Professor Kim Cornish and Dr Hannah Kirk from the Monash Institute of Cognitive and Clinical Neurosciences at Monash University have developed the world’s first clinically-validated tablet training program that builds attention skills in children with developmental disabilities.

For children with developmental disabilities, improving poor attention skills is essential because attention is the absolute fundamental building block for learning. If attention is impaired, other building blocks, such as working memory, numeracy and literacy, are unable to develop optimally, resulting in poor academic outcomes and reduced social inclusion.

Supported through ARC Linkage Projects scheme funding, the team, which includes game developers, Torus Games, and software engineers, Grey Innovation, has designed TALI Train, a ground-breaking game-based intervention program that provides engaging and intensive training to assist children in reaching their full potential.

The game has been commercialised by Novita Healthcare, a publicly-listed medical technology company. The program is currently available at over 15 clinics across Australia. The portable tablet platform enables access to children in both rural and urban communities, ensuring that all children in need of vital early intervention are given the opportunity to use the program.

Professor Cornish and Dr Kirk continue to work with Novita Healthcare to develop additional tools and programs to better assess and treat the core cognitive, behavioural and academic difficulties experienced by children with developmental disabilities.

This applied research, addressing childhood inattention, will have long-term implications for the economy and community well-being.

Stock image—Sad boy with worried stressed face expression looking down. 
Image courtesy: ©iStockphoto.com/SIphotography.