ADHD

Updated 09 July 2014

Video games might help dyslexics with reading

A study suggests that video games might help people with dyslexia improve their ability to read.

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Video games might help people with dyslexia improve their ability to read, a new study suggests.

Dyslexia, which affects between 5%and 10% of people, is a learning disorder that causes problems with reading and writing.

Standard methods of reading instruction might be counterproductive for people with dyslexia, according to the study, which was published in the journal Current Biology.

The researchers tested people with dyslexia and discovered that they have difficulty managing competing sights and sounds.

Cross-sensory shift of attention

"Imagine you are having a conversation with someone when suddenly you hear your name uttered behind you," study author Vanessa Harrar, of the University of Oxford, in England, said in a journal news release.

"Your attention shifts from the person you are talking to – the visual – to the sound behind you," she said. "This is an example of a cross-sensory shift of attention. We found that shifting attention from visual to auditory stimuli is particularly difficult for people who have dyslexia compared to good readers."

Harrar and her colleagues said programs to help people with dyslexia might need to take these findings into account. In traditional approaches to reading, letters are first seen and then heard, they said.

"We think that people with dyslexia might learn associations between letters and their sounds faster if they first hear the sound and then see the corresponding letter or word," Harrar said.

Shifting attention quickly

The researchers also suggested that video games might prove useful in helping people with dyslexia improve their reading and writing skills.

"We propose that training people with dyslexia to shift attention quickly from visual to auditory stimuli and back – such as with a video game, where attention is constantly shifting focus – might also improve literacy," Harrar said.

"Action video games have been shown to improve multitasking skills and might also be beneficial in improving the speed with which people with dyslexia shift attention from one task, or sense, to another," she said.

Read more:

Know the signs of dyslexia

Physiological basis of dyslexia

Brain connections may explain dyslexia

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Dr. Shabeer Ahmed Jeeva is a specialist psychiatrist who has been practicing child and adult psychiatry for 30 years. He has vast experience in treating ADHD, and is also an ADHD patient himself. Dr. Jeeva trained and practiced in Canada as a child and adult psychiatrist and had lived there for 25 years. He had attended medical school at the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, Ireland (1970-1976). His professional experience and accreditation includes: Psychiatric residency at the University of Ottawa (Canada), Child Psychiatry fellowship at the University of Ottawa (Canada), Diploma in Psychiatry at the University of Ottawa (Canada), and Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in Canada. Visit his website at: www.adhdclinicjeeva.com

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