Visual Neurotraining Improves Attention, Reading Fluency and Working Memory in both Dyslexic and Normal Readers
Dyslexic and normal children who play a computer game that trains them to detect subtle, moving patterns have significantly increased their reading speeds, attention and memory, according to a randomized, controlled trial.
The games, part of the PATH to Reading (PATH) program, are designed to improve visual motion processing. The improvements following PATH neurotraining were compared to a computer-based guided reading program called Raz-Kids. PATH neurotraining provided significant improvements in reading fluency, speed, comprehension, attention and working memory, the study found.
“These results show that visual temporal processing is fundamental for learning to read, paying attention, and remembering, contrary to claims that reading is only phonologically-based,” according to Dr. Teri Lawton, founder of the Perception Dynamics Institute, which developed the PATH program and a team from the University of California, San Diego.
This research was published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience in collaboration with Professor John Shelley-Tremblay “Training on Figure/Ground Discrimination Remediates Low-Level Visual Timing Deficits in the Dorsal Stream, Improving High-Level Cognitive Functions, Including Attention, Reading Fluency, and Working Memory” in May 2017.
The researchers evaluated 12-week interventions on 42 second and third grade students where the entire class participated, both dyslexic and normal readers. They divided the students into two groups, PATH or Raz-Kids for 30 minutes per day, two days per week.
All of the students did this program first thing in the school day so they had plenty of practice on reading afterwards. The students took standardized tests of reading fluency, attention and working memory and the researchers compared the differences with Analyses of Covariance (ANCOVAs).
PATH significantly improved attention, reading fluency, and working memory in both dyslexic and normal readers. Raz-Kids, on the other hand, improved some of these cognitive skills, but only improvements in attention were significant.
The researchers suspect that the PATH games target the dorsal stream area of the brain that is thought to cause dyslexics and some normal readers to struggle with reading.
The publication is available online here: http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fnhum.2017.00236/full. More information about the Path to Reading program is here: https://www.pathtoreading.com/.