Remember the Emotiv Systems Brain Controller headset I posted about the other day? Well here is a video of a prototype in action. Its nothing amazing until about the 2 minute mark when they demonstrate how it can read emotions and replicate those emotions in simple animated face.
A major symptom of autism is the inability to read facial expressions and other people’s emotions. Teaching this and other social skills can be very time consuming, requiring intensive one-on-one training. There are books that aim to help but emotions are dynamic so any book based training system is problematic. With the Emotiv Systems headset, the possibility of an effective, responsive training system come ever closer. Combine the brain sensing headset with the work of Paul Ekman and there is the potential for a ground-breaking, world changing product.
I’m pleased to announce an expansion of Myomancy’s distinctive brand of independent news and reviews. From today we will be covering digital fitness products including Wii Fit, the soon to be released exercise system for the Nintendo Wii, Brain Training products on the Nintendo DS and elsewhere, rhythm bases games like Guitar Hero and lots more. In short if it involves electronics and has the potential to improve the brain or the body, then we will be reporting on it.
This is a natural extension of what Myomancy has been covering. Back in May 2004 we reported on Video Games Are Good For You (If They Involve Movement). In October 2005 we looked at the study by Professor Posner in Can Computer Games Help ADHD? and how games like Dance Dance Revolution have been shown to improve reading .
The science of how Wii Fit and dance games can improve coordination and rhythm and why this can help in education has been extensively covered. Currently specialised products such as Interactive Metronome have led the way but there is more and more evidence of how balance, coordination and rhythm training can help children and adults.
West Virginia is putting the computer game Dance Dance Revolution into every one of its public schools. Whilst West Virginia’s aim is to tackle obesity it also has a potential to improve pupils’ coordination and rhythm skills. This could have a significant impact on their academic achievement.
This initiative by West Virginia also signifies a major shift in educational thinking about computer games. Previously the negative effects of video games, lack of physical activity and the possible links to violence, have been the focus of the education establishments. By putting Dance Dance Revolution into schools they are accepting that video games can have a positive effect. It simply depends on the game and the context it which it is played.
There are various games we have featured on Myomancy that can be positive. Ranging from the low-tech Cornhole throwing game, the hand-held electronic game Bop-It, games that measure physiological responds where you have to relax to win and games to help with ADHD. The data on how effective the games are is thin and a great deal more research is need. However there is a great deal of circumstantial evidence such as how surgeons who played more computer games perform better. The skills these games teach include spatial awareness, attention control, problem solving, physical coordination and memory. Many of the skills children with dyslexia and ADHD lack.
Source: Dancing video game helps kids avoid weight gain
See also: Switch on the TV and Dance
Over the last few weeks this website has been attracting comments from various members and ex-members of staff of the Dore Achievement Centres. This has come to the attention of the CEO of UK branch, Bob Clarke, who has posted comments on Myomancy and also to Wynford Dore himself who has phoned me. Conversations with Wynford are always enjoyable but challenging because Wynford believes so passionately about what he does. So when Myomancy runs a negative story about the Dore Program he tends to forget all the places on Myomancy where I’ve said the Dore Program works and that it changes lives.
In light of all this I thought it wise to make a clear statement to all my readers about why I devote a considerable amount of time and money to running Myomancy.
- The goal of Myomancy is to provide independent information on treatments for dyslexia, ADHD and autism so that parents and sufferers can make an informed choice about what is the best approach for them.
- Myomancy is a blog, a personal web site. It represents my views and my views alone on all things connected with ADHD, dyslexia and Autism.
- These views are researched and expressed on Myomancy to the best of my abilities but I am not a scientist, teacher or a professional writer. I am just someone who’s life was changed by the Dore Program and felt a need to express myself.
- I believe in free speech which is why I allow anyone to post comments on the articles regardless of whether they are for or against my views. Only post that are illegal or purely offensive are removed.
- Myomancy generates a small amount of income for advertising. I would like it to be more so that I can afford to spend more time on Myomancy. It is up to the reader to decide what, if any, impact that has on the independence of Myomancy.
With reference to the above I have removed one comment from the website that is highly critical of the Dore Program and, based on additional evidence I have at my disposal, is completely false.
I’m please to announce a major expansion of Myomancy.
On the Myomancy Treatment Database you will find a list of ninety different treatments available for ADHD, dyslexia and autism. These range from mainstream reading programs to fringe treatments such as NeuroCranial Restructuring. Visitors to the Treatment Database can comment on treatments they have tried so that other parents can find the right treatment for their child.
Everything is brand new so if you find anything that doesn’t work or any typos then please let me know by commenting here or emailing me.
And please tell your friends about it. If you have your own blog or are on any email lists or forums, please mention the treatment database. It can only help dyslexics and sufferers of ADHD if people know about it.
In a paper presented to DIGRA 2005, a conferance for academics and professionals who research computer games, research found that play Disney Dance Dance Revolution improved reading skills.
It was tested on 74 sixth grade students all of whom had been diagnosed with ADHD. They were all given Process Assessment of the Learner: Test Battery for Reading and Writing (PAL-RW) tests to establish a baseline of ability. Some children were assigned to a control group who received normal classes whilst the others had two 25-minute sessions each week for either 4 weeks, 8 weeks or 12 weeks.
The result were small but noteworthy.
“…a positive relationship between the number of treatment sessions completed and the gains made on Receptive Coding and Finger Sense Recognition subtests. This supports the need for further research and provides guidance for it (e.g., longer intervention periods, increased treatments during the intervention period, and targeted PAL-RW testing versus full administration).“
Here on Myomancy I’ve been writing for two years about how video games are good for you (If they involve movement) so I’m not surprised about the results. The benefit of dance games is also supported by work on Interactive Metronome that showed significant improvements when children learn rhythmic skills.
I’m sure the improvements in the study would of been larger if the training session had been everyday. From my own playing of both Eye-Toy Groove and dance games I’ve found that with twenty minutes a day you can see noticeable improvements in ability. The only downside of the commercial games is that they are hard, even on the easy setting though there are kid’s versions available like Eye-Toy Disney Move that are easier.
Though the results of this study are small and there are some limitations in how the study was conducted, it still demonstrates that movement, rhythm and reading problems are connected.
Study: The Effects of a Consumer-Oriented Multimedia Game on the Reading Disorders of Children with ADHD. Abstract, Full Paper [Word document]
MouseTrail is a fun, simple computer game for autistic children to help build their vocabulary. It uses a multi-sensory approach with sound and bright colorful animation. Try it online for free.
On Ababasoft they host a selection of music and rhythm games. Music and rhythm have an important role to play in the brain and in the treatment of learning difficulties. Games like these may be a good way of getting you child into music.
There is an interesting piece on Eide Neurolearning about how the more video games a surgeon played the better they were at a standardised surgical training task.
Video Gamers & Visual Spatial Expertise – Hands of a Surgeon?
A couple of games to help dyslexia that got mentioned on the Being Dyslexic forum. Mind Games provide packs of games and activities for either home or school user.
PHONOMENA by Mind weavers is a computer game to teach young children the basic sounds that make up spoken english. The claim "language skills improvement of 2.4 years age-equivalent after just 6 hours training" and also suggests its as an aid for teaching english as a foreign language.