Young man risks losing placement at boarding school, becomes “Star Pupil” after Cogmed

Age: 13
Gender: Male
Location: Worthing, United Kingdom

Background: Prior to doing Cogmed training, this thirteen year old from the UK suffered from a variety of problems because of his poor attention and organizational skills. It came to the point where his attentional issues were severely impairing his daily life and threatening his placement at a boarding school.

It was difficult for him to remember instructions and he would often forget to pack all that was needed when he traveled to and from the boarding school. The young man had severe difficulties with planning and was unable to think ahead which caused him to make poor decisions socially. The boy was reactive rather than proactive and he had a lot of difficulty anticipating the outcome of situations.

Because of this, the boy would make poor decisions and misbehave. He frequently was in the wrong place at the wrong time and since he was so slow at assessing what was going on around him, he wound up getting into trouble without intending to. The boy’s problems persisted and even though he received three suspensions in one year and was in danger of being kicked out of school, the boy continued to be unaware of his own behavior and unable to make proper decisions.

When the young man was assessed by an educational psychologist who identified a working memory deficit, his mother did some independent research and came across Cogmed on the internet. After looking into the training program she felt it would be appropriate for her son. The young man had a very positive approach throughout the training and was motivated to do it. He was beginning to realize that he had a problem and knew that he needed to do something about it. His mother only sat with him the first session and he did the rest on his own, initiating the daily training sessions independently every morning. He even put a sign on the door telling others to be quiet and unplugged the phone to make sure there were no distractions.

During the training, his mother started to see small improvements in his organizational skills such as just remembering to do the training. But after two weeks, small changes in organization started to become evident in his daily life. His mother says that he was more ‘switched on’ to the present and the here and now – like a “light bulb turning on” and the “world of chaos” disappearing. He started to pack his bag for school and hang up his clothes, which he had never done before without being told multiple times.

After the boy completed Cogmed training there were significant gains in his attention and organization and it had a major affect on the boy’s daily life. His mother no longer had to repeat instructions to the boy, although she sometimes forgot and repeated things to him as she used to. When this happened the boy has to tell her there’s no need to remind him since he remembered the first time she told him.

The most significant improvements were at school. They boy’s music teacher called him “Mr. Organized” and “Star Pupil” which had never happened before. He has also stopped chattering in class and he has received significantly higher behavioral reports. In Math he’s getting A’s instead of Cs. His behavior rating has gone up to ‘outstanding’ from ‘poor to average’. Teachers have also remarked and his mother has had personal phone calls from his tutor and they are now ‘delighted’ with his performance whereas before there was always calls of complaints.

Overall, the boy’s grades have gone up and he has received a lot more positive feedback from teachers, which causes him to feel confident and relaxed at school. The mother said that Cogmed training kept the boy from being kicked out of his school.

Now three months after training, the boy’s mother says that he is “like a different child” – and the improvements have remained. His room is organized – he can find his belongings and remember what he needs to do. He is more aware of time factors and he shows less symptoms of stress that his inattention caused him, such as nail biting. He is a lot calmer, a lot happier, and more relaxed overall; and so is his mother as she does not need to text him twice a day to remind him of what he needed to.

The overall effect has made a tremendous impact on both the boy and his mother. She can, as she says, “breathe a sigh of relief” now for the first time in the knowledge that he can cope well.

Key challenges:

  • Had significant attention problems
  • Lacked organizational skills
  • Had poor self-awareness – often got into trouble
  • Needed instructions repeated to him again and again
  • Could not organize what he needed at school
  • Could not think ahead– reacted to situations and behaved poorly as a result
  • Got bad grades in school – struggled to pay attention
  • Was suspended three times in one year, risked losing his placement at boarding school
  • Experienced stress as a result of his attention problems and behavioral issues

Training outcomes:

  • Became much more organized – mother said it was like a “light bulb turned on”
  • Packs his bag for school and hangs up his clothes
  • No longer needs instructions repeated multiple times
  • Began getting much better grades in school
  • Is now getting very positive behavioral reports from his teachers
  • Talks a lot less in class
  • Has been called “Mr. Organized” and a “Star Pupil” from his teachers
  • Is no longer at risk to lose his placement at boarding school
  • Has reduced anxiety – is more confident, happy, and relaxed
  • Mother says that she can breathe a “sigh of relief” for the first time knowing that he can cope well at school
*Photos above are not of the actual users whose experience we describe – we understand that poor working memory
is often a hidden weakness that impacts people in a very personal way.
Out of respect for their privacy, we have kept the identities of these people anonymous.