Brain Training For Kids With ADHD: What Is It & Does It Work?

When a child has an ADHD diagnosis, it means that certain sections of their brain are firing 4 to 7 times per second. By comparison, around 80% of the population have brains that are firing between 12 and 18 firings per second. 

Most children who have brain firings between 12 and 18 firings per second can stay focused and complete work even when they are bored in school, while children with ADHD can be very creative but have a hard time focusing on and performing tasks they may deem as ‘boring’. 

Around 10% of the population is blessed with this gift. They have an incredible ability to focus on things they are passionate about and a lot of difficulty focusing on ‘regular’ things. If you have a child who struggles with focus but will work for hours on building things or video games or other pleasurable activities, you have seen this trait.

Why Stimulants Work for ADHD Children…Until They Wear Off

Whether you are in the 10% or the 80%, it is very difficult to change your brain’s firing. The people in the 80% may like to slow their brains down with activities like yoga or meditation to find a relaxed state of mind. When they achieve this, their brain is firing somewhere between 8 and 12 firings per second. This can feel very relaxing.

The 10% of people with an ADHD diagnosis would need to speed their brain up to get into the 8 to 12 firings per second zone for meditation kinds of activities. They also need to speed their brain up to get into the 12 to 18 zone where focusing is easier. This is why stimulant medication is prescribed for many children with ADHD.

When your child’s brain is firing 4 to 7 times per second, it will speed up when they are given stimulant medication. The faster firing makes it easier to maintain focus while the medication is in their system. The medication does not teach the brain how to work faster – the brain works faster because of the stimulant. When the stimulant leaves their system, their brain returns to the 4 to 7 firing rate.

All people have a brain firing pattern, a heart rate, a respiratory rate that is their own combination of traits. These rates are unique to them. It’s like having brown eyes. 

And, like eye color, there are some eye colors that are more common than others. The same is true for brain firing. If your child is in the 10% of people with a 4 to 7 firing rate, celebrate that! It is no different than having a less common eye color.

Because 80% of the children in your child’s class can focus easily, start and finish assignments, and easily keep up with grade-level work, it does not mean there is anything ‘wrong’ with your child. Your child simply has a different gift. 

As a parent of a child with an ADHD diagnosis, you appreciate the gifts you see and know you have a bright child. You may also wonder what you can do so they can go to school and accomplish the necessary tasks to get a good education and keep up in school with their peers.

This is a difficult place to be as a parent. Every family must find the right mix of help for their child. Often, Brain Training is considered as an option to help.

How Brain Training Can Help ADHD Children

Brain Training is a generic term used to describe activities that help create a learning foundation in the brain so processing information in class gets easier. There are so many types of Brain Training exercises for ADHD that it can be difficult to understand what they do and why they are needed (or not).

I think of Brain Training like groceries that are sold at the supermarket. Not all of them are what you are looking for, yet, there are some that could create the perfect recipe for your situation. The difficulty is understanding what your child needs and what each kind of Brain Training provides.

Your child may have difficulties that require a few different Brain Training Programs and it’s important to determine which ones you should do first, second, and third in order to get the most benefit from the combination of different trainings.

When considering which training program you should pick for your child, keep these recommendations in mind: 

  1. Improve processing speed first. This is an indicator of how easily your child can perceive information (what the teacher is saying), take it in (focus), organize it (mental integration), understand it (comprehension), make decisions about it (analyze), plan an answer (executive functioning) and write or say the information in a timely way (motor planning and sequencing) to keep up with the rest of the class. 
  2. Assess cognitive skills. Memory, reasoning, visual skills, auditory, and sensory processing are important skills that need to be assessed in order to pinpoint the weaknesses that may be contributing to the difficulties your child is experiencing.
  3. Discover which missed academic skills are interfering with success in the current grade. Often this includes basic reading skills, the inability to remember and spell sight words, poor comprehension skills, missed arithmetic facts, and any other subject material that your child missed. 
  4. Offer your child lots of opportunities to try different interests. When an interest wanes, let your child move on to explore the next exciting activity. Your child will benefit greatly from the experience of trying new things they are passionate about and then assessing how they feel about that new thing. This will be helpful later in life as they explore jobs and personal interests and learn how to develop their passions.

All of these skills become easier when your child is able to process them faster. Processing speed is measured in milliseconds. The better your child’s millisecond timing, the easier learning will become. Processing speed training won’t change your child’s 4 to 7 firing pattern but it can help the brain think faster so focus and schoolwork are easier.

Be sure to check out the Hardy Learning Programs or contact us today to set up a consultation and see if Hardy is a good fit for you and your child. We improve processing speed, help with cognitive skills, and teach reading, spelling, and math in a creative way by transforming typical boring instructions into engaging, meaningful activities which make learning more fun and easier to remember.