Digital Intervention Software: “Brain Training” for ADHD

Digital Intervention Software: “Brain Training” for ADHD

Evidence-based research confirms two kinds of treatments for ADHD: medication and behavioral therapies (such as methods for managing behavior and parent training in managing behavior). Although these therapies can help many children with ADHD, they’re not the best. Parents, practitioners and patients search for alternatives to integrate within their ADHD treatment strategy.

Another alternative that has sparked attention is using digital tools similar to computer games to help improve symptoms. These are often called “brain training.” Some digital products have been recognized through the FDA. FDA. These treatments typically utilize a game-like style and design but are not the exact games used for entertainment.

If you’re considering a computer program as a part of the treatment for your child, here are some questions to ask your healthcare professional.

  • What is the current knowledge about the program’s efficiency? What are the chances that it will benefit my child in the real world? Consider:
    • To be considered solid evidence, a method must have been tested by various researchers in different environments with many kids and the appropriate group of comparisons, as well as focusing on the long-term effects of treatment for real-world behavior.
    • FDA authorization for this type of treatment is not based on solid evidence due to the slight chance of harm directly.
  • What are the potential risks and the costs? Consider:
    • Price is a factor regardless of whether the item is insured in the case of co-pays, deductibles and limitations.
    • Time and effort cost money, especially if the item is challenging to use or when a child isn’t having fun with it.
    • The other aspect of cost is to consider what the child could be doing instead, such as whether the child is playing another game for entertainment or requires time that could be used for sleep, imaginative playing, time with family or friends, or even engaging in physical activity.

What do we know about computer-based cognition training programmed?

Digital products are computer-based training programs designed to address the deficiencies in cognitive skills found in ADHD. These programs can be used on tablets, computers or mobile phones and require children to work on their cognitive skills for approximately 30 minutes daily for a few weeks. A lot of digital devices present games-like situations to encourage motivation and involvement. Most of them allow players to practice at home according to their timetable.

The ADHD computer programs aim to enhance a person’s mental capabilities. Available products target different skills:

  • Attention is the ability to keep your attention and focus on the essential aspects of a situation or task. Imagine controlling your brain’s focus when it goes through a zoom-in, zoom-out or shifts between two things without losing focus or wandering off.
  • Speed of processing: how long is needed to analyze an issue. Imagine using your brain to quickly calculate and find an answer or pressing an icon as soon as the signal appears.
  • Memory that works: A person’s ability to store and utilize information stored in short-term memory. Imagine reversing the sequence of numbers in your mind.
  • Control of inhibition: The ability to stop doing something or to prevent from doing something not appropriate due to changes in circumstances or intentions. Consider slamming on the brakes as the ball is bouncing over your bike.
  • Flexible thinking: The ability to change between different problem-solving strategies or methods of thinking about a particular situation. Consider how to transform the outside event into an inside one when it rains.
  • Visuospatial abilities: Seeing things in your mind’s eye from various viewpoints. Imagine trying for a solution where you can manage a large amount of luggage to fit into the trunk.

Most digital games attempt to improve the skills of children through games (serious games) that offer different mental challenges that are customized to the individual. If a child plays the game, it adapts to their abilities like most video or computer games. Like all games, these are created to keep children interested by rewarding them for their efforts.

What makes digital interventions attractive?

These games are attractive for various reasons as an alternative method of treating ADHD. Working memory, inhibition controls, mental flexibility, visuospatial capabilities, and other executive tasks are essential for everyday living. It has been proven through decades of study that people with ADHD have issues with these areas. The cognitive abilities involved are the prefrontal cortex in the brain (the front portion of our brain), which is the last part of the brain to develop and has the most potential for change. Children are fascinated by technology and may enjoy playing games. They may be simpler to access for certain families than other treatment options and might not come with adverse effects like ADHD medications can cause or create the stigma that therapy could have for some families.

Facts to know regarding ADHD Digital intervention programs

  • There’s a lot to discover about what ADHD computer games function. It is a thriving research area, and we anticipate finding out more shortly.
  • It’s hard to determine if ADHD computer games are helpful due to the lack of evidence and the varying in the manner that research has been conducted:
    • The majority of ADHD computer games only prove that they increase the child’s capacity to perform excellently on tests in the lab in the areas in which they were taught. There is little evidence that these skills can be applied in actual life, whether in the classroom or at home.
    • There isn’t any evidence to support the long-term benefits of ADHD computer games because the studies didn’t examine the long-term effects of these games.
    • A lot of studies had very few participants and didn’t use various groups of participants to ensure the games were suitable for all children.
    • Certain studies did not include a control group to compare with those participating in the game. The controls didn’t play the same game as the control group to determine if this was the sport that created the difference and not other elements like the level of attention given to the child or the time they spent in the research.
    • If a research study employed an uncontrolled group, the parent of the participant and researcher were usually aware of the treatment provided. The expectation that something positive happens can have an impact on the results. “Blinding,” which means that families, participants and even researchers are not aware of who is part of the control or treatment group, is an effective method of avoiding bias in the research results.
    • The majority of ADHD computer games are focused on a small range of mental abilities. Most of them focus on working memory, even though it is not the only aspect of the problems associated with ADHD.
    • Most children with ADHD are afflicted with every mental skill the ADHD games aim to enhance. We don’t know whether a person has an apparent deficit in these abilities to gain from this type of instruction, which means that even if the games prove efficient, we don’t know for whom they’re successful.
  • Based on what we’ve learned so far, we could draw some preliminary conclusions:
    • Certain ADHD computer games appear to increase specific cognitive and attention skills. Still, the results are not significant, and the skills that are boosted are usually laboratory-based skills that the children are trained, not real-world skills.
    • Little information about how they function when combined with other proven and effective treatments, such as medications and behavioral therapy.
    • ADHD Computer games are typically safe and are free of adverse side consequences (some children are anxious or have headaches); however, we don’t know much about the cost-benefit ratio of these games, privacy and security, as well as the reasons people opt to ADHD gaming on computers over different types of therapy.
    • The majority of ADHD gaming on computers is considered to be experimental. However, some of the products are available on the market. Be aware that FDA clearance doesn’t suggest the FDA has endorsed the device’s effectiveness. It also does not mean that FDA approval for these devices does not meet the same quality standards as medications.

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