Each Week OT expert, Sarit Tresser will be giving an in-depth insightful analysis into the various ways Health Games aid children with disabilities. Stay connected to receive first-hand input from a professional the field of child development
ADHD has become very common in the recent years. Studies talk about the increase in the number of children diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder); there are reports that approx. 10% of the population suffer from symptoms of this disorder.
One of the explanations for this trend relates to the phenomenon of stimuli overload that modern children are exposed to. Children spend a lot of time in front of the television and the computer, flooding the child’s sensory system with strong visual stimuli which then trains the child to expect rapid, immediate and intense stimulation. As a result, the child has difficulty sustaining attention when exposed to slow or “boring” stimuli just as lessons taught within a classroom, while reading a book, academic activities, and even when having playful activities which require moderate yet prolonged attention spans.
There is no doubt that today’s world is faster than ever before and is full of distractions. For example, in the past when we read an article in a newspaper or magazine, we read sequentially from beginning to end (at the most, we would give up in the middle); today, in the internet age, the article offers the reader links to other pages in the text, so that the reader finds him/herself reading the story in fragments while transitioning between different content. The generation of children who were born to this reality and who are constantly exposed to “screens” (computers and TVs) are at high risk of developing ADHD.
So the question is, how can computer games and virtual reality technology help these children rather than hinder them? Furthermore, how can this be done right?Alongside the problems of the “screens”, many advantages lie in the context of learning and of functional improvement. Many studies have shown that the computer increases motivation for learning and coping with difficulties and challenges. There is no doubt that the use of the computer, which significantly occupies the child’s time, increases the chance of getting cooperation from the child and it raises his/her attention and motivation towards activities.
On the other hand, we don’t want to reach a situation where the child sits in front of the computer for long periods of time, thereby losing the positive effect of learning. For this reason, the Timocco computer gaming environment is built for a certain period of time, and the recommendation is to work with the child for 15 to 20 minutes at the most for each meeting. The goal is to raise the motivation of the child, increase his/her attention, and offer him/her an activity that involves movement and also encourages active involvement, while working on the components of attention, concentration and impulsivity restraint.
In the next post I will describe in detail how it is recommended to use Timocco correctly while working with children with ADHD. We can leverage the capabilities we have achieved in computerized environments in the context of daily functioning.