Video Game as ADD Cure

Or war to Adderall

Video Game ADD, Healthy Living Magazine

Video Game ADD, Healthy Living Magazine

Though Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) continues to gain public awareness, its causes are still not well understood, making treatment options limited. The majority of these treatments are restricted to psychostimulant drugs such as Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta and others.

“I was a classroom teacher for 16 years, and day after day, I saw bright students who could concentrate just fine on things they enjoyed but couldn’t focus to save their lives when confronted with more mundane tasks like homework or class work,” says Play Attention founder and CEO Peter Freer. “The current research at the time didn’t really explain this paradox, so I wondered if it wasn’t a matter of them just not knowing how. I thought if they can pay attention to some things why couldn’t they be taught to pay attention to other things?”

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And so began a lifelong and continuing journey to “teach” individuals with attention challenges how to overcome them.

Freer started with feedback technology based on the ability to read brainwave activity in real time. The linchpin was a device called an electroencephalograph (EEG), previously used by NASA to monitor a pilot’s attention while under duress or while on a long mission. Armed with a method that actually allowed one to “see” when a person was focused or daydreaming, Freer went about designing a cognitive skill-building protocol around the base technology and what eventually emerged was Play Attention.

Play Attention’s hardware uses a noninvasive sensor array to monitor brainwave activity from moment to moment while the system’s software presents a participant with skill-building video games requiring concentration to negotiate. When the participant is focusing well, the video characters on their computer screen move as they want them to, but when they’re distracted or daydreaming, the characters do not.

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Build Attention Stamina

EEG-centric neurofeedback has long been used to treat various afflictions as has cognitive skill-building. But what makes Play Attention unique is its combination of both methodologies.

Other treatments utilizing one or the other methodology exist (neurofeedback or cognitive training), but the combination of both is what facilitates its life-changing results. Independent research from various institutions confirms the same.

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In the most recent control group regulated study done at Tufts Medical School in Boston, participants undergoing Play Attention training showed higher attention performance when comparing pre- and post-training test data than those without both components (neurofeedback and cognitive training).

Skill To "See' Attention

“This is just a skill,” says Freer. “It’s no different than, say, learning karate or to play the violin. The difference is that you have to be able to ‘see’ something that’s normally invisible like attention in order to train it as a skill... You need both pieces of the puzzle; that’s exactly what Play Attention provides.”

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Control Impulse

Neurofeedback-based cognitive training is augmented by an integrated behavioral shaping protocol whereby individuals learn to control things like fidgeting, impulsivity and calling out at inappropriate times.

Connect Behavior And Focus

“Children with attention challenges don’t often understand the connection between their behavior and how well they can focus,” explains Freer. “But if they can see it... actually see it by what’s happening on the screen, they can make the connection. And over time learn to control it.”

1 HR A Week To Change Life

“Since this is indeed a skill, it takes time to learn—usually at least an hour a week for at least 40 weeks—so it doesn’t happen overnight,” says Freer. “But I like to think that it is indeed lightning in a bottle, for once you have those skills, you have them for the rest of your life because you use them every day. I can’t think of anything more empowering to a person who has struggled to focus and never before known why.”

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