A group of researchers at the Wingate Institute, Israel, found a 24% improvement in a child’s performance when they participated in a gym-class intervention.
Dr. Isaiah Hotzler, who led the study, used Timocco’s “Aliens in Space” game to capture and measure changes in attention among 22 third-graders diagnosed with ADHD before and after the intervention being studied.
The “Aliens in Space” game is intended for kids aged 6-14 with ADHD (primary or secondary) or executive functioning difficulties (e.g inhibition, planning and control). In the game the children need to defend their spaceship from invaders by hitting them with their laser beam. The game can be used to improve attention skills over time, or to measure changes in a child’s attention based on how they perform from one game to the next.
The 22 third-graders who participated in the Wingate study were divided into two groups of 11 kids each. The first group (or test group) which received the intervention, are also part of a special education program for kids who are severely affected by their ADHD. The second group of kids are less affected by their ADHD and are part of a regular/standard education stream day-to-day.
The intervention was part of a gym class and each child was tested alone by the gym teacher before and after class. The test took approximately 15 minutes and the child’s score was logged.
The results of the research showed a significant difference between the results of the two groups in “Alien in Space” before the intervention (387.3 points, or 31%) a margin that decreased substantially after the interventions (96.2 points, or 7%).
The narrowing gap between the two groups shows a major improvement by the group that underwent the intervention. This gap can reflect an improvement in concentration, focus, curbing impulsivity, filtering out distractions, persistency and self-regulation. Teachers of the children who took part in the intervention reported that test participants were calmer and more focused in the lessons that followed the intervention.