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Some Video Games Can Help Dyslexics Read Better

By Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on March 1, 2013

Some Video Games Can Help Dyslexics Read BetterNew research suggests action video games can help dyslexic children read better.

Researchers discovered that 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.

The findings, discussed in the journal Current Biology, stem from earlier research 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, Ph.D., of the University of Padua and the Scientific Institute Medea of Bosisio Parini in Italy.

“Dyslexic children learned to orient and focus their attention more efficiently to extract the relevant information of a written word more rapidly.”

Experts say the findings are 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 10 children.

However, as of now, no approved treatment for dyslexia includes video games, Facoetti said.

Facoetti’s 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.

Still, there is hope for early interventions that could be applied in low-resource settings.

“Our study paves the way for new remediation programs, 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,” Faocetti said.

Source: Cell Press

Excited boy playing a video game photo by shutterstock.

 

APA Reference
Nauert, R. (2013). Some Video Games Can Help Dyslexics Read Better. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 20, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/news/2013/03/01/some-video-games-can-help-dyslexics-read-better/52090.html