Adults and children who have Attention Deficit Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder often struggle with an inability to organize thoughts, break the chains of procrastination, or even follow simple conversations. If this sounds familiar, take heart. Brain Training exercises offer hope for anyone suffering from disorders of attention and focus.
The neurological mechanisms of these brain disorders are increasingly well known. More importantly, the science behind non-medication alternatives is on the rise. Here are three science based brain exercises we have found to be effective interventions for common ADD and ADHD symptoms such as inattention, hyperactivity, distractibility, restlessness, and impulsivity.
1. Neurofeedback (NFB) and ADHD
Neurofeedback, or NFB, is non-invasive Brain Training exercise that has gained acceptance as a viable alternative to medications for ADHD. During an NFB exercise session, electrical activity is recorded from the outer covering (cortex) of one’s brain. The cortex controls higher cognitive functions such as focus and attention. That electrical activity is then fed back via visual, auditory, or tactile stimulation. Over time, NFB exercises help clients gain control over various aspects of their brain wave activity. Brain wave control helps those with ADHD achieve a greater attention span, the ability to focus more efficiently and enhanced cognitive flexibility.
2. Interactive Metronome (IM) Exercises Mental Timing Mechanisms
Interactive Metronome or IM is an evidence-based Brain Training program designed to improve mental timing and coordination. These brain traits are often impacted in those with ADD, ADHD or other disorders of focus and attention. Effective timing in the brain, also known as temporal processing, is essential for directing our attention, comprehension, movement, memory, speech, sleep, and other vital functions.
IM exercises feel like games. You listen to a rhythmic auditory tone and see visual information that tells your body movements to perform in time with the beat. You get immediate feedback, so you know how well you are doing. As you repeat the exercise you continually improve the synchronized timing in the brain. Our clients with ADD and ADHD have seen vast improvements in attention and focus from IM training.
3. Eye Exercises for Learning and Behavioral Disorders
Eye movements and how they relate to our higher cognitive brain functions are the subject of the fastest growing area of research into attention, learning and behavioral disorders. The ability of the eyes to track a slowly moving object, or to quickly look to where a loud noise came from, or to converge the eyes while moving them when reading words on a page are all linked to very specific neural pathways; many of which are in the areas affected by ADD and ADHD.
Assessment tools such as videonystagmography (VNG) allow clinicians to discover breakdowns in eye movement and function and then prescribe corrective exercises designed to reduce or eliminate the cognitive dysfunction.
There are many other exercises that can help those with ADD and ADHD.