Kudos to John Kerney and the leadership team at Winchendon for being visionaries and undertaking such a bold project. The support and involvement of the faculty proved essential and flexibility on everyone’s part won the day. Integrating time for cognitive training into daily schedules that are often choreographed to the minute is an issue for schools. Together, we agreed on a 4 day a week program whereby the students trained for 35 – 60 minutes daily, over a 7 week period. As part of our Cogmed training model, we coached two faculty members through the program so that they could identify with and support the students as they trained.
We traveled to Winchendon weekly and met with administrators and each of the students in order to guide, encourage and support them. Currently, we are in the process of assessing pre-and- post rating scales and test results. While this will provide important data, some students had the following to say about their Cogmed benefits. One sophomore said, “I can read faster and I understand more. I don’t have to read things a second and third time.” Another claimed, “I know Cogmed worked for me. I go to horse shows and I have to remember all the jumps. I could never do that but now I can.” One of our lacrosse players told us, “Every one of my passes is perfect, and I’m now scoring left handed for the first time!” For yet another it was listening to math problems and being better able to solve them in mind with greater ease. We can’t attribute all progress to improved working memory and attention, however; the qualitative data from the students is as important as the quantitative data we are in the process of compiling.
Stay tuned for our results which we will post in next month’s newsletter, and learn which schools will be piloting Cogmed programs with us in the fall! Please visit the Cogmed section of our website, subscribe to our Newsletter and follow us on Twitter.