Play Attention

Play Attention is a comprehensive, attention-training neurofeedback system that develops core cognitive EF skills. Students take part in computer game-like exercises by wearing an armband that tracks bioindicators of attention states and cognitive processes. To meet the challenges of each exercise and advance the game, the “player” must achieve and maintain desired brain states. Visual and auditory signals notify the user about their focus level. Play Attention calls this “Edufeedback,” as it helps shape behavior and educational focus.

Play Attention is recommended for users ages 6–adult who have focus and attention challenges and have an IQ above 65. It specifically targets those with ADHD through full-service packages that extend beyond the computer-based games to include exercise, nutrition, mindfulness, coaching, behavior shaping, and parent training. Play Attention is offered by Unique Logic & Technology, Inc., founded in 1994 by teacher Peter Freer and developed in partnership with multiple academic institutions and psychologists.

The program begins with games for working memory, spatial memory, short-term memory, planning, finishing tasks, and overall focus and attention. It then addresses basic math, social cues, motor skills, auditory processing, homework skills, and tasks specific to the individual.

Play Attention offers packages for professional or home use. According to its website, schools interested in adopting the technology are given the software, the BodyWave® armband, interface box, Bluetooth dongle, user manual, behavior shaping charts, all behavioral management materials, free and unlimited technical and educational support, a full introductory tutorial over the phone, an interactive manual with audio and video clips, and an unlimited user-license. Training is available for educators to become Play Attention coaches and takes approximately 2 hours to work through the free tutorial with a company representative.

Additional features of the Play Attention system include FOCUS Assessment and Sheer Genius™. FOCUS Assessment measures different aspects of attentional control, which can be reviewed with a Play Attention specialist to understand results and build customizable Play Attention programs for each user. Sheer Genius™ is a virtual coach that helps set developmentally appropriate performance goals, identifies problem behaviors to encourage adjustments toward accurately completing tasks, automatically calibrates challenge levels based on performance, and motivates through positive
reward systems.

Effects of Play Attention have been studied by Tufts University School of Medicine in three randomized controlled trials conducted in Boston public schools. These studies showed that students who participated in Play Attention training had greater improvements in attention, hyperactivity, and executive functioning than students participating in other kinds of brain games (Rodden, 2019).