What if We Use Augmented Reality to Make life Easier for Children with ADHD and Improve Their Condition in the Future?
Today we continue with our “What if…” section and will discuss such an important matter as ADHD and how using Augmented Reality technology we can make a life of both children who have this disorder and their parents easier and facilitate preventing symptoms to continue into adolescence and adulthood.
ADHD is a “neurological-behavioral” developmental disorder. Symptoms are fixed in the title itself: difficulty concentrating, hyperactivity, poorly managed impulsivity, and serious problems with self-control.
ADHD always manifests itself in childhood — children with the syndrome rush around the room, switch their attention from one thing to another, cannot calm down and do their homework or reading. Then problems with peers and teachers begin, and later on — with colleagues and partners.
This pathology seriously affects the ability of children to adapt to school and interact with their peers (social maladjustment) and causes behavioral problems at home. In some cases, ADHD can be accompanied by low self-esteem and sleep disorders or childhood insomnia.
ADHD affects up to 20% of modern children and unfortunately even in the era of innovative technologies we live in now this disorder still is not being diagnosed properly in some countries — predominantly CIS, so many people keep living with this problem even not knowing about it, though it dramatically influences their lives.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently surveyed 73,000 children and found that every tenth person has ADHD. Approximately 11% of children aged 4–17 years (6.4 million) were diagnosed with ADHD as of 2011. Boys (13.2%) were more often than girls (5.6%) to have ever been diagnosed with this disorder.
The average age of the diagnosis of ADHD was 7 years old. The prevalence of the diagnosis of ADHD varied considerably from state to state: from 5.6% in Nevada to 18.7% in Kentucky. In addition, ADHD is less common in high-altitude zones, where the air contains less oxygen, and people naturally produce more dopamine. A recent study found that in the mountainous state of Utah, this syndrome is diagnosed 50% less frequently than in states at sea level.
The good news is that it was observed the brain plasticity is a key factor in the neurological development of children. Studies show that children with ADHD can reorient their brains and develop new resources and mental strategies to help them overcome the symptoms and difficulties associated with these pathologies.
Today, more and more parents want to get rid of medicines in the treatment of their children. This can be achieved with the help of augmented reality, which is already used to treat autism and depression.
An augmented reality therapy system can be an effective method to improve the attention and memory of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The world is on the threshold of the fact that games with augmented and virtual reality will be prescribed to patients instead of traditional medical treatment.
So, AR is not exceptionally about entertainment and fun but it’s a great helper for parents whose children suffer from psychological disorders and health issues. Apps will be tied to the attention of the child, whether it is selective attention or the ability to concentrate on several tasks at the same time.
The game form with use of the VR and AR technologies is more attractive and motivating to training — imagine how much easier it will be for parents to interest their children in treatment, and as a result, children will be improving their condition, while parents will spend less energy on persuading children to start with the therapy.
Therapies can be different. As first-line therapy, parents are encouraged to make a to-do list for children so that they do not forget anything. The list should contain items such as waking up, eating, doing homework, household chores, games, preparing for bed.
With interactive AR assistant presented in the form of a beloved animal or hero, for example, children will have more fun and it will be easier for them to memorize and process this information, as during the day the assistant will communicate with the child and remind about different assignments and chores.
Also, the correction program includes the predominance of positive behavior: encouragement and reward methods, parents demonstrating calm behavior, avoiding the words “no” and “not”, building relationships with the child on trust and mutual understanding. The app can help structure these requirements, award points for each completed assignment or chore and when a child gets a needed amount of points by the end of the week — he gets a reward.
Physical activity is crucial for all children, but if your child is struggling with ADHD, parents should be very careful about their diet. The AR application will make a diet for your child, select foodstuffs and vitamins, make a meal plan with its subsequent adjustment during all periods of treatment.
Music helps children who have difficulty concentrating, researchers from San Diego say, and suggest that music lessons will help treat ADHD. And combining gameplay with learning is the right way to achieve such a result using AR application that will teach a child to play the piano, for example, — a pair of virtual hands will play in front of him, and he only needs to follow them and repeat the movements. Images using augmented reality will be superimposed on real hands.
Treatment of children with ADHD must necessarily include physical rehabilitation. These are special exercises aimed at restoring behavioral reactions and developing coordinated movements.
Meditation is also recommended — it reduces the activity of the nervous system, helps to bring down anxiety and facilitates relaxation. There are many ways of meditation, different asanas and exercises and here AR comes to the rescue again — imagine that a virtual assistant will show your child how to do the exercise correctly, how to control breathing, plan exercises and meditations for each day, and you and his doctor can monitor the child’s progress any time.
So, augmented reality can be a great help for parents raising children with psychological disorders as well as for children themselves — AR-based apps will help to calm them down, facilitate their concentration abilities and relaxation. 21st century introduces so many new and more effective ways and approaches to treatment various discords that have to be implemented in the nearest future!