What are Cognitive Skills?
Generally, cognitive skills are those mental abilities that enable us all to communicate, think, and learn. Scientists and educators can break down these large categories to numerous specific skills that include, for example: attention, concentration, short-term and long-term memory, working memory, problem solving, self-management, planning and organizational skills.
Can Cognitive Skills be Trained?
As neuroscience and cognitive sciences advance, we are learning that it is possible to train specific cognitive skills – if the exercises are properly structured and methodical.
Think of learning to play an instrument, such as the guitar. Obviously, if we listen to lectures and theories about how to play a guitar, we’ll still be no closer to actually knowing how to play. In order to gain in skill on the guitar, we need to start using the very skills we seek to develop.
The same principle applies to cognitive skills training for children – if we want to help our kids strengthen their working memory, or attention, or auditory processing for example – we need to give them exercises that require them to use these very skils in a focused and structured format.
Why is Cognitive Skills Training for Children Important?
Many children suffer from a variety of cognitive problems. Parents and educators need to be informed in order to know how to identify the relevant problems and what treatment approach would be appropriate.
Cognitive difficulties include learning disabilities and brain injuries – but can also refer to less identifiable disorders, patterns or difficulties, such as ADHD, learning disabilities, executive function disorders and more.
Let’s take ADHD for instance – once properly diagnosed, parents then need to consider what kind of treatment would be best for their child. The most extensively researched and best-known treatment is medication – such as Ritalin, Concerta or Aderall. Medication is sometimes necessary to help children be able to keep up with their peers at school and in social situations – or even to ensure their safety in instances of extreme impulsivity.
Even when medication is well-advised, cognitive skills training for children is far more important than most parents, educators and even therapists realize!
While medication helps children focus in the short-run, if untrained, their cognitive difficulties with attention, working memory, impulsivity and more will only become worse. That’s why world-leading experts recommend combining professional and structured cognitive training, such as the brain fitness software by AttenGo, as part of any treatment regime.