Video games may boost reading skills in dyslexic kids: study
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Playing action video games can boost reading skills in dyslexic children, a new study has found. In fact, 12 hours of video game play did more for reading skills than is normally achieved with a year of spontaneous reading development or demanding traditional reading treatments, according to the study published in the Cell Press journal Current Biology.
The study follows from earlier work by the same team linking dyslexia to early problems with visual attention rather than language skills.
"Action video games enhance many aspects of visual attention, mainly improving the extraction of information from the environment," said Andrea Facoetti of the University of Padua and the Scientific Institute Medea of Bosisio Parini in Italy.
"Dyslexic children learnt to orient and focus their attention more efficiently to extract the relevant information of a written word more rapidly," Facoetti said. The findings come as further support for the notion that visual attention deficits are at the root of dyslexia, a condition that makes reading extremely difficult for one out of every ten children, Facoetti added.
The team tested the reading, phonological, and attentional skills of two groups of children with dyslexia before and after they played action or non-action video games for nine 80-minute sessions. The action video gamers were able to read faster without losing accuracy. They also showed gains in other tests of attention.
"These results are very important in order to understand the brain mechanisms underlying dyslexia, but they don't put us in a position to recommend playing video games without any control or supervision," Facoetti said.
"Our study paves the way for new remediation programmes, based on scientific results, that can reduce the dyslexia symptoms and even prevent dyslexia when applied to children at risk for dyslexia before they learn to read," he said.
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