World's first tablet technology developed by researchers at Monash University is designed to help children with developmental disabilities such as autism and Down syndrome to stay focused.
The computer game developed in collaboration with DreamWorks has been tested in a pilot study aimed at determining whether using the games for 20 minutes five days a week over a five week period leads to improved attention and focus.
The study conducted a randomized trial of 77 children with developmental disabilities. The intervention group with the tablet technology significantly improved. The study found the children's core cognitive attention skills were maintained for up to three months after the trial and their numeracy ability improved.
Lead researcher, Professor Kim Cornish, from the Monash School of Psychological Sciences, said, "The game was the culmination of more than 20 years' work on psychology of children with developmental disabilities."
"Bizarrely one of these things with kids with intellectual disabilities is they're really attentive when playing these games. They're so focused. That's why it works so well," said Professor Cornish.
The game starts with simple tasks such as pointing at objects and increases in difficulty, requiring greater concentration.
"Attention is the gateway to learning. If that's compromised, no matter what early numbers and letters a kid has, proper learning is never going to happen, and they're going to be disruptive," said Professor Cornish.