The Working Memory Training bandwagon could soon be screeching to a halt, at least when it comes to much-promoted viability for ADHD, given results from two recent studies that undercut previously made claims.
This comes as no surprise to me. Years ago, I participated in a list serve of ADHD professionals. When I dared to question the validity of new, unproven programs such as CogMed (which is discussed below), I was roundly castigated by psychologists who were using it in their practice.
Never mind the bias created by the profit motive; there was certainly insufficient evidence back then (circa 2008) to merit offering it to children or adults with ADHD. From what I could tell among the list members who also had ADHD, they reported no improved function in life, but they enjoyed the training. All in all, it sounded like an expensive distraction to me.
More importantly, there is always an opportunity cost to pursuing these unproven treatments instead of evidence-based interventions such as medication and behavioral-therapy as well as structural supports (calendars, timers, visual organizing systems, etc.). Will an adult lose a job or a marriage? Will a child fail a grade or suffer other continuing losses to self-esteem?
As it turns out, my skepticism was well-founded. While initial studies were favorable, more recent research counters those studies’ conclusions. Read the rest of this entry »