Several times a week before dinner, Janet and Jim Herlihey of West Chester, remind their sons Michael, 12, and Paul, 10, to get in a good half-hour of video game time before eating. Parents telling their kids to play video games? That's right. The boys are among the estimated 5% to 7% of children who have attention deficit disorder, and video games, as prescribed by their psychologist, have helped them learn to focus, their mother says.
In addition to a Sony PlayStation
2, the family has some special equipment: a S.M.A.R.T. BrainGames system that
consists of a special controller, a helmet with built-in sensors for monitoring
brain activity and a Smartbox that receives the brain signals.
As long as the boys remain calmly focused on the game, it plays normally, says their Philadelphia psychologist Domenic Greco.
But if a player's mind wanders, the Smartbox sends a signal to the controller hindering acceleration or character movement in the game.The Herliheys connected online with Greco, who designed the system by adapting a similar one that NASA used for pilot training. After treating the boys last year at his office in Philadelphia, he recommended the at-home video game therapy.
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