Dr. Pat Quigley has practiced clinical psychology in Ahwatukee for more than 10 years, and is offering something new to the area for kids and adults with attention-deficit disorders or working memory issues.
Recently certified in Cogmed, a software program by the Pearson educational group that aims to enhance working memory performance, Quigley has seen his students’ memory and cognitive function improve by 25 percent.
“They all showed gains across the board,” said Quigley, who has worked with more than a dozen students so far in Ahwatukee. “What it really means is that working memory is sort of foundational to everything else.”
Working memory is essentially the part of short-term memory concerned with immediate processing of conceptual and lingual perceptions. Using age-appropriate games and activities that work visual and audible memory, Quigley said the program is making its way into schools.
With Ambassador Academy as the first aim, where his grandson, Nathan, attends, Quigley is working with principal and superintendent Dr. Elba Reyes on writing a grant for the program. If Cogmed is brought to the small charter school, it would be the first in the state.
“The big-time spread is going to be in schools, that’s going to be the biggest impact,” he said.
In the middle of the afternoon last week, Quigley met with Nathan, 7, at Ambassador Academy to work on the program. Nathan walked in confidently saying that Cogmed “trains your brain,” as he sat down at a computer.
What seems like animated computer games with sound effects, characters and audio encouragement is actually the program at work. Nathan would go through a set of activities that would test him on sequences of letters, lights or even the order of jumping monsters on a Ferris wheel.
Quigley said that since he started coaching Nathan, the second-grader’s working memory improved by 7 percent after just four days.
With its evidence-based support, Quigley said Cogmed stands out from other online memory and cognitive efforts because of its thorough research. To date, there are more than 50 ongoing research studies on the program and another 40 already completed since 2002.
The cost of the program coached by Quigley runs at about $900 for the five-week training that includes 25 sessions, one-on-one coaching, and a 12-month extension training.
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