For college student Chris Tonelli of Cleveland, OH, working his summer job used to be a source of anxiety and even embarrassment. Diagnosed with ADHD in the third grade, Chris would frequently lose his train of thought and forget to complete seemingly simple tasks. As an employee of a local concession stand owned by his father, Chris was overwhelmed by the very thought of working the cash register because he was afraid he would confuse incoming orders and give customers incorrect change. As a result, he was limited to more menial jobs, such as lugging soda from the van to the stand.
All of that changed in the summer of 2006 when Chris’ physician, Dr. Arthur Lavin of Beachwood, OH, recommended that Chris try Cogmed Working Memory Training, a five-week software-based program developed in Sweden that strengthens working memory and subsequently increases problem solving skills and attention abilities. Though skeptical, Chris began the program and discovered that it appealed to his competitive nature. He found himself looking forward to the daily challenge.
He saw results after the first few weeks. “I began to notice that my scores in the program were doubling,” he said. “Then I began to see changes at home: I wasn’t forgetting little tasks like cleaning up or taking out the garbage. By the end of the summer, I was working the cash register at the concession stand, handling 10 orders at a time and not screwing up any of them. My parents were amazed.”
Almost a year later, Chris continues to benefit from the training. He now confronts the once seemingly insurmountable challenges of work and school calmly, breaking down each task in to logical steps. “The training completely changed the way I approach work,” he said, “Now, I’m more confident and I know where I’m going.”