The first FDA-approved video game treatment for ADHD
EndeavorRX is a surprising, FDA-approved video game that aims to be a new type of treatment to help children with ADHD relieve their symptoms.
Prescription video games may seem like a strange idea, but the United States Food and Drug Administration has approved a mobile game that could help treat ADHD in children. While some mobile games may be random, Akili Interactive EndeavorRX could be the future of ADHD treatment for children. The game itself has some interesting concepts and has undergone a ton of clinical testing before approval.
The kids game itself appears to be a fairly standard endless runner on the rails on the surface, similar to games like Subway surfers and Temple Race. Players avoid obstacles by navigating through several different worlds, although there is a bit more that plays directly into how the game helps children with ADHD. It should be noted that although the FDA allows EndeavorRX to be used as a medication for ADHD, it is not recommended as a complete replacement for a normal medication.
Akili Interactive’s website explains how their team has a background in neuroscience and game development, which gives them a solid knowledge base to create a project like EndeavorRX. Their goals with play are to challenge children’s motor skills and attention, which tend to be two areas that people with ADHD struggle with. Supporting these young skills would help tackle these problems when the brain is still developing, by doing treatments like EndeavorRX much more efficient.
When it comes to game help, the gameplay specifically challenges kids to multitask while avoiding the distractions the game throws at them. The game’s website says it’s meant to be a challenge, although the difficulty level will adjust to the player’s performance. With short play times of 25 minutes a day, five days a week, studies have shown that children with ADHD have better attention.
Players have to tap on some type of colorful target while avoiding others as they dodge obstacles. Not only does this help train the brain to jump between different goals quickly, but the fact that it adapts to the player’s performance means EndeavorRX does not overwhelm children with its difficulty early on. The developers make it clear on their website that the game is supposed to be difficult, so parents should encourage their kids to follow it if they are frustrated.
EndeavorRX is currently not accessible to the public, although there is a waiting list on the developer’s website. Depending on the success of a major launch EndeavorRX, it could mark a new way for video games to help children’s development. The FDA’s approval of the game is a good sign since it supports the studies that have been carried out. Although these studies were paid for by Akili Interactive, the FDA validates them.
Seven clinical studies in total are saved EndeavorRX as a viable treatment for ADHD, although these studies were funded by the game’s developers. The FDA still confirmed the studies and supported their conclusions. The actual figures reported by Akili Interactive are that 63% of parents reported that their children’s ADHD symptoms decreased after playing EndeavorRX for the playing time mentioned above.
Those who have tried EndeavorRX instead describe it as therapy in the form of a video game, which ends up being an incredibly engaging way of guiding children through exercises that a therapist would otherwise do. While the game is not meant to replace the drugs usually prescribed for ADHD, at least not yet, it appears to be a great tool to help deal with some of ADHD’s more limiting symptoms. This could be an amazing first step for educational video games in much more than an educational capacity.
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