Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Video game tries to re-focus brains of children with autism

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer health blog reports on an occupational therapy project at the University of Missouri that has developed a video game, which they hope will retrain the brains of children with autism.

The game, Space Race, has the children use brain waves to move rockets forward on a computer screen. The game is designed to help the children enhance their focus and concentration using neurofeedback.

"We are trying to awaken their brains. Often children with autism disconnect and we want to use neurofeedback to teach them how it feels to pay attention and be more alert. We want to teach them to regulate their own brain function," said Guy McCormack, chair of the occupational therapy and occupational science department in the MU School of Health Professions.

"The ultimate goal is to lay down new neural pathways and, hopefully, see changes in focus and attention span, social interaction, improved sleep, and appetite," he says.