More than 9% of children in the U.S suffer from ADHD, a mental condition that causes hyperactivity and impulsive behavior. While video games have always been blamed for aggravating the situation, new studies show that gaming and play therapy can complement ADHD treatment to help relieve ADHD symptoms in children. With the advancement in technology coupled with the numerous benefits of gaming on children with ADHD, gaming prescriptions are being considered as viable treatment alternatives. Here are five ways in which gaming helps children with ADHD.
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5 Benefits of Gaming to Children with ADHD
1. Improves Attention and Concentration
The goal of every game is usually to earn a reward or progress to an advanced level. Gaming requires focus, which makes it an excellent tool for helping children who have ADHD lengthen their attention span. Since gaming needs a lot of attention to detail and concentration to complete tasks and overcome obstacles, kids with ADHD learn to maintain their focus on the game for the entire period that they are playing. This applies to not only video games but also physical sports like horseback riding and even golf. As children learn to concentrate on the game, they can use this skill in other areas of their lives, which helps them improve their attention span and stay focused for longer.
2. Better Time Management
Children with ADHD find it hard to manage their time as they tend to zone out and forget what they are supposed to be doing. This leads to a lack of organization, poor prioritization, and even incomplete tasks. When you introduce your child to gaming, you help them develop time management skills as most of the games have time limits that prompt players to strategize on how to finish the game before the deadline. If your child finds it hard to manage their time, such games give them a sense of urgency, which requires appropriate use of time and minimal distraction. This way, your child learns to prioritize what is important and what is not. The child can then apply this skill in other aspects of life for improved efficiency.
3. Improved Social Skills
Making friends and socializing with peers can be difficult for children with ADHD as their condition gets in the way, such as being too chatty and loud. This is usually due to insensitivity to social cues, which leads to poor social skills. Sometimes, your child may even avoid interacting with peers due to fear of rejection. With this in mind, the best way to improve social skills is through gaming, where you organize play dates with other children. By creating a safe and controlled environment for play dates and gaming, children learn to interact with others and think about the consequences of their actions. They can then transfer these skills to real-life situations when interacting with new people. What’s more, multiplayer features in most video games, kids learn to communicate and work together; therefore, fostering relationships with their playmates.
4. Enables Multitasking
Gaming engages you wholly as you need to use your brain as well as hands, eyes, and ears optimally to win. The level of observation that is vital for winning a game is high, and children with ADHD learn to effectively meet all the requirements within the given time to meet the game’s objectives. It is one of the effective strategies to treat ADHD. As such, the child learns to multitask by coordinating mental, visual, and physical activity, as well as interpreting new information that pops up during the game. While the concentration span of a child with ADHD may be limited, it also presents an opportunity to complete various tasks within a short time.
5. Better Cognitive Functioning
Gaming exercises the brain and contributes to the growth of brain matter. The repetitive nature of games reinforces skills like reasoning and decision making, as well as analysis and problem-solving. As kids play, they get to develop strategies and plans, solve problems, and challenge their own reflexes while at it. They also have to remember all the essential details, such as the rules of the game, which boosts working memory. With time, the brain develops new neural pathways to facilitate optimal functioning in enabling the most used skills in gaming. This translates to better problem solving and decision making, improved memory capacity, and better inhibitory control. There are also several natural treatments for ADHD.
When combined with other ADHD treatment options, gaming can significantly help children with ADHD perform better. However, keep in mind that too much gaming may be counterproductive.
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If your child has ADHD, you must get professional advice on the best treatment options to effectively manage the condition. At EzCare Clinic, we are passionate about improving the quality of life for children with ADHD through quality evaluation, treatment, and support. What’s more, we offer free consultations for the caregivers. Get in touch with us to book an appointment today!