Paradoxically, while many parents complain that their kids spend too much time on screens, doctors are now prescribing EndeavorX, a new video game, as a treatment for children suffering from the so-called "attention deficit hyperactivity disorder" (ADHD). In 2020, it was even the first game of its kind to be approved by the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) for the treatment of ADHD in kids.
At first view, EndeavorX looks very similar to many other games: The player controls a little alien racing on a spaceship across different worlds with the mission to collect items. In this case, however, the app-based game was engineered with neuroscientists in order to stimulate and develop areas of the brain linked to attention. The principle is to train kids with ADHD to concentrate, ignore distractions, and multitask better, all of which are driven by a computer algorithm measuring their performance in a customized way and in real-time.
13-year-old Owain Sihanourath, whose family lives in the US city of Savannah, Georgia, was diagnosed with ADHD as early as preschool. Since then, his parents have taken him to see occupational therapists to help him better cope with everyday life activities. They also tried to use medication but decided to stop because the drugs increased their son's regular migraines.
However, at the end of 2020, Owain started a three-month program, playing EndeavorX for 25 minutes a day, and did another round in 2021. The great news is that, after failing fifth grade, Owain finally started to get As and Bs at school. "It has been amazing to see my son so successful, but more so, seeing him have confidence in himself," says Kelcey, Owain's mom. Also adding, "He is no longer upset and confused about why he just does not get it."
It seems that some video games can have positive effects for some kids, after all!
Picture: EndeavorRx Game