ADHD Treatment through Chess
Chess is an effective therapeutic and educational resource, highly recommended for people diagnosed with ADHD.
Within the context of the multimodal treatment of ADHD, the practice of chess is extremely beneficial and useful if it is introduced at the right time and with the appropriate methodology.
CHESS IN THE MULTIMODAL TREATMENT OF ADHD
Like other games and activities that require attention, concentration, and certain sustained effort, the educational benefits of chess are surprising; even if, beforehand, activities that demand continuous effort might not have been advised for ADHD diagnosed people.
ADHD treatment through chess must follow a specific methodology to be truly effective and have a positive influence on the life and development of cognitive abilities of the person diagnosed with ADHD. Of course, always taking into account the real possibilities of the person with ADHD, to which their mental effort and dedication must be adapted. For this reason, our Cognitive Training Plans are configured at different levels, so that they are accessible to everyone.
A study published in the “Psychiatry and Mental Health” magazine, authored by Dr. Hilario Blasco, an expert in the subject, demonstrates that chess could be a therapeutic alternative in mild ADHD patients, and a complement to pharmacological treatment for all other cases.
Dr. Hilario Blasco makes some important recommendations:
Chess is another complementary resource in the multimodal treatment for ADHD, which stems from the combination of three foundations: pharmacological treatment, psychotherapy, and psychoeducation, in addition to diets or exercise, depending on the patient´s needs.
Chess should not substitute medication, except perhaps in mild ADHD diagnosis. However, chess complements other treatments advised in ADHD´s multimodal treatment.
The methodology and monitor´s training are the most important factors to use chess as a complement in the treatment for ADHD.
To develop its therapeutic effect, chess based exercises must be practiced often, like any other sport. It can be compared with going to the gym. When someone lifts 10 kilograms on the first day, as time goes by, if they continue to train, they might be able to lift two times that weight.
Playing chess can give very useful information about the patient’s progress. For instance, it is possible to perceive when a move is planned, when there is impulse control, or payed enough attention, etc.
Training Plans for ADHD
We have at your disposal different chess exercises specifically designed for the complementary treatment of ADHD.
These exercises are grouped into three different Cognitive Training Plans
BENEFITS OF CHESS FOR CHILDREN WITH ADHD
Training of cognitive abilities through chess,either directly by playing chess, or by researching and studying, or indirectly by performing some chess exercises specifically designed to stimulate certain cognitive abilities, can be of great help for people diagnosed with ADHD.
The human brain has great plasticity, and as such, it behaves like other muscles; therefore, it actively responds to tasks and stimuli through training.
Ultimately, abilities such as memory, special visualization, calculation, concentration, perception, reasoning, executive functions, time management, etc. can significantly improve, as long as it is done with the appropriate methodology.
For patients diagnosed with ADHD (both in children and adults) chess becomes a practice with a very beneficial influence on their daily lives.
In particular, and as has been pointed out by Dr. Hilario Blasco in his prestigious study:
1. ADHD symptoms improvement. Progress in hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattention symptoms.
2. Generates habits and behavioral patterns. Systematic Chess practice, like other disciplines that require certain tranquility and concentration and are practiced frequently, contributes to creating a space to play Chess, both physical and conceptual, which efficiently helps to generate habits.
3. Trains reflective decision making. Chess is a tool that requires decision-making practice, with rights and wrongs, but in a reflective way. Exactly the opposite of what occurs in people with ADHD.
4. Improves cognitive and social skills. It has been proved that chess significantly improves cognitive skills, problem-solving and the capacity to adapt to reality. Furthermore, the fact that it is a two-member sport facilitates the interaction between both players and helps interpersonal difficulty disorders.
5. Improvements in self-esteem and frustration tolerance. Both when playing well or when losing, brilliant plays are performed and cardinal mistakes are committed, positive emotions are produced, and negative emotions are being controlled through mechanisms that regulate impulsivity.
6. Increased visual and working memory. This is due to the memorization of movement patterns, in addition to planning and organizing that is needed to develop a move. It also benefits spatial vision memory.
7. The use of tools. The use of tools, such as the ones offered in our training program, allow activity monitoring, real progress can be measured, and it is possible to compare them with other circumstances. In essence, it is an excellent tool for diagnose follow-up and for complementary diagnosis.
Training Plans for ADHD
|Training Plan||Recommended for…|
|“Squirrel” Plan||Recommended for students with very limited time available throughout the week. Very occasional dedication time for the realization of some exercises in a punctual way.|
|“Monkey” Plan||Recommended for those who may consider it important to generate a sustained work habit. More continuous and frequent time dedication, therefore, will allow the realization of a greater number of exercises and a greater variety.|
|“Elephant” Plan||Recommended for those who must have an even greater impact on the habit and work discipline, which will also allow them to perform, in an unlimited way, a greater number of exercises with a wider variety. It requires the highest dedication commitment.|
OTHER BENEFITS OF CHESS FOR HEALTH
We now turn our focus to the areas of Autism, Asperger Syndrome and Down Syndrome. Dr Sandra Maria Guisso reported in 2017 to the FIDE Social Projects Commission about a very successful intervention with a nine-year-old autistic child in Brazil.
An increasing amount of attention is being paid to the health benefits of chess. These are mostly quite recent discoveries and point to the great value of learning chess during childhood since it seems to confer health benefits almost from the cradle to the grave.
They can be summarized as:
Chess leads to an improvement in cognitive functioning and has been cited as a significant tool in the fight against Alzheimer’s.
Chess can help patients who have suffered from stroke to recover.
Chess assists recovery in people suffering from physical and emotional disability.
Chess helps to prevent anxiety and depression by encouraging self-improvement, improving self-esteem and self-confidence. By contrast, excessive time spent on activities that do not challenge the brain, particularly tv watching, has been linked to an increased incidence of depression.
Chess (as recreational therapy) helps prevent or reduce non-adaptive or inappropriate behaviour.
PEOPLE WITH ADHD…
People diagnosed with ADHD frequently present some of these characteristics:
Dependence on adult approval
Have difficulties waiting for their turn, usually interrupt or interfere on other people’s activities
Have a need to attract attention
Struggle at playing quiet and restful activities, and more if they demand certain concentration level
Our Training Plans based on chess are an efficient tool to improve these aspects.