Monday, November 8, 2010

Next Steps on Hearing and Executive Function

Positron emission tomography image of a human ...Image via Wikipedia
I just got my copy of Posit Science's Brain Fitness, brain training software that speeds up and sharpens auditory processing and memory.  My audiologist, Maxine Young, has recommended that I do this before I come see her to work on the FastForward program to help my Central Auditory Processing Disorder.   I can't wait to get started on fixing my hearing as I feel that poor hearing has had a big impact on my social and work life.


According to the Posit Science Website, Brain Fitness Program features six exercises that target the brain’s auditory processing (listening) abilities:
  • High or Low? Encourages faster sound processing to help the brain respond to even the quickest speech.
  • Tell Us Apart Gives the brain practice distinguishing similar sounds to help it interpret speech and store clear memories of it.
  • Match It! Aims to improve the clarity of memory by sharpening the precision with which the brain processes sound.
  • Sound Replay Pushes the brain to remember information in order, which affects the ability to engage in and remember conversation.
  • Listen and Do Works out working memory, the short-term memory that is critical in almost all cognitive tasks related to thinking.
  • Story Teller Promotes stronger memory for details to strengthen communication abilities.
After I finish getting my hearing together,  I will start looking at executive function itself.  This is easier said than done.

I have been on the lookout for programs or specialists targeting executive function specifically and I am not finding anything that really is directed to my needs as an adult.    The best that I can see is that the University of Pittsburgh is doing some studies using cognitive enhancement therapy for autism.  Cognitive Enhancement Therapy, a non-drug therapy,  is being used to help schizophrenics stop losing brain cells.  Cognitive Enhancement Therapy is not the same as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy,  developed by the University of Pennsylvania, which is a psychotherapeutic approach that aims to teach the person new skills for  problems concerning dysfunctional emotions, behaviors and cognitions through a goal-oriented, systematic procedure.

Cognitive Enhancement Therapy, CET,  can protect against loss of grey matter through exercises.  CET for  scizophrenics have paired them in groups of two to do neurocognitive software based exercises and then enhanced these exercises with pseudogroup exercises and one-on-one coaching/therapy.  The software used was The Orientation Remediation Module created by Yehuda Ben-Yishay, PhD, and PSSCogReHab software developed by Odie Bracy, Phd.   CET is also being used to treat cognitive deficits in depression and traumatic brain injury as well.

I took a look at PSSCogReHab and, surprise, surprise, it looks very similar to HTS Vision software, Brain Fitness, and FastForward.  I am going to have to ask my optometrist and audiologist about this.  PSSCogRehab has a foundational, visual-spatial, auditory and memory components.  I wonder how much overlap there is between PSSCogRehab and the other software I have been using.  PssCogRehab would be done in a therapist's office so I would have to root around and find someone who is doing this near where I live.






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