“I honestly believe that Play Attention helped change my son’s life. And to me, that is priceless.”
– Barb Katan, parent
“Once you unlock certain parts of your mind that might have been dormant or locked away, the possibilities start to awaken. Play Attention is definitely something that adults can find just as beneficial as children”
John Pitts, adult graduate of Play Attention
How Does Play Attention Work?
Play Attention utilizes EdufeedbackTM technology. Edufeedback teaches the student to control his or her attentive state in real time. The system features a special helmet with built-in sensors that measure the brain waves associated with focus and cognitive processing. The brain waves are translated by the Play Attention Interface Unit so students can control educational video exercises through attention alone.
With coaching, the student learns to maintain this focused awareness, and learns what behaviors detract from it. Gradually, students learn to transition their focused awareness to educational objectives like reading and attentive listening in class. Each level focuses on a different educational objective, so students can learn the skills they need to succeed in the classroom. Play Attention is recommended for users ages 7 to adult whose primary difficulty is paying attention. Results can be seen in as little as 15 hours, but it takes and average of 40 to 60 hours of training before results become permanent.
As recently as twenty years ago, scientists believed that the genes we were born with wholly determined the structure of our brains. However, current extensive research performed by scientists worldwide proves that how our brains develop, learn, and grow depends on the vital interaction between nature and nurture. Nature, or more accurately genetic endowment, is directly affected by the environment, care challenges and teachings received (nurture).
Learning takes place by construction of neural networks. Neural networks are the whispering of neurons to each other. Neurons are brain cells that communicate with each other via an electrochemical process that carries neurotransmitters across the division between the neurons (the synapse). Our five senses process information (external stimuli) and then select certain neural connections to become active. In the recent past, scientists believed this network building or neural activation to be deterministic of the genes you are born with would determine the networks that could develop. However, it has been proved that activation is a random selection among many possible neural connections that could occur. It is not something that happens by deterministic design. New information (sensory input) enters the brain through preexisting networs, which is why it is imperative to provide challenging stimulation in early childhood. If the input is not new, it can trigger memory. If it is new it can trigger learning. Cognitive psychology refers to this process as constructivism: the learner builds his or her own knowledge on his current knowledge base, but only in response to a challenge. Play Attention was designed to directly challenge students to build the neural networks necessary to pay attention.
Scientists apply the term neuroplasticity to the action of brain growth and adaptation in response to challenge. Provided the correct challenge and environment, children and adults frequently compensate (shift brain function from one area to another) when a certain area of the brain cannot function correctly. It is documented in many medical and neurological journals that the brain will increase activity in another region to overcome loss of another region. UCLA pediatric neurologist Dr. Donald Shields states, if there’s a way to compensate, the developing brain will find it. There is no question that the brain can compensate even if it has problems focusing attention. However, it has to be provide the correct environment prompting challenge. Play Attention is founded in educational cognitive psychology to provide the correct environment and challenge.
Furthermore, the old notion that early childhood experiences have little impact on later development has been proven false. We now know that the brain is directly and decisively affected by early experiences. This includes the architecture of the brain and the nature and extent of adult capacities; the actual capacity to form new neural networks is directly affected by early childhood experiences.
It was also thought that brain development is linear: the brain’s capacity to learn and change grows steadily as an infant matures into adulthood. It is now known that brain development is non-linear: there are optimum times for acquiring different kinds of knowledge and skills. For example, it is often easier for a very young child to learn a new language than a person past the age of 25. However, the brain can grow and continue development through death provided the right conditions are met.
Play Attention Levels
Level I: Learning to Focus & Lessen Distractibility
The different activities in Play Attention’s educational protocol teach the student to sustain attention for longer periods of time. The student starts by making a bird fly or a fish swim simply by focusing on the screen.
Level II: Visual Tracking
Students who lack visual tracking have a hard time attending to a teacher moving around the classroom. In this level, the student moves a character around the screen by focusing on it. To score well, the student must maintain attention while watching the screen character’s movements.
Level III: Time On-Task
Many individuals with attention difficulties cannot stay on-task for very long. In Level III, the student tries to increase time on-task while building a tower of blocks . By focusing on the blocks, the student carries them across the screen to build the tower. If the user falls off-task, the blocks stop or move backward. The student tries to complete the task within a given time parameter.
Level IV: Short-Term Memory Sequencing
To activate this exercise, the student must focus on the blocks that light in increasingly longer sequences . Using color and sound cues, the user must repeat each sequence by touching the corresponding arrow keys on the keyboard. The goal is to increase short-term memory.
Level V: Discriminatory Processing
This level puts the student at the controls of a cyber starship . While maintaining a high level of focus, the student must deflect only the white asteroids that fly toward the ship. The student must process information while reducing impulsive strikes.
Questions & Answers about Play Attention
How does Play Attention work?
Scientific research has demonstrated that the brain is adaptable and capable of learning throughout life. This is termed neuroplasticity. Play Attention allows the user to view the attentive state in real-time. Over time, Play Attention students can learn to increase focus and concentration. The interactive exercises challenge the student to achieve new levels of focus and cognitive processing. Gradually, the student can retain the skills necessary to be successful in the classroom, work and home.
How old do you have to be in order to use Play Attention?
Recommended ages are from age 7 to adult. It is not appropriate for children under age 7.
How often and how long do I have to use Play Attention?
It is recommended that students use Play Attention two to three times a week for 30-40 minute sessions. You should begin to see good results after about a month and a half of sessions. However, studies have shown that in order to get permanent change you have to use this technology for at least 40 hours.
What happens if I stop straining early after only 15 hours?You will experience improvement after only 15 hours. For permanent skill acquisition, a minimum of 40 hours is recommended.
Do the learned behaviors transfer back into the classroom/home?
Yes, transfer may include greater time on task, improved self-esteem, increased attention, better academic performance, improved social interactions, decreased impulsive behaviors, improved focus and concentration and higher reading comprehension. Play Attention includes a management plan to help insure transfer. It is the therapist’s assistance and parental/teacher reinforcement that insure transfer.
What types of people use Play Attention?
It is recommended that Play Attention is used with children and adults who have difficulty with focus and attention, who have an IQ above 70, and no other compounding issues such as seizures, mental retardation, fetal alcohol syndrome.
Is Play Attention biofeedback?
Play Attention is feedback technology. Feedback is a common practice of great teachers. Play Attention offers the user an opportunity to view and control the attentive state in real-time using immediate feedback. The educational protocols in Play Attention are patent pending and exclusive to Play Attention. The protocols and methodology are trademarked as Edufeedback. Similar technology is in use by NASA and the USAF to train pilots and astronauts.
Does Play Attention work off of eye movement?
No, it works off brainwaves. There are sensors within the helmet, which monitor data indicative of focus and cognitive processing. These sensors allow the user to control the movement of the screen characters by attention alone.
Can I take my child off medication after he/she has used Play Attention?
Any medical decisions should be made by you and your physician.
Is there any risk in using this product?
There is no greater risk in using this product than in using a telephone.
Are their side effects or can someone abuse or over-use Play Attention?
There are no negative side effects and it is not possible to over-use Play Attention.
“I have witnessed the use of Play Attention with depressed persons who had lost the skill and confidence of concentration and attention, essentially the skills to learn. Play Attention proved to be a positive and reinforcing experience to reclaim those skills, especially when accompanited by an academic tutorial.
Smith Goodrum, Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist
“I have seen Play Attention improve grades, home life, and change a student’s self–image from ‘victim’ to ‘responsible learner.’ Play Attention puts students in control of themselves.”
Dr. Robert McGrattanSchool Principal
“I have been in Special Education for more than 20 years. This is the best scientifically based intervention that I have seen to address attention issues.”
Dr. Sam Dempsey, Executive Director Exceptional Children’s Programs, Winston-Salem Forsyth Co. Schools
“This is the first behavior-based system that helps the child to understand and control both positive and negative habits on their own.”
Dr. Jean Guertin, Ph.D.Educational Psychologist