I could get behind therapy like this

From my RSS feed folder titled “Self-Serving News Items”, Casual Gaming.biz has an article claiming that casual games can help people with ADHD.

It seems that children with AD/HD often lack that sense of control that comes much more easily to their non-AD/HD peers. Playing casual games such as Peggle and Bejeweled, among others, is one area in their lives in which these children can experience some sense of control with the added benefit of achieving success in something. Both of these aspects, taken together, can serve to enhance the child’s self-concept and self-esteem.

I’ve been diagnosed with adult ADHD, so I also had it as a kid growing up in the 70’s and 80’s (Yeah, you kids who want to comment how you weren’t even born yet can go jump in the lake πŸ™‚ ). I definitely gravitated toward games and gaming, and I’d agree that it was a place where a kid with ADD could shine. The hyperfocus on memorizing levels or concentrating for long stretches on things that a “normal” person couldn’t focus on was definitely a part of my enjoyment. I definitely also felt in control of something, when my life outside gaming was much more difficult to control. I wasn’t a hyperactive kid, just distracted on an epic level.

Clearly, you can’t just play Bejeweled and be “cured” of ADHD. There’s got to be a plan and interaction with a trained therapist to get any sort of benefit as a therapy, but I think the idea holds some merit. If I could have taken my successes playing games and translated that into how I approached my non-gaming life, I think I would have had more successes at an earlier age. It definitely would have helped my understand how my brain works, and helped identify ways of working that would allow me to find success.

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2 Responses

  1. Actually, most of the research I’ve read about regarding video games and ADD/ADHD suggests that video games are highly addictive to people with these symptoms as it gives them something to focus on. Lots of stuff happens in video games, triggers lots of brain activity.

    I’ve also seen research suggesting that video games and younger chilidren’s television shows breed ADD into our kids. @_@

    Take it with a grain of salt πŸ˜‰ but honestly, I like the research you found better too.

  2. I definitely think a site called Casual Gaming has their own reasons to report about possible benefits of casual gaming πŸ™‚

    I can’t imagine how just playing games is going to make much of a difference in real life for someone with ADHD, unless you’re working with a therapist and somehow including games in the program.

    From a personal perspective, I think your first paragraph is right on. If someone on Wall Street could figure out how to make the stock market into a video game, I’d be the best damn trader they’ve ever seen.

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