Lumosity: Bootcamp For Your Brain

I sometimes use Lumosity. I find it helpful. But I haven’t used it enough to make a consistent difference. I find doing it on a computer tiring, after a long day in front of the PC. But some people really get into it, so give it a try. You can use it for free.

lifeafterbraininjury

lumosity

For those of your who have never heard of Lumosity, Lumosity is essentially a brain training program to help keep your brain challenged. It focuses on 5 brain areas including: speed, memory, attention, flexibility, and problem solving. I had seen commercials for Lumosity for several months (before my injury) and finally decided to try it in March 2013.

At the time (and sometimes to this day) I have extreme short-term memory loss. As said before, I had also worked with my speech therapist at Northeast Rehab (January to March 2013) on how to do simple math problems, memory games, sequencing problems, etc. So I figured why not give it a try?

training history

As you can see I wasn’t very good at Lumosity when I first started. But clearly something happened between March and May 2013.

Many people think Lumosity won’t make any difference but I can assure you it does

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Author: brokenbrilliant

I am a long-term multiple (mild) Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI or TBI) survivor who experienced assaults, falls, car accidents, sports-related injuries in the 1960s, '70s, '80s, and '90s. My last mild TBI was in 2004, but it was definitely the worst of the lot. I never received medical treatment for my injuries, some of which were sports injuries (and you have to get back in the game!), but I have been living very successfully with cognitive/behavioral (social, emotional, functional) symptoms and complications since I was a young kid. I’ve done it so well, in fact, that virtually nobody knows that I sustained those injuries… and the folks who do know, haven’t fully realized just how it’s impacted my life. It has impacted my life, however. In serious and debilitating ways. I’m coming out from behind the shields I’ve put up, in hopes of successfully addressing my own (invisible) challenges and helping others to see that sustaining a TBI is not the end of the world, and they can, in fact, live happy, fulfilled, productive lives in spite of it all.

6 thoughts on “Lumosity: Bootcamp For Your Brain”

  1. I do the free version, so I can’t compare my scores to others and I actually find that to be a good aspect because I am really only doing it for myself and not to be competitive with others. With the free version, no selection of the areas being worked for the day, and that is good for me too as I don’t have to make choices, just show up and do the exercises that were preselected. Overall, it takes about 5 minutes. And the ones I don’t like are good for me to do anyways since I would skip them if I had a choice. I don’t do these ion the computer, just a handheld device. It makes it possible to do while I am waiting. And I can do one exercise, then complete the other two later. The main point here, consistency is what makes the difference. It is kind of like exercise for my body, I know I need 30 minutes or 10,000 steps daily. I don’t always want to do it, but I show up and start. Usually, I have a complete mind shift and feel really glad I am doing the activity and I go longer. I figure it is like brushing me teeth, just got to add the new activity to part of a current routine and it just gets done. I don’t have PCS currently, but suspect I had it in 2010-11 after a car accident. Having gone though this past year with my daughter, I had so many a-ha moments along the way that made me reexamine my recovery from that time—the chronic headaches, the ensuing sleep difficulties, the dullness I felt as I lacked energy and was fatigued from routine tasks. One aspect that was incredibly difficult was trying to understand beginning piano lessons at that time. I just could not remember any sequence longer than three. And this was hard on me with my hobby of knitting because I couldn’t remember a sequence of steps to complete a pattern. How frustrating as that is a hobby I have done for decades. I should be able to interpret the instructions, whether as a chart or as a sequence of abbreviations that code the pattern in words. I know with time I have gotten better…and back to Lumosity, I think it contributed to my success in managing the patterns and remembering them better. I don’t have a good short term memory as I did five or six years ago, but I do think a consistent routine of brain exercises and keeping at my hobby, with lots if rest when needed made a difference. My daughter is not as interested in Lumosity and that may be generational, but she did do a lot of other apps that were helpful with her recovery. She needs more work with auditory processing and spatial relationships, and Lumosity doesn’t work those particular areas as well. Only limited time and energy, so the app is good for some folks and less so for others. I just don’t think the paid version is critical to it being a valued tool for some one recovering from brain injury–so those who can’t afford it can feel there is some benefit even from the free version. (Long testimonial, eh?)

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  2. That was very helpful. I also find that the unpredictability of the non-paid versions of apps is an advantage, rather than a disadvantage. And like you, I also don’t care about comparing my progress to others. If I do better than others, I wonder what is wrong with me, that I don’t feel smarter. If I do worse, then it just confirms my fears. Funny how that works…

    As for the car accident… well, it could be. A LOT of people sustain TBIs and never realize it till later. At least you didn’t go off the deep end and wind up *forced* to figure out why your life is a wreck. Or maybe you did. Anyway, thanks for your input on Lumosity.

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  3. I am 31 years post a borderline severe TBI at age 18. I have done Lumosity since 2010. I started when I was looking for answers for how to improve my performance at work and in life.

    When I started, I was between 15-40%ile on each of the areas. I have gotten up to 99th%ile on all areas. I wish I could say it made a significant improvement with respect to my work. It did not. About the only thing that I could do better was to “hold onto” a set of numbers (like a patient ID number) long enough to type it in.

    I still do Lumosity from time to time because it is a fun way to “wind down” at the end of a busy day or week, but I needed far more than Lumosity to improve my functioning in a significant way.

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  4. Thanks for sharing. This is a very important distinction. I find everyday living to be more useful in my recovery than exercises. But it is different for everyone, so…

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  5. Absolutely, paying close attention to how your brain is misfiring in real life (“brain-injured moments”), figuring out what the moment teaches you about your brain, and coming up with a plan to face a similar situation successfully in the future is a far more effective means of improving one’s real life functioning and minimizing disability.

    My neuropsychologist friend tells me that really the only thing that computer games have been shown to actually improve is ability to focus attention, BUT they do not teach you the critical moments in real life during which you must fully focus your attention in order not to mess up something.

    If you can identify what real life tasks are prone to misfiring and learn to really focus your attention before starting that particular task, your chances of completing that task successfully is dramatically improved.

    One of the major sources of disability for TBI survivors is their tendency to walk into situations mentally unprepared and unfocused. Learning to pay attention at right moments is very important, but computer games don’t teach you that.

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  6. That is what I believe, too, especially from what I learned from the Give Back materials. Those lessons saved me a world of hurt, so many times, and they continue to be useful. Keeping an eye out for “brain-injured moments” really keeps me on my toes. Thanks for writing.

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