Improving Attention Helps Children Achieve More
With the right intervention, a child with autism or ADHD can improve attention and reduce distractibility. BrainLeap’s attention training games, developed at UC San Diego, can help children achieve more. Better attention regulation improves focus and leads to better academic outcomes.
The Attention Training Games
The games train different principles of eye movement and attention control such as:
- fast and accurate shifts
- inhibitory control
- increasing field-of-view
- fixation control
- fast visual search
- looking ahead to improve and encourage movement planning
Attention Arcade™ Improving attention in kids with autism and ADHD doesn’t need to be boring and tedious. The Attention Arcade™ is a FUNervention that is research-based. Each of the six attention training games trains a different aspect of attention. Children play the game using an eye tracker, rather than a mouse or keyboard, which increases the intensity of the games and ensures they remained focused on the game – looking away causes a loss of points or their turn to end.
Who the Attention Arcade™ Could Help
In the pilot clinical trial, the Attention Arcade improved attention skills in children and young adults diagnosed with autism including those who also had ADHD symptoms (even though some were not formally diagnosed with ADHD).
While the games may help others with attention challenges, they do not have the data to support that yet. They are working on collecting more data because they want to help as many children with attention challenges as possible.
Target Ages: 7-12 years old
The games have shown benefits in individuals up to age 25; however, we have found in user testing that the games are most engaging for children ages 7-12.
Recommended Training Time: 20+minutes per day
Players should train for 20-30 minutes per day 5 days per week over 8-12 weeks to see maximum benefits. That is why it is important that they are engaged.
How Fast Should We See Results?
Improvements are closely tied to the amount of time played. If a child is playing daily for 20 minutes or more, you could see results in as little as 4 weeks with significant improvements possible after 8 weeks.
The Science Behind the Attention Arcade™
Their attention training games have a strong scientific base, grounded by past studies of visual attention and its behavioral correlate: saccadic eye movements. Eye movement and attention are tightly linked and share much of the same brain circuitry. Eye movements can be observed and are easy to measure. Attention, however, cannot be observed directly and we can measure attention only by observing the way it affects our information processing, learning and memory.
It is generally the case that attention and eyes move together so that gaze and attention are in the same location. There is evidence from animal research that shifts of attention precede gaze shifts and mark the location for an eye movement. It is possible, of course, to separate attention and gaze—think of a cat looking away but attending closely the entrance to a mouse hole in the wall.
Their understanding of how eye movement and attention work together allows us to use eye movement to train attention. The games they have developed gradually shape behavior using visual and auditory feedback provided in real time. They are designed to improve the speed, accuracy, and control of eye movement and in doing so they improve the speed, accuracy, and control of attention.
A major challenge in training attention and motor skills such as eye movement is the amount of time required and the necessity for frequent practice. It is difficult, if not impossible, to administer frequent and lengthy training in a laboratory or clinic where eye movements and behavior can be accurately monitored. Our games are designed for use at home or in school which makes frequent training flexible and easy.
About the Games
Dr. Mole & Mr. Hide
The game trains the ability to quickly and accurately orient gaze, to monitor a wide range of view, and improve inhibitory control.
The goal of Dr. Mole & Mr. Hide is to hit bandit moles as they pop out of the ground, while avoiding looking at the professor moles. As the game progresses, the moles appear more quickly and from more locations. Eventually they even parachute from the sky!
This game trains fast attention, gaze shifts, and eye movement control.
Players must look ahead of the ship to move it through the green gates and pick up stars for bonus points. Crashing into a red gate causes a lost ship.
This game trains gaze fixation control, sustained attention focus, and fast visual search.
The player must fix gaze on the mushroom houses to explode them. Looking away causes the house to shrink.
The game trains planning, steady fixation of attention and gaze, and the ability to ignore moving distractions.
In Kung Fall, the player trains a ninja for the Dojo’s Aerial Skills exam. Using gaze, the player guides the ninja to land and balance on a series of rock pillars while avoiding birds and ignoring falling cherry blossoms.
The game trains anticipatory focus, planning, and prioritization.
Butterfly Bob flies through a peaceful landscape, collecting jars of nectar and avoiding traps. The player uses gaze to guide Bob vertically, flying higher or lower as needed.
The game trains inhibitory control as well as executive function by engaging top down strategy planning.
In Trapped-a-Zoid, the player uses gaze to steer a spaceship to avoid colliding with neighboring ships. It trains inhibitory control of attention, requiring the player to suppress salient visual input while gazing into the empty space where the spaceship will be safe.