Practice in focus: Dr. Aronson-Ramos – Cogmed represents a new approach to patient care

A Q&A with Dr. Judith Aronson-Ramos

Dr. Judith Aronson-Ramos is a Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrician practicing in Boca Raton, Florida. Originally a General Pediatrician, she has focused on special needs children for more than ten years, including many who struggle with the ability to focus. Dr. Aronson-Ramos joined the Cogmed network in late 2007 and has led almost 50 children and parents through the program.

How did you first hear about Cogmed?
Many of the children I treat are constrained by their ability to focus. So, their parents are yearning for interventions that go beyond the typical treatments like medication and behavioral therapy. On behalf of my patients, I was on a mission to find evidence based programs that could meet their needs. But it wasn’t easy. There are hundreds of programs available but very few have strong neuroscience behind them. Cogmed really stood out because it has excellent, well designed research to support it.

What changes have you seen in you patients who use Cogmed?
The impact of the training is quite robust. I’ve seen kids’ grades improve, especially in reading and math. Parents report improved relationships with their children because there no longer needs to be so many reminders about what they forgotten to do or didn’t bring home from school. The kids can follow conversations better and communicate with their friends. They develop a mental sharpness and seem more clued in to what is happening around them.

How would you characterize the impact of Cogmed on your ability to help kids with attention problems?
Cogmed is a huge breakthrough. We’re talking about an intervention that doesn’t just treat symptoms but actually attacks the problem and that is the whole appeal. From a professional perspective, it’s great to be able to recommend something that has been proven to work. I also think that Cogmed makes sense to parents. It’s a very positive, proactive experience and can be completed from home – in fact many of my patients’ parents do the training along with their child. In many regards, Cogmed is revolutionary.

How do you see Cogmed’s role changing or expanding in the coming years?
I think the answer to that has everything to do with working memory. Today, people are expected to utilize abundant information and technology to perform at a higher level. It’s true for kids and adults alike. But this environment is very demanding of working memory – there is a lot to keep track of. At the same time neuroscience is showing us that working memory underlies many of the brain’s core processes. Given that, it becomes clear that Cogmed is really a very comprehensive intervention. I anticipate much broader use from people who may not have a diagnosable problem but just want to “bulk up” their working memory.