Coventry University’s internationally renowned Serious Games Institute has been working with researchers in Belgium and the Netherlands on a new ‘treatment’ to help children with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and results of the research trial have shown a significant improvement in children’s behaviour.
The treatment comes in the form of an Internet based game, called ‘Plan-It Commander’ which the research showed helps players develop skills to cope with daily life challenges, in particular, time management, organisation and social skills.
Testing of the game involved 170 children, mostly boys, aged between eight and 12 years old. Parents and teachers of the children were asked to fill in questionnaires about the children’s behaviour, their capacity to concentrate on tasks, self-control and other factors, before and after 10 weeks of playing the game.
While having fun playing the game, the research showed that they were improving daily life skills known to be important at school and also in their social lives
The results showed that the children with ADHD who played Plan-It Commander for ten weeks, around three times a week, alongside their usual treatment, was found to have significantly improved behaviour in the real world as reported by parents and teachers.
Pamela Kato, Professor of Serious Games at Coventry and co-author of the study, explained: “We were happy that the game proved to be helpful to young children with ADHD in addition to their current clinical treatment. While having fun playing the game, the research showed that they were improving daily life skills known to be important at school and also in their social lives.”
Lead author of the research, Kim Bul, joined the Serious Games Institute at the start of April this year, having previously been at the Yulius Academy (scientific department of Yulius Mental Health Care) and University of Applied Sciences in Rotterdam. Results of the trial of the game were published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) in February and concluded that use of the game could “…offer easy, accessible home treatment intervention for children with ADHD.”