Getting to talk with families and children who have trained with the Attention Arcade is one of the great joys of BrainLeap. While some of the improvements they experience are obvious, such as improving their reading capabilities, how they improve can be surprising.
Jack is a boy with a lot of aptitude, but he struggled with reading. While he could process the words and information, he struggled to stay focused. The encyclopedia was his preferred reading material because it provided dense bits of information (which Jack could easily remember in great detail) and because the short entries were all that he could readily stay focused on.
While his parents worked with him on reading skills, at eight years old, Jack struggled to read even short novels that his younger siblings could read. Jack was homeschooled because his parents, one of whom was a special ed teacher, realized that he would really struggle in a standard classroom.
After training for several weeks with the Attention Arcade, Jack’s parents saw improvements in his ability to focus. After three months, his dad described it: “as if something had been unlocked in his brain.” Now, Jack is a voracious reader. Over the summer, he was able to read all seven books in the Harry Potter series – each of them over 300 pages long.
How did the Attention Arcade help?
Based on the initial assessments, Jack had some challenges with fast and accurate gaze shifts. This would have made it a lot of effort for him to track words on the page, which is probably why he preferred to read short passages. By training his ability to make fast and accurate gaze shifts, it became less effort for him to read longer passages.
In addition, he improved his inhibitory control. This allowed him to better ignore distractions. When combined with the improved accuracy of gaze shifts, reading long passages required a lot less effort and became something he could do readily. Rather than having to expend a lot of effort on maintaining focus, he could just enjoy the words he was reading.
While each child is different, many children with attention challenges struggle with reading. It may not be because of any issues with comprehension. It could be because of an inability to focus and to keep track of the words easily. Attention training can help with both.