice attention until they master it. Play Attention also teaches them skills they don't have because of attention difficulties. Problems with organization, finishing tasks, filtering out distractions, watching the teacher, and memory are also addressed in Play Attention.
The brain can learn the skill of attention even if it has severe attention challenges. And it learns the skill of attention just like learning any other skill. But, it takes time, practice, and consistency. We are the experts in this field. We know the cognitive science behind attention. We know how to master the skill.
Play Attention and Cognitive Educational Psychology
We now understand that the brain communicates to its various component parts via networks. You may imagine them as being similar to the network that connects your computer to all other computers on the Internet. However, instead of metal wires, the brain's wiring is done by cells with long branches that reach out to other cells forming a chain that links to other portions of the brain. This "wiring" allows the brain to function. Among many other activities, neural networks allow us to be able to see, think, hear, and pay attention.
Play Attention gives you the tools to learn to pay attention and much, much more.